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My strange and unusual dental journey (root canal, wisdom tooth, filling and more)

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MountainMama

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My strange and unusual dental journey (root canal, wisdom tooth, filling and more)

I decided to go ahead and start a journal, in case anyone else ends up having a strange dental experience like mine. Just as a backstory, my fear of dental work stems from a difficult in getting numb, and having to have multiple rounds of shots each procedure, after the dentist "testing" it first.

I had my impacted wisdom teeth removed in my late teens (and I had two extra tooth buds that they extracted). I also had braces and oral surgery accompanying the braces. As a young adult, in my 20's, I ended up having several of my molars need fillings. Then I had many blissful years where I had no issues with my teeth.

About five years ago, in my early 30's, I bit down on a potato chip and broke my last upper left molar...not badly, just broke off part of it. I went to the dentist, and he decided to just do a filling, instead of a crown. That was my first mistake, that set off this entire journey.

Two years after he did the filling, we moved. I saw a new dentist for a cleaning, and they mentioned that the molar needed a crown, or it would likely crack, and I'd need a root canal. That terrified me, so I went ahead and had them do the prep work for a crown. They took impressions. When the crown came in, it didn't quite fit, and instead of re-ordering it, they just stuck it on. I had never had one before and had no idea how it was supposed to fit. It did not meet my gumline, and they couldn't get it to the correct bite with my bottom tooth. They ground on the crown (which I have later learned was not the correct thing to do), and ended up grinding down my bottom molar under it to make it fit. I never had any pain with any of that.

This year (four years after the crown was placed), at a new dentist, the dentist found decay under the crown on the x-ray. She removed the crown, and the decay, and replaced the filling, and put on a temp crown. She told me that the filling was really deep and that it was possible that the root would become infected, needing a root canal!

Two weeks later, the tooth started hurting, mostly just twinges here and there, but accompanied by tingling all along my upper jaw, radiating to my lower jaw. I called, she gave me a prescription for antibiotics, and referred me to and endodontist. This is where my journey starts.
 
M

MountainMama

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My strange and unusual dental journey (root canal, wisdom tooth, filling and more)

Part two of the journey.

I have never had a root canal. The antibiotics really helped with the pain, and I just had occasional twinges, nothing outrageously painful like I have heard others describe. Once I finished the course of antibiotics, the pain increased, but I was at the endodontist within a week of finishing the antibiotics.

The endodontist taps on my tooth, and OWCH. That was painful. She does a few other tests, and says I do need a root canal. We get it scheduled. She says that the roots are pretty twisty, and one has a sharp curve. The procedure should take about 60-90 minutes. She prescribes me another round of antibiotics to avoid an abscess, so that she can do the root canal. The abscess would prevent the numbing medication from working, which I don't need!

On the day of the procedure, I opt for nitrous oxide, as I am absolutely terrified, especially of the numbing not working when she is drilling into the pulp of my tooth! I tell her that I have a difficult time getting numb. She gives the usual numbing shots, three of them, and gives me about 15 minutes for them to work. Then she taps on my tooth again, and asks if I feel anything. Nope, then right after I get a zing, followed by two more zings. She says it is weird that they are delayed, but agrees that I have a hard time getting numb. She gives more shots.

Then she starts drilling and it is the moment of truth! I am anxious, even with the nitrous. She tells me to raise my hand if I feel anything. Finally, she says she has gotten to the pulp, and I haven't felt it, so I relax. She works for about an hour, then tells me that she is going to have to have me come back for a second appointment, as she needs to spend more time on that root with the sharp curve. She had thought at first one of the instruments had broken off, but it hadn't. She puts the temp crown back on, after putting in some medicine that is supposed to help kill the rest of the nerve.

The next availability is 3 weeks away, but when I get to the desk to check out, the receptionist tells me there was just a cancellation for Friday and I can get in (3 days away). I schedule it.

In between the 3 days, I have no pain, but intense pressure in my sinus cavity and tooth. I also have a strange fizzing feeling, almost like carbonated water at the gum line of the treated tooth. I am still on the antibiotics at this point.

I go in and finish the root canal treatment. The second appointment is only about a half hour, and the endodontist said everything looked good and that she was confident about it. If only that was true...
 
M

MountainMama

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My strange and unusual dental journey (root canal, wisdom tooth, filling and more)

Now begins part three of my journey.

A week after the root canal, I am still having quite a bit of pain. There was no lessening of pain after a few days, and my tooth is still really sore and tender to pressure. The endodontist has me come back in, and she takes an x-ray, finds nothing on it, and prescribes me a third round of antibiotics, saying that it is possible there is just a little infection in my gums.

The antibiotics help with the pain again, and I am getting hopeful that it worked. After the antibiotics are finished, the pain comes back. It is occasional sharp pains under the tooth, but mostly just super tender to pressure. I can't chew on that side at all. It is now almost three weeks after the root canal.

To make it worse, during this time, my back lower molar on the right side starts hurting intensely. My regular dentist is closed for the 4th of July holiday, so I get in to see a different dentist the following day. They take an x-ray, and find nothing out of the ordinary. The pain feels like extreme sensitivity, like even breathing causes a jolt of pain. I thought I lost part of a filling, but this dentist says it all looks good. He puts a little patch of temporary filling on part of the tooth, and asks if that helps with the pain. It does allow me to breathe without pain. The pain is all right on and under the tooth. He says I have a tiny cavity starting between the two molars, but that it shouldn't be causing that kind of pain.

I call the endodontist and she has me come right in about the root canal tooth. She looks it over and still finds nothing wrong on the x-ray. She tells me that sometimes the roots have accessory canals that branch off that can't be seen from inside, and she shows me pictures. She wants to do an apicoectomy. We get it scheduled for the following Friday.
 
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MountainMama

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Re: My strange and unusual dental journey (root canal, wisdom tooth, filling and more)

So in the meantime, I am still in pain with the lower molar, and at this point, I can't chew anything, so it is a liquid diet pretty much. I am still taking 600 mg of ibuprofen every 6 hours, as I started after the root canal, so about a month of this.

That same day, at around 4:30 p.m., I get a call from my endodontist. She had ordered a 3D scan of my teeth earlier, to help her navigate the roots for the apicoectomy. She said that before she does the apicoectomy, the small supernumary wisdom tooth next to the molar needed to come out. Yes, I had ANOTHER wisdom tooth. I had discovered it ten years prior, at a dental exam, but so far every dentist had said as long as it wasn't causing problems, it could stay. It never broke through the skin. The endo said that it was blocking the roots of my molar, and could actually be contributing to the pain by causing inflammation.

Monday morning, I get in with my regular dentist. Right away, she said that it looked like a tiny part of my filling had come off. So the other dentist didn't catch this. The fillings are over 15 years old, so that doesn't surprise me. She numbs me up with a lower nerve block, as she knows my difficulty with getting numb. She pulls the filling out, and discovers decay under it. She drills and removes the decay, and finds one deep spot. As she is drilling, suddenly I can feel it, and it HURTS! I yelp and she stops. She says she got it all, but that it was really close to the nerve. She puts in a desensitizing gel before putting in a new filling, hoping to avoid another root canal.

So now, I have one failed root canal, and another possible one coming up. I have to schedule an appointment with an oral surgeon to remove an impacted wisdom tooth. My dental insurance is maxed out, so everything is out of pocket at this point. I am feeling extremely overwhelmed.
 
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MountainMama

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My strange and unusual dental journey (root canal, wisdom tooth, filling and more)

I go see the oral surgeon the following week. He looks at my 3D scan and says he is surprised that none of my previous dentists have told me that I needed to get that extra wisdom tooth out. It is pretty small, like the size of one of my incisors, but apparently it has caused bone loss around it, and there is a risk of food traveling up the molar next to it, and getting trapped in that pocket created by the bone loss, and getting infected.

I am feeling so overwhelmed and in constant pain at this point. So the wisdom tooth has to come out before I can do anything else. I am thinking of just getting the root canal tooth extracted as well, but the oral surgeon advises me to wait and see what happens after he removes the wisdom tooth, saying he would hate to extract a perfectly good tooth if there were no obvious issues with the root canal.

He said the wisdom tooth extraction could be difficult, given its placement right next to the molar (it is practically touching it, with the roots a little overlapped). It will likely make me lose the temporary crown, and possibly knock out the filling in the root canal tooth. No matter what, it is going to be painful once the local anesthetic wears off.

Because he doesn't know how long it will take, as it could be one of those deals where the roots break off as he is extracting it, he wants me to be scheduled for the last appointment of the day. Because of that, I can't get in for 3 weeks. The appointment is scheduled for August 3rd.

In the meantime, I am still having lots of pain with the lower molar. The dentist wants to give it two weeks at least, before she refers me to the endodontist for root canal consultation. I have been on ibuprofen for over a month now.

Right now, the pain seems to be getting worse. It isn't super sensitive anymore, but the pain is right below the tooth, a sharp aching sensation that is getting worse, and causes the molar next to it to hurt as well. My jaw is aching, and is tender to the touch below the tooth and into my neck. My jaw hurts all the way back to the joint, and even the molar above hurts off and on. The pain comes and goes, though. I will wake up with just a slight twinge, then by ten a.m., it will be hurting badly. By lunch, it will have decreased, then picks up again a few hours later. The ibuprofen and tylenol help control it, but even with those, when it hurts, it is painful. I know it can get worse, which is what I am worried about. So far, I do not have signs of an abscess.
 
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MountainMama

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Re: My strange and unusual dental journey (root canal, wisdom tooth, filling and more)

The oral surgeon's office called and had a cancellation. I am going in tomorrow for the wisdom tooth removal. I am nervous but hopeful that this will be one step closer to getting this root canal treated tooth back to functioning. Also they will put me on antibiotics after the extraction, since they have to expose the roots of the RCT tooth to get at the impacted wisdom tooth. Hopefully that will help alleviate the pain from the tooth with the deep filling if there is an infection.
 
krlovesherkids777

krlovesherkids777

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Re: My strange and unusual dental journey (root canal, wisdom tooth, filling and more)

Mountain mama..

So you had wisdom tooth surgery today? How are you doing ? maybe it is not yet.. but hope all went or goes well and smooth!!
 
M

MountainMama

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Re: My strange and unusual dental journey (root canal, wisdom tooth, filling and more)

Mountain mama..

So you had wisdom tooth surgery today? How are you doing ? maybe it is not yet.. but hope all went or goes well and smooth!!
Just got back. The tooth came out easily, thank goodness. It was the size of a baby tooth but had a good sized root. The oral surgeon didn't think it would have caused any of the pain from my root canal though. I am still numb right now. Stitches are dissolving kind so I don't have to go back.
 
M

MountainMama

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Re: My strange and unusual dental journey (root canal, wisdom tooth, filling and more)

Most of the numbness wore off overnight, but I am still having numbness in my cheek, lip, and incision site, along with the RCT tooth next to it. It is actually a relief to have that tooth numb right now! Lol.

I have a lot of sinus pressure and a really bad headache. The oral surgeon had prescribed me narcotics but I would prefer not to take those. I have bern taking 400 mg of ibuprofen and 650 mg of acetaminophen every 6 hours. So far it is dulling the pain, but that awful headache won't go away.
 
krlovesherkids777

krlovesherkids777

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Re: My strange and unusual dental journey (root canal, wisdom tooth, filling and more)

Hope the headaches go away and pain stays managable.. Glad it went pretty well for you! :)
 
M

MountainMama

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Re: My strange and unusual dental journey (root canal, wisdom tooth, filling and more)

It is four days post wisdom tooth removal. The headaches are fading, as is the sinus pressure. I feel a little congested today, but not bad. I have dropped down to taking 400 mg of ibuprofen every 6 hours. It is still painful, but bearable. The incision site still hurts occasionally, but not terrible. My root canal treated tooth is still very pressure sensitive and hurts if I touch it with my tongue.
My lower molar with the deep filling is actually less painful, aching but not having the jolts of pain that I had before. I am very cautiously hoping that the tooth is settling, but I don't want to get my hopes up.
 
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MountainMama

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Re: My strange and unusual dental journey (root canal, wisdom tooth, filling and more)

I woke up today with vertigo. Before I even got up, I had a wave of dizziness, and have been having trouble staying balanced. It isn't terrible, but I have never had this before, so it is concerning. I also have a bad taste in my mouth and sinus pressure again.
I called the oral surgeons office and am going in tomorrow just to check things out.

Edited: I ended up calling my general doctor today and getting in with her instead. So apparently the surgery aggravated my sinuses and they are extremely swollen, and I have fluid in both ears, but the ear closest to the surgery is the worst. That is causing my dizziness. She was a little distressed that I had been on 3 courses of antibiotics and was worried about how my gut was doing, as well as antibiotic resistance. She told me to get Flonase (allergy nasal spray) to help with the swelling in my sinuses, and to take probiotics until all this dental work is done. She also took a peek at the incision site and said it doesn't look infected.

I canceled my appointment at the oral surgeon. I was a little worried they were going to try to put me on antibiotics anyway. The stitches are starting to come out. I can feel one of them hanging down, which is bugging me. My mouth hurts worse today, but I am thinking that is caused by the swollen sinuses.
 
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MountainMama

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Re: My strange and unusual dental journey (root canal, wisdom tooth, filling and more)

Apicoectomy is scheduled for August 15 at 9 a.m.
 
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MountainMama

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Re: My strange and unusual dental journey (root canal, wisdom tooth, filling and more)

Just an update....apicoectomy is on Friday (rescheduled). I still have pain in my lower molar. I cannot take ibuprofen this week, per my endodontist, so it is Tylenol only. Now the tooth next to the molar with the deep filling is hurting. I am hoping just referred pain. That molar also has an amalgam filling that is old, so if that one ends up needing replaced and ends up going bad as well, I am going to be so depressed.
 
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MountainMama

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Re: My strange and unusual dental journey (root canal, wisdom tooth, filling and more)

Just got back from the apicoectomy. I panicked when I was getting prepped for it because I had requested nitrous oxide to help me get through it, but the endo said due to the location of the surgical site, the nitrous mask would be in the way.
I had waited so long for this, so I went ahead and did it. It was not as bad as I had expected. They used a strong topical numbing agent first, so the shots were not too bad. The procedure itself took an hour. They wrapped a towel around my head, covering my eyes, to protect my face during surgery, and that actually helped calm me down as well. Apparently my tooth anatomy is strange, and a resident dentist was observing because it was so unique.
The hardest part was hearing the drill and grinder, and smelling the burned scent from when they cut the tips off.
She said that she could not get to the one that was closer to my palate, because it extends way up into my sinus cavity, but that they don't usually do that one on second molars anyway. She did perforate my sinus, which felt really weird. I hada gush of liquid run down my throat. She said not to blow my nose for a week, and use a decongestant if I feel stuffy.
The numbing was wearing off while she was stitching, so she gave me more shots to keep it numb until the pain meds kicked in.
I go back in a month to check it, and to evaluate the bottom molar again. She tested it and the tooth next to it and can't figure out yet which is causing the aching.
 
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MountainMama

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Re: My strange and unusual dental journey (root canal, wisdom tooth, filling and more)

One day after apicoectomy. I was able to sleep fitfully. I kept turning in my sleep to the side that had surgery, which woke me up. I ended up sleeping in the recliner.

Pain isn't too bad today. I have a lot of sinus pressure, so I ended up taking a Sudafed, as I am not supposed to sneeze. I did have a coughing fit, which scared me because it made my sinus cavity start throbbing, but it subsided. With the sinus perforation, I am not supposed to blow my nose, and avoid sneezing amd coughing if I can.

I know this was a last ditch effort to save my tooth, but I will be really upset if it doesn't work, and I have to go through an extraction. The endo already told me the extraction would be difficult due to the palatal root extending way into my sinus (which is why she couldn't resect the root on it), and would likely require a bone graft and/or sinus lift.
 
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twistedsister

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Re: My strange and unusual dental journey (root canal, wisdom tooth, filling and more)

Wow...., what a painful journey. I found myself clenching my teeth just reading your story! I hope you get some relief soon. o_O
 
M

MountainMama

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Re: My strange and unusual dental journey (root canal, wisdom tooth, filling and more)

Wow...., what a painful journey. I found myself clenching my teeth just reading your story! I hope you get some relief soon. o_O
Thank you. I will be glad when everything is fixed and I go back to normal!
 
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MountainMama

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Re: My strange and unusual dental journey (root canal, wisdom tooth, filling and more)

I am now five days post op. The pain from the incision site has gone down a lot. It still hurts, but more in an irritating way rather than painful. Yesterday was the last day of the Toradol (pain meds), but the endo gave me four days worth of 600 mg ibuprofen, so that I can taper off.

The tooth itself is still tender to the touch, but I expect that it will take awhile for the internal healing to be complete. It hurts when I brush my teeth, but doesn't hurt spontaneously, or ache.
 
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MountainMama

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Re: My strange and unusual dental journey (root canal, wisdom tooth, filling and more)

8 days post op. This has definitely been a more difficult recovery than what I read about online. The phrase I kept reading that said "most people think recovering from an apicoectomy is easier than recovering from the initial root canal" is a total lie!

The gums have pretty much healed. All my stitches have dissloved except one, which is stuck between my molars. It is super annoying, but I can't get at it to pull it out. I am still too scared to floss between them right now. Brushing still hurts.

I have no idea if the procedure worked or not. My tooth was super tender yesterday, but isn't as bad today. It is still tender if I apply pressure, though. I am still holding out hope. If I need an extraction, it won't be soon, as I cannot handle one more thing right now

So the side effects are getting me right now. My gut isn't handling the antibiotics well, even though I am taking a probiotic daily as well (middle of the day). I have canker sores in my mouth and throat right now, as my acidity/bacteria in my mouth is out of whack from the antibiotics and chlorhexidine mouth rinse. My sinuses are swollen and were congested (and I can't blow my nose due to the perforation of my sinus), so I have been taking sudafed, which helps. I am trying to get off that now. Congestion is a lot less, but pressure is still there.

So basically, I am a mess. BUT, positive outlook is that I am over the hump and on the way to feeling better.
 
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