Root canals (and a serious follow-up)

The flossing games


Just got a call from the dentist’s office.

Looks like we have some hot double root canal action going on next Thursday, the 24th.

So we can all definitely look forward to that.

And, as it turns out, I’ve never had a root canal before.

I *thought* I did, but was informed by the dentist yesterday that I did not. (What I got was a botchy filling 20 years ago).

So yeah! It’s going to be a new experience. Woohoo!

And two in one day. This is good because I will be able to directly compare the two.

“Dr, I felt you were good with the first one, but you really hit your stride with the second. It’s unfortunate we are not doing all three on the same day. I can only imagine the third!”

Don’t get too excited, but once these two are done, I may be able to chew my food normally for the first time since July 4, 2009.

Good times.

Read the comments on Facebook



In response to people suggesting I avoid getting root canals based on some scary information they’ve read online…

When people focus on the horror stories and imagine the worst, it amplifies their fear.

Yes, bad things happen. But every bad thing that can happen doesn’t happen to everyone everywhere.

If I start talking about something very specific (such as shark attacks) in a way that makes it sound very scary and initiates a physiological response, it increases your fear of that thing and then you suddenly find yourself making decisions based on that fear (such as never going in the water at the beach) which may be completely unfounded statistically.

There are at least 11 animals more likely to kill you than sharks. They include dogs, bees, cows, mosquitos, and ants.

But sharks, man, they are scary, aren’t they?

If you spend time reading and researching the worst possible outcomes of a procedure, then of course it’s going to change how you feel about it.

So it’s important to be as informed as possible in both positive and negative aspects of something — so you are not simply acting out of fear.

I totally understand there are potential issues with root canals. But I also understand there are potential issues with tooth extractions.

I understand that it could go horribly wrong. But I also understand it could be just fine and exactly what I need.

With regard to the bit of research I did about root canals…

As you might expect, there’s a lot of scary information out there. Regardless of how many websites, videos, or pages exist, it’s all based on a SINGLE study done many years ago. (And then some re-affirming of that study more recently — but also some debunking).

Issues associated with root canals have to do with bacteria that accumulates around the tooth after the procedure. It is said that for the vast majority of cases (of which there are over 25 million root canals in the USA each year) this is not an issue and — and if it is, it is largely impacted by the vitality of the person’s immune system.

There are few options to root canals — the primary option is having a tooth extracted. And, while the procedure is cheaper initially, it can actually be more expensive in the long run if one is concerned about the integrity of one’s jaw.

Tooth extractions require either implants (which are very expensive) or bridges in order to keep teeth from moving around.

Nearly everything I read suggested that keeping a tooth is always the best option, when possible. But this didn’t take into consideration the scariest of the information floating about regarding root canals.

As with any health related procedure, there are always risks. And there are always horror stories. It’s a given. And then these horror stories are amplified by people who are responding with fear.

“OMG. I just read this awful thing about how dangerous root canals are and how they can destroy your health. I must tell people about this!”

I am not saying that there is no risk associated with root canals, but I will say that getting a root canal is not a guarantee that it will lead to health issues.

And, in my case, I have two (to 3) major tooth infections that are posing significant issues right *now* as I type this.

Pain? Bearable. Not being able to eat comfortably at all, *that’s* a big issue.

Now I wish I had the luxury of waiting — and I have at least until next Thursday to consider things — but right now I have a major issue and it appears the root canal procedure will help me with that. And that’s what a professional dentist, and someone far more informed about such things than I, thinks is the best way to go.

He could have suggested implants, which are more expensive, but didn’t. And he has no way of guaranteeing more of my business in the future.

He suggested the root canals to solve my problem, I want my problem solved, so that’s how I’m looking at it.

Don’t mistake my comedic way of looking at all of this dental work as not taking it seriously.

I absolutely despise having things done to my body and will avoid things if at all possible.

I tore my calf last year and ended up in urgent care. When my doctor suggested I see a specialist for surgery, I declined. His response was to *yell* at me, tell me all the things I would have to suffer with, and said that if I walked with a limp for the rest of my life, it was my fault.

That was my call. And it ended up being the right one. But I was willing to risk not being able to walk normally for rest of my life to make that decision.

So I don’t just get work done “casually”.

So for those concerned, please know I am at least reasonably informed about the issues associated with root canals — and I thank you for bringing them to my attention.

I still think it’s the best way to go, but I will probably do more looking into it all as well — to make sure I didn’t miss anything.

Obviously I don’t want to do anything to myself that is going to lead to long-term risks.

But I also think that the more you focus on fear, the more fear has a way of taking over in ways that are not always in one’s best interest.

Read the comments on Facebook