Monday, July 27, 2009

Paddling Down the Old Root Canal


Today I will lay in a dentist chair and envision the canals of Venice. It’ll take plenty of imagination. Maybe I’ll pretend I’m on a cruise and fording the Panama Canal level-by-level. That would definitely be cheaper than the canal I’ll be exploring.

The ear ache, jaw ache, and infection have all added up to this vacation buster. They THINK (operative word here) that I may have an infection under an old root canal due to a crack in a root. This is when you curse your British roots – literally. We just don’t have the best teeth. Every time the family is watching a program and someone appears with crooked, widely spaced, or browning teeth, Grizzly looks at me, laughs, and says, “Must be British!” Mind you, he isn’t exactly a perfect-toothed Osmond brother himself. I could throw a rock at Ireland from my British shore and hit him squarely between the eyes. I’m quite sure the DNA tests would show that we’re actually related. Too many similarities.

By God’s good grace our children will not have to bear the brunt of our inbreeding. Thousands of dollars and a miracle working orthodontist have spared Bo from bearing the family crest. The Wild Man is fast on her heels. Fortunately, his adult teeth were on a world tour and have shown up VERY late to the party. This has allowed us a small respite between orthodontia mortgages.

But Grizzly and I were born in the era of braces being only for the rich and privileged. In fact, only a few of my friends sport those expensive pearly whites that are as straight and even as piano keys. It just wasn’t done. Unless you could look down your nose and see your two front teeth sticking straight out, you were required to get over yourself and move on. I never went to the dentist until I was 13 and my mother got dental insurance through her job. By then I had eight cavities, not counting the vast one between my ears. I took the bus downtown to the dentist by myself. My mother was working. Eight shots and eight fillings later, I rode the bus home and decided this was one luxury I wanted to live without. Had I known to brush my teeth more than once a week I might have avoided the whole affair. Nutrition could have helped, too, but nutrition was expensive and would have required food knowledge. We lived on canned vegetables, Green Goddess and Thousand Island dressing, iceberg lettuce, Wonder Bread, and Velveeta. Honest-to-goodness I never knew there was any other kind of veggies or cheese until I left home.

I decided to do things differently with my kids. Don’t most new mothers? I nursed them endlessly and started brushing their teeth before they HAD teeth. I was determined to overcome nature with nurture. It has been largely effective as they’ve only had one tiny cavity between them in 18 years. But I was unable to influence tooth placement and jaw structure. Fortunately, our orthodontist is not so constrained. Unfortunately, our budget is horribly constrained. Parents get in line behind children and a root canal for the mother does not factor in. My endodontist says if the root is too badly cracked he will not redo it but will pull it instead at a greatly reduced cost.

Come on British roots, don’t fail me now. Crack wide open and make your cheap escape!

Copyright 2009


  1. Pull it and be damned with it! I too suffer from awful British teeth... kids over there still do not brush teeth properly and they eat all sorts of junk. My sister's kid is 11 and has already had 3 or 4 fillings!

    Dental hygiene and oral care is very good here in Sweden and many people in their twenties have never had fillings!

    That's amazing to me as I suffered like you did... especially at the hands of the mad butcher of Argentina!

  2. I don't know whether to gasp in horror at your plight or from how much similarity there is to my own upbringing!

    My first and only dental trip I was 10 and had 5 teeth pulled without being told it was going to happen :) I didn't go again until I was 17 and had my own job to pay for it, but only had 1 filling! Amen to the iceberg lettuce and Green Goddess dressing and no dentist growing up and no orthodontia... I had no idea I was British too!

    Will say a prayer for you for tomorrow and will also cast a vote for extraction versus canal!

  3. Aw, hope it goes well! You poor thing!

  4. !! Loved the description of looking down your nose, and only if you see your teeth do you get any treatment!! Agree with every word, unfortunately. Having said that, my kids have had one cavity between them too... middle son was horrified, as it was his tooth. He now brushes madly for two minutes each time AND likes to use mouthwash. Should have been an orthodontist. Dammit. Would be rich by now. XX

  5. Sorry you have to go through this. Think of the shake you get to drink at the end and the pain killers!

  6. Hopefully, the tooth will set you free. (that was probably more painful than the infection)

  7. Nothing like dental work to ruin your day! This was too funny!

  8. My heart goes out to you plus loads of sympathies... from the biggest coward in the world. Yeah, I had British teeth... note the word HAD. I'm permanently at peace now. Good luck.

  9. Robynn, you will be in my thoughts and prayers. I didn't want to 'discourage' you with my own tale of woe concerning teeth. Suffice to say ... I've had dentures since I was 18 years old, got them one month after getting married. The Donald always said when buying a horse, you look at their feet and teeth ... didn't think he had to do it with a wife!! (I've had multiple foot surgeries as well!)

    I had bone grafts taken from my skull and placed in my gums with posts for future implants. That was 13 years ago and the start of my auto-immune issues.

    I now have two posts in the upper gums which 'snap' the upper denture into place. I LOVE my implants/denture for the first time in my life. I saw a Prosthodontist ... all work done in the office. The surgery 13 years ago cost $10,000 - 5 posts, no implants, all 5 failed.

    OMGosh - my word verification is 'dented' Read my mauve morning lips (1)"TAKE THE DRUGS" (2) consume ice cream smoothies for several days (3) sleep and (4) watch old movies if you want. (5) tell the family to fend for themselves and keep the ice compresses
    coming. Hope all the problems are only a memory soon.

  10. I musta had British roots then and just didn't know it...
    Mama lost all her teeth after 3 pregnancies, so she vowed and declared we would do better than she did.
    We started in at the dentist as soon as we had teeth, brushed morning noon and night ( I was probably the only kid who took a toothbrush to school) and the damned pearly whites have failed me anyhow.

    Teeth suck. Want implants.
    Upper and lower... and lower yet.
    Teeth and tits... I would be a happy woman.

    word veri: faverat

    Dentists are not my faverat people.

  11. You are so funny! I will be praying that all goes well my friend!

    Love and Prayers,


  12. I was told the same thing they will go in see if there is a slim chance to do another root canal curvy roots being a problem and I was told most likely the mollar will be pulled which is bad as I only have 2 on the bottom on each side born with to empty spots.(((Hugging You))))Darcy

  13. Ohh, I hate Dentists. Luckily my heritage blessed me with great teeth and I never had a cavity until I was 34 years old. And I prayed over both my pregnancies that both my kids would be blessed with great teeth. And they were. Neither has ever had a cavity and both have straight, pretty teeth. God is so good. Cause I think that not only were dentists put here as torture devices, they are also bank robbers! To the devil with em!

  14. Oh sweetie. I hate root canals and I don't think it's really so much the pain because after having going through out my life, I think for me it's just the inconvenience and just the whole affair of it that gets me stressed out.
    My motto from now on is pull it out... I just don't care.
    Right now I have one tooth that is split down and broken from a seizure where I obviously had clamped down too hard and I have that for the last 3 months. It would hurt the normal person because it's broken down to the gum but because of root canals, I don't feel it but I know it needs to be fixed but I want it pulled. I figure by 60 years old, I'll be gumming my food.

    Be strong!

  15. My oldest had three sets of braces, starting when she was 8 and ending when she was 17. She also had to have jaw surgery and five teeth pulled to make room. Sigh.

    My teeth are mostly capped. The absolute worst jaw and mouth ache I had turned out to be a cracked tooth. When they opened it to do the root canal, it was such an incredible relief I didn't focus on the cost.

  16. UGH .. there was a time when I would have opted for extraction vs root canal .. however several hundred thousand dollars and one permanent bridge (all my upper teeth) later I realize how much smarter root canal (dont right/properly) is.

    I hope whichever you do, you dont hurt too much

  17. I hope the visit goes quickly and smooth! Hugs!

  18. Dentistry...too many posting options, not enough time! :) I hope your visit goes well. Thanks for the entertainment!

    BTW, I did have those teeth that stuck straight out and HAD TO have braces, but all that I was put through...ugh, the dental phobia is BAD! All my kids LOVE going to the dentist. How crazy is that!

    Made you a favorite on my blog page...thanks for your faithful commenting!

  19. Wow, you poor thing. I know what you mean about parents getting in line behind the kids and also about having dental problems too.

    I'll be thinking about you all day. Take care.

  20. Just the thought of dental work makes me cringe! For both the expense and the discomfort!! Not fun!

  21. The first dentist I met in my life was a butcher. So was the second one. I'm still mentally recovering from that trauma. Even though I know they're not all like them, even though I know there is a fairly gentle one living at walking distance from my house, even though I know I HAVE to make an appointment, it's just not happening. And I know I should. Coz my teeth must be British as well!

  22. Hmm, my teeth must have British roots as well! Hope you're back to normal now.