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.