Dental {Emergency}

I've definitely been MIA lately - and that might even be an understatement! Regardless, life has definitely not been fun these past few weeks. Seriously. This past week, I've been struggling with a dental emergency. At least, that's what I've been calling it because it's totally uprooted my life. 

So, a week ago yesterday, I woke up in complete agonizing pain in my mouth; I chalked it up to a toothache - no biggie. It happens.  Well, several Advil, tears, and many hours later, the pain was worse than ever. Seriously - I was willing to do just about anything for it to stop. Why is mouth pain so unbearable?! I was paralyzed by the pain. And it's a pain like no other. It's deep, throbbing, and electrifying - not in a good way. I've tried putting it into words and have failed miserably for a week now. I spent that evening searching my dental insurance for dentists in network to try contacting the next day. FYI - if you're going to have a dental emergency, don't do it on the weekend! {like you can control it...I know} My husband was at work and I was all alone, scaring the dog through the bouts of pain that was tearing through my face. Luckily, I am completely blessed with amazing parents who stayed on the phone with me for over an hour attempting to calm me down until Colten got home. Thank goodness! There's something about just not being alone during a time in need that is somewhat comforting. I had tried everything - what do I do?! Luckily for my sanity, Advil PM did the trick long enough for me to get 'some' sleep that night. 

Monday morning rolled around and I called in to work; I then called the dentist's office. Well, it was a struggle with my new insurance. It's an HMO so I had to assign a provider prior to being seen. As it was, I did not have a prior dentist in Austin yet, so anyone would do, really. After about ten attempts and ten different offices, I finally found a provider that would be able to see me that day. And assigning them as my primary care dental provider was easy! Thank goodness for small favors! But, the appointment availability was not until 2:30 that afternoon, so I was left in pain until then. Somehow, I managed, and Colten got off work at 1pm that day and was able to go with me. And off we went. Now is the time that I admit I had not seen a dentist in 6 years. *shudders* It's true. And I'm not proud of it! But, it is what it is, and it was time to figure out exactly what was going on. By this time, the pain was even more unbearable [if that was even possible] and the left side of my face was starting to really swell up. Something was wrong. 

Being a new patient, they had to do a complete oral exam, which was mostly fine. Except, the hygienist had to measure my gums and basically poke inside and out of every.single.tooth. NOT OKAY when you're seriously in pain! Tears were shed, it's true. I should also mention that I have a zero tolerance for pain; yup, I'm a wuss! At least the dental assistant was nice about it and seemed to care. It helped, and it reminded me that yet again, a little compassion goes a long way in this world! But anyway, xrays were taken and the dentist came in; I walked out of there with a co-pay and a referral to see an endodontist. Eeeek! I knew it was bad if I had to see a specialist. :( But by the time I got home, it was after 5pm and I had to wait to call for an appointment until the next day. Luckily, though, the dentist did prescribe an antibiotic for the infection. 

Super swollen! Uck!

The endodontist recommended that I go in around 10am and she would try to fit me in since the pain was only increasing. The tech here was not as nice :(. Neither was the receptionist. Ugh! After sitting in the waiting room in excruciating pain for over an hour and a half, they took me back. After a few more deeper xrays [ouch!], the results were in: the root canal that I had done about 6 1/2 years ago was infected. And from the looks of the xrays, it was a large infection! Boo. But, due to the extreme swelling and high pain level, there was nothing that could be done immediately. So, home I went, after a hefty co-pay this time, and a prescription for pain meds! Thank God! I was not leaving that place without it! I was scheduled for retreatment of my root canal the following Thursday, over a week away. 

Basically, the original root canal [for one reason or another] was not successful; cue picture on the left. That's exactly what is going on in my mouth right now. To fix it, redo the root canal. Or, oral surgery to go in through my gums, or extract the tooth. Umm, option one please!  And just an FYI for anyone going through tooth pain or something to remember if you ever do, DO NOT look up pictures or information online...just don't do it! Save yourself! Seriously. 
Tuesday night was the worst! The antibiotic needed to be in my system for 48 hours before I noticed the effects of it, and I was just shy of that deadline. I knew I was in trouble after taking Vicodin and experiencing NO relief! My husband ultimately called his mom, who called the hospital - I was able to take Advil with the Vicodin and finally had relief! But I was also scared. I just wanted to start feeling normal again instead of upset, angry, and scared. Would things ever get back to normal? Logically, I knew they would, as both the dentist and endodontist said they would, and I trusted them both. But, my irrational brain was telling me different. No surprise there! I also scared myself during those moments of severe, paralyzing pain. It made me angry and I didn't recognize myself at all. Seriously, I didn't like it one bit. I recall willing to do just about anything, and I mean ANYTHING to make the pain subside. Thank goodness for the invention of medication! It's been a lifesaver this past week! And for my amazing husband and parents. Without them, only God knows what would've happened.

And the lack of ability to eat - oh my goodness! My face was so swollen that eating anything solid was impossible. I was forced on a liquid diet for those first three days! Smoothies were my go-to, for sure! But on Saturday, I was able to gum down some cheese pizza and oh my yum was it amazing! Talking has been difficult as well.
Now, I'm back at work, but only for a few days, as my procedure is scheduled for Thursday this week. I'm requesting prayers, please! The first root canal was bad enough, but I've heard the retreatment is more intense, as it's more complicated going back in. I struggle with fear of the unknown, and not knowing exactly what is going to happen during this procedure or just how much pain I'll be in during and after has me terrified! Also, the pain has significantly subsided, as has the swelling, and I do not look forward to being back in pain and in the beginning phase of recovery once again. It's driving me insane, and I'm unable to look forward to really anything [weekends, days off, fun stuff, etc.] until this is over. Seriously, I'm a wuss! But it's a fear I continue to try to conquer every day. Again, prayers are very much appreciated! 
I know that this is just another trial in my life to get through, and I know that it's not the end of the world. But it's been a very tough week and has tried my patience, my marriage, and my faith to the core. But I hope and pray that I come out of this stronger than ever! 

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Rachel S said...

OH no!! Tooth pain is not okay!! Hope you are okay lady!

Haley said...

Yes, for some reason tooth pain is the worst!!
Try not to worry too much. I'm sure you'll be prescribed the suitable pain meds to get you through the pain afterwards. Just rest up and try not to think about it..!
I agree that it is so much worse to be going through discomfort or pain alone. I always focus and obsess about my pain and make it so much worse. !! Glad your hubby was there for you. Good luck this week.

Daniel carter said...

Thanks for the info. You have done great work communicating your message. Keep up the good work.

Jason Dew said...

“…several Advil, tears, and many hours later, the pain was worse than ever.” – This must've been like a nightmare come to life. Thankfully, your parents and husband were there beside you to take care of you and support you while you were on the process of your treatment. It’s been months, how are you doing now?

Jason Dew @ Metro Dental Associates

Richard Brown said...

hi, I just wanted to say how much i enjoy reading your blog. in a world full of spin, it's nice to get some fact-based analysis. keep up the good work.

Emergency Dentist Phoenix

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