Recently I had the pleasure (NOT) of two root canals in one week! A few weeks ago I experienced pain on one side of my mouth while munching on tortilla chips. I assumed that one of the sharp edges had slipped between my teeth and hurt my gums, so thought the pain would go away by the next day….
I was not so fortunate; two days later the pain was worsening so I called my dentist for an appointment. After taking x-rays and prodding in my mouth where I thought the pain was coming from, my dentist could not determine any significant damage, just slight inflammation, so told me to go home and “baby the tooth for a few days until it gets better.”
A few days later I woke up in the middle of the night in excruciating pain. Of course, it was a sunday morning. I phoned the emergency number provided on my dentist’s voice mail and went to a clinic in the other end of town. (I would have driven anywhere at that point to get it fixed!) More x-rays and more prodding determined the problem tooth and a root canal was recommended and performed. For some reason this dentist could not find all of the canals in the tooth (apparently each tooth has at least three and possibly four canals, and he could only find two) to clean out, so sent me home with instructions to see my own dentist in a few days to continue the procedure. I’m sure it did not help that I had difficulty opening my mouth wide enough for him to work on the offending back tooth because of the pain in my jaw as well as the lack of sleep the night before…
In the meantime I was put on clindamycin, a powerful antibiotic, to clear up the infection in my tooth and ensure it did not spread elsewhere in my body. Both the dentist and the pharmacist warned me that the side effects of this antibiotic were nasty: upset stomach, diarrhea, nausea, and light-headedness to name a few. I think I experienced every one listed, and they lasted for the whole seven days I was on the medication.
Three days later I went back to see my own dentist who performed the rest of the root canal. By that time I was so happy to be pain-free (the freezing helped) with the root of the problem (pun intended) cleared up, I did not mind the additional work. This dentist was able to find the third canal too, so I left there all fixed up, and feeling like a million bucks. Well, at least one thousand bucks, as that is what the three visits to the dentist cost. Thank heavens for dental insurance!