Monday, November 5, 2018

My Cracked Tooth

Oral Health

Since the beginning of the summer, I have had tooth pain in one of my upper molars, a second molar to be precise. My hope and my intent was to save the tooth. Yet, one dentist, then another, pointed out that I had a cracked tooth and it could not by any known means be repaired. The same conclusion from an endodontist, who had done a root canal on an adjacent tooth. (Yes, it has been a summer of multiple visits to dentist offices.)

The only option, the only recourse, all three dentists had said, was one--extraction. So dutifully, I had an appointment scheduled for early August, but cancelled it when I thought that my pain had diminished. I was wrong; I was mistaken; I had hope for a different outcome. In reality, I had just become inured to it: pain Moreover, by doing so, I was only delaying the inevitable.

So, last Wednesday, after prodding by my wife and a consult with an oral surgeon, I was left with no choice but one: he confirmed what all three other dental professionals had said. There was no possibility of saving the tooth; it had to come out, and better sooner than later. There was no escape; so, on Friday afternoon, with the analgesic aide of nitrous oxide (i.e., “laughing gas”) and a local anesthetic he pulled out my damaged tooth; it seemed like the whole procedure took only a few minutes.

The tooth had multiple fractures, the good doctor said, adding that “it was a bad tooth.” I was holding on to a bad tooth. As reluctant as I was to take the tooth out beforehand, I am quite happy now, a few days after the procedure that I did. My sinuses are starting to feel better, as is my overall health and outlook. Pain, even if it minimal and manageable with Tylenol or Motrin or Advil, is not something I ought to endure.

My only question, four months after indeed enduring such unnecessary pain is, What took me so long to act? In my case, I think it was a combination of three human factors: denial that my tooth could not be saved, fear of post-surgical complications, and holding unrealistic and unfounded expectation that the status quo was acceptable, that somehow the issue of a cracked tooth would resolve itself.  Thank goodness for modern dentistry. A lesson well learned, even at my age.


  1. Lovely insights and truly both humbling and reminiscent of a similar, fearful and painful challenge I had experienced in Montreal, refused to address and, was inevitably, forced to handle with an operation, during my vacation in Cairo. (Today is the follow-up on my three hours surgery). I passed by all three phases of thought, you mentioned above, Perry. In addition, given my advanced age, I was afraid to remove my tooth because it reminded me of, well, "mortality". I ended up removing two teeth. Ha ha... Thank you Perry


Comment Policy:

All comments will be moderated; and bear in mind that anonymous, hostile, vulgar and off-topic comments will not be published. Thoughtful, reasonable and clear comments, bearing your real name, will be. All comments must be in English.