Monday, April 07, 2008

Scared silly

Tomorrow I have to go to an endodontist about one of my teeth - #30 to be exact. I didn't even know what an endodontist was until a few weeks ago, when I was told that I should go see one by an oral surgeon. This was the first oral surgeon that I had ever seen either.

You see, my teeth are great. I have only had one cavity in my entire life. It was in a baby tooth, and after they filled it the tooth cracked and fell out the next day. My dental checkups are always glowing, with the dentist and hygenist saying how nice my teeth are and that I take good care of them. The only flack I get is about my wisdom teeth. I have four of them, and they are 95% in , and they're straight. Most dentists think they should come out so I can have more room to brush that last molar back there, but they say that if they don't decay and aren't giving me any problems that I can just leave them alone. For now.

Recently I had to switch dentists because my old dentist stopped taking my insurance. I just blindly picked a dentist in my plan, and I was lucky. He's nice, young (and cute!), and seems to do a very good job. He had a panoramic x-ray taken of my teeth, which I had never had before. If you've never had one, it's this contraption that takes one big long x-ray of your whole mouth instead of all those little tiny x-rays. It was pretty cool, and gives a good view of the gums and jaws as well as the teeth, something that the small x-rays can't do.

I was feeling pretty good about my visit until Dr. Cutie says "Has anyone ever talked to you about this area under this tooth?", pointing to a circular spot at the root of one of my molars. I said no, what is it? He said he didn't know, but it needed to be looked at by an oral surgeon because it might either need to biopsied or removed. Is it a tumor, I asked? He said he didn't know, but I needed to have it checked out ASAP.

Oooh boy. I'm the worst patient in the whole world. Seriously. I'm a total nerve bag. I don't like needles, especially if they are going to get jabbed into my gums. Yeech. Even talking about it freaks me out. Years ago this one dentist and I were having a consultation about getting my wisdom teeth out. We were in his office, like the kind of room with a desk, computer, plant, that sort of thing. No dental chair and not a pointy or dangerous instrument in sight. Things were okay until he said that he might have to put a stitch or two in the bottom holes after the extraction. I thought I was going to faint, so I purposely knocked my purse off of my lap so I could bend over to get it, thus getting blood to my head so I wouldn't flop over and drool on this guy's floor.

Hearing that this circular area of lucency on my x-ray had me worried that it was a tumor, so I had to get this looked at right away. So a few weeks ago Craig went with me to an oral surgeon. The dentist looked at the x-ray and said he thought that the tooth was dead and had developed a cyst on the root. If that is the case, then all I would have to do is get a root canal and that would solve the problem. If the tooth is alive, however, then a root canal will not solve anything and my jaw would need to be biopsied. I had to sit down when he told me how they would do that.

The oral surgeon recommended an endodontist, which he explained is a dentist who specializes in saving teeth. The endodontist would test to see if the tooth was alive or not, and would perform the root canal if the tooth is dead. If the tooth is alive, then it's back to the oral surgeon for a biopsy.

Tomorrow they will test my tooth. Craig says all they will do it spray cold water and air on my tooth and see if I can feel it. If I can't, then the tooth is dead, so I'll need a root canal. Yikes. And if I feel the water or air, then the tooth is alive, which means I'll need a biopsy. Double yikes.

Honestly, neither one of these options sound good to me. Despite Craig's assurances that tomorrow won't be a big deal, I'm really scared and nervous about it. He says that I shouldn't freak out about tomorrow's exam, and that I should save the freaking out for the impending root canal or biopsy. Because I'm getting one of them, whether I like it or not.

And I DO NOT like it.


Kim Ayars said...

I'm so sorry! I hate the dentist too. Hopefully all will go well tomorrow! Any chance the dark spot was just a smudge? :-)

How is the arena coming?

Beckz said...

Holy cow. This doesn't help but I would be freaking out too!

Rising Rainbow said...

I can understand you being scared. Nobody likes dealing with the unknown.

I'm a super big chicken about the dentist. So bad in fact that my husband goes with me to get my procedures done. And it's ok and your trip will get ok too. One way or the other, you'll get this thing out of the way and then not have to worry about it anymore.

I'll be thinking about you, sending supportive vibes your way.

haffiegirl said...

I had two root canals, so if that's what you need I can assure you that it's not a big deal. I didn't feel anything after the first novocaine shot (and that didn't even really hurt - injections don't hurt very much in your mouth for some reason). The worst part is sitting with your mouth open for an hour (which, again, isn't really that bad in the grand scheme of things).

I hope you just need the root canal because the other stuff sounds a lot scarier. You are in my thoughts :)

And if it makes you feel any better - I'm a "passer outer" too. This weakness makes medical school a little difficult at times :)

Good luck! Let us know how it goes!

Katee said...

I've got great teeth, too. No cavity in 30 years of life. Still, I worry each time I go to the dentist that something is going to be wrong. Your story is freaking me out. Neither of your options sound good to me. It's Tuesday so you're there now. My thoughts are with you!

dressagemom said...


I wish it was just a smudge. However, Dr. Cutie took two more x-rays just to be sure. And it was still there. As for the arena, I'm hoping to set up a time with Mr. K this week to come by and do some work. I'll update on that as soon as I can.

Beckz and RR,

Glad to know I'm not the only one who is a big baby about this kind of stuff!

Haffie Girl,

It's not the feeling pain thing that's going to get me. It's thinking about what they are doing in there that's going to freak me out. They are going to have to put me under I think, cause I'm either going to have a breakdown or pass out. Yeah, it's dumb but I can't help it!


Just get one of those panorama x-rays. Dr. Cutie told me that someone should have done one before now and we might have picked this up sooner. Also he said it's rare so I'm sure you'll be fine.

Lil Kate said...

Good luck! I hope it all goes smoothly and I'll be thinking about you!

Beth said...

Ooh, I really really dont like the dentist either!

Good luck my friend!

20 meter circle of life said...

take care, you are in my thoughts. I too am not a dentist fan

mutable67 said...

I'm a veteran of two root canals as well ... and bridgework ... and the usual drillin' & fillin'

Don't be shy about asking for nitrous! It got me through an extraction and the first root canal. Even if you get just enough to get you through the novocaine, it's a big help in getting over The Fear. Plus, when you're done they give you oxygen and you're good to go!

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