Saturday, February 07, 2009

You Have A Talent For Causing Things Pain

On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday I woke up in the middle of the night with significant pain. It was hard to pinpoint exactly where the pain was, other than to say it kind of affected my teeth, the roof of my mouth, and my sinuses. I've been pretty stuffed up, so I figured it was a sinus thing, especially since it's not unusual to feel pain in your teeth when you have sinus issues. Part of what made me think it was sinus pain, and not a tooth thing, was that I couldn't identify an individual tooth that was hurting - it just sort of seemed to be my right top front teeth generally.

As all of this was going on, a bump developed on the roof of my mouth. It almost felt like an extra-firm blister. It started small, but by Wednesday it had grown to fingernail-size, and was really painful whenever I touched it with my tongue.

Wednesday evening, the pain was pretty bad, so I decided I'd start WebMDing it, to see if I could figure out what kind of doctor I should be seeing (dentist, ENT, general?). I couldn't really find too much out there, only that it could be sinuses or possibly a tooth thing, but that was less likely because abscesses generally only develop between the gum and the lip/cheek, not on the inside.

Since the dentist is just a block from my office, I called in for a quick diagnostic appointment Thursday morning. The hygienist took a look at the bump location and quickly said, "oh, I've had smaller versions of that. It's probably sinus related." But since there was some pain associated with it, they decided to take an X-ray, just in case.

When the X-ray came back, there was good news and bad news. The good news was, I didn't need a root canal. The bad news was, I needed two.

Yeah, the whole bump was a gigantic abscess. The dentist said it had probably been there for months, and he was shocked that I hadn't felt any pain prior to this. He quickly wrote me prescriptions for pain medication and antibiotics, and stressed the importance of getting on them quickly. Then we scheduled an urgent appointment with the endontic specialist. I'm very glad we did too, because the rest of the day on Thursday, the pain kept getting more and more severe.

This morning I saw the endontist. He took a couple more X-rays, saw the size, and got right to work. He drilled two holes in the back of my teeth so that he could drain the infection and clear out the pulp. As he finished drilling the second hole I heard him exclaim, "What the heck is that? I've never seen that before."

That wasn't encouraging. Fortunately it all went pretty quick, though it was really pretty painful. About halfway through the infection started to drain out, and there must have been a lot because he said, "Whoa, here it comes," and grabbed a gauze from the assistant. Fun stuff. Later on in the day the bump started to leak, and I got a pretty good idea of what had been draining through the tooth too. Let's just say it wasn't pretty (or tasty), and leave it at that.

Anyway, my mouth is still really sore, but in a "there was a lot of work done on it" way, not the previous "This is so intensely painful I can't wait to see the dentist" way. It's been a rough week.

I'm pretty sure I've made this observation before, but it's remarkable how good the absence of pain can feel when you've been suffering for a while.

Anyway, it's all behind me now (until I go in for a follow up in a week, and get crowns put on sometime after that), and I can get back to the low-pressure stakes of studying for the bar. Yeah!

I focus on the pain
The only thing that's real


Katie said...

ugh. doesn't sound fun...

thanks for the response on my lease question!

superscalifragilisticexpealidocious said...

Ew, oh my gosh that sucks!
I'm sorry.