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seeker and optimist
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay, I know these are so routine but I'm still tied in knots about this! I know my tooth is actually going to feel better when I leave. I've already run about and bought silken tofu, avadados, applesauce, baked beans... none of which I'll likely use....<br><br><br><br>
Tell me it's not so bad!<br><br><br><br>
Thanks,<br><br>
echo
 

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I've had one root canal and it wasn't bad. The only two things are:<br><br><br><br>
If you don't like injections (I don't) there is normally novocaine involved. And the procedure is a bit longer than your usual filling- I don't like my lips getting dry. I don't recall the area being very sore after the novocaine wore off, although there was some discomfort.
 

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Yeah, wear chapstick/lip balm. I had a root canal before, and it wasn't nearly as bad as I though it was going to be. The shots aren't that painful (and I had like 4 separate injections).<br><br><br><br>
Good luck. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 

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Root canals rock! I am being perfectly serious. I had my last one done while <i>The View</i> was on and it was <i>still</i> a tolerable experience.<br><br><br><br>
Just make sure you get a crown on it after or else do not, I repeat do NOT eat popcorn unless you're willing to pay $3000 for a dental implant to replace your shattered molar thanks to a single unpopped kernel. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/veryangry.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":grr:"><br><br><br><br>
Good luck. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 

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It's not a big deal. I know a dentist who even does them on himself.
 

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*chuckle*<br><br><br><br>
I agree...it's not so bad. I had to get one a few years back because a childhood filling was cracking and the tooth was just a mess. The exam at the dentist hurt like hell, but at the oral surgeon's..I got the gas and was feeling real happy. Afterward, it was mildly sore for maybe 1-2 days, but nothing at all like it was before the rc.
 

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If done properly, and with the proper post-op meds prescribed, it can be absolutely and entirely painless, except for sore chewing muscles from holding your mouth open for a few hours. The fact that it hurts doesn't necessarily mean the treatment is a failure; it could just mean that you weren't adequately anesthesized and not given adequate post-op pain relievers.<br><br><br><br>
De-vitalized teeth are brittle. As jeezycreezy recommended, usually you will want to get a full-crown restoration on a tooth that has had its pulp removed - within about 3 months. It takes a few months for the tooth to get so brittle that it will break very easily. If it gets cracked deep into the root, it will have to be extracted, and all the money you spent on the root canal will be wasted. If just bits of the crown crack off, they can probably still do a full-crown restoration. Depending upon location of the tooth this may or may not involve a post-core to hang the prosthetic crown on.<br><br><br><br>
Since reaching the root canals means basicly that the whole top of some teeth has to be removed, this, in addition to the changes that occur due to lack of a blood supply, contribute to weakening of the tooth, and contributes to making breaks that extend way down into the roots, more likely, even it the tooth weren't brittle. So get a full-crown restoration on it as soon as possible.
 

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jeezycreezy "$3000 implant"<br><br><br><br>
My local dental school is charging only about $2000 for an implant and crown ($800 for the implant and $1200 for special crown for the implant). Still above my means.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks all for your responses! I'm very much relieved.<br><br>
I haven't been to a dentist in over a decade so I think the hardest part was biting on the X-ray at that strange angle (which took five tries).<br><br>
This is lucky #13 (not a molar, not in front) and it's on top which I've heard is a little easier than on the bottom. The procedure is expected to take about an hour. I'm going ahead and getting the gas just becasue I'm so leery of most medicine.<br><br>
This tooth has been bothering me for months... the dentist said it was an abscess but not up to the base of the root.<br><br>
I'd still rather pay an extra month on my mortgage!
 

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"get the gas"<br><br><br><br>
If you mean nitrous oxide - it doesn't usually work too well in adults. I would either get a local anesthetic plus intravenous sedation - and I wouldn't do that unless there was an MD anesthesiologist or nurse anesthestist, in addition to the dentist - or I would get just the local. A really good dentist (they are the exception rather than the rule) will do a good job of numbing you properly, as well as a good job of the endodontic treatment.<br><br><br><br>
I could be mistaken but I think an upper can be numbed more easily than a lower - with a nerve block rather than "infiltration anesthesia." That means less anesthetic for more numbing effect because they place a small amount of lidocaine at the base of a nerve, where lots of branches from lots of pain receptors all meet up, rather than have a large amount spreading over a large area in order to numb a large number of pain receptors (nerve endings). A little bit in one spot numbs a large area. Instead of a lot over a large area to numb a large area. But I could have it backwards.<br><br><br><br>
They can also dump a little more lidocaine right into the tooth after they open it up.<br><br><br><br>
Very few dentists will do the following, but you might want to consider pre-medication with a nice little dose of morphine plus a nice little dose of Valium. They give you some pills about an hour before they start working on you. It is a normal post-op dose of morphine plus about 4 normal doses of Valium. You can remain awake, but are very happy, no matter what happens. You will still need a local anesthetic. If you want you can nap during the more boring parts of the procedure but you will be able to be woken up. You will wake up with loud noises of if someone insists on waking you. You could also look into self-medication in this manner.<br><br><br><br>
My dentist gave me a magnifying mirror to show me how he opened up the whole crown of my molar, exposing the whole floor of the pulp chamber, and I could see the 3 or 4 little holes in the bottom of the pulp chamber that lead into each of the roots. I almost fainted. Even tho I'd seen it before in photographs.<br><br><br><br>
Most people don't realize it, but very often, teeth actually bleed when you (or decay) poke a hole thru the crown, into the pulp chamber. It depends on local blood pressure (dilation and constriction of blood vessels in the area) at the time. My dentist showed me a bleeder. Blood started very slowly seeping out of the tooth, and pooling up, the moment he pulled the tiny bit of cotton away from the hole it was covering. The hole was too small to see, but the blood proved that there was one.<br><br><br><br>
A "root canal procedure" is really 2 procedures. (1) A pulpectomy, or amputation of the large, robust, juicy, and "pulpy" coronal portion of the pulp, and then the tiny pieces of pulp in the tortuously long and narrow "root canals." There is usually at least one canal in each root. Some roots have 2, or even more. And (2) a procedure to seal the apical foramen at each of the root tips, so that mushy-gush from the soft tissues that fill the space between the root and the bone, don't seep into the newly de-pulped tooth, and, decomposing there, influence the hard structure of the tooth (now dead) to decompose. That's right, your endodontically treated tooth is going to be dead as a door nail within an hour or two of having its pulp removed. However a clean dead tooth takes 30 years or more to decompose -- so you'll have it for a long time even tho it is dead. Ever see 30-year old ivory? It is still sort of hard. The peridontal ligaments that penetrate the tooth at one of their ends, and the bone on their other end, are still alive. And they will hold the dead tooth solidly in place, just like they did while it was still alive.<br><br><br><br>
Zombie teeth I call them.
 

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I just couldn't resist adding one more amazing fact about teeth. They are very sensitive and the most sensitve part has no nerves or nerve endings.<br><br><br><br>
The nerves in the pulp do NOT extend into the dentin. "Dentinal tubules" within the dentin are filled with capillaries, and protoplasmic extensions of odontoblast cells, called odontoblast processes, but no nerves. Surrounding the dentinal tubules is a grid of hard calciferous material secreted by the odontoblast processes. Despite having no nerves or nerve endings, dentin is sensitive to heat, cold, and touch, and can be painful if stimulated excessively. That's right, here is someplace where there is sentience, and suffering - but no nerves or nerve endings. And to boot, the dentin can be one of THE most senstive areas of the body. If you heat up the dentin itself, but without raising the temperature of the pulp (where there ARE nerves) - you feel pain. The reason for this is unknown, but one hypothesis is that chemicals produced by the blood vessels or blood or odontoblasts, reach the nerve endings. Nevertheless, it shows that nerves are not always necessary for the sensation of pain. That other sorts of cell chemistry can be responsible for pain, as well as nerve chemistry.<br><br><br><br>
The dentin of the tooth is the ONLY known area of the human body that can feel pain, without having nerves. Interestingly, the part of the dentin <i>furthest</i> away form the nearest nerve endings, at the dentinal-enamel junction, is the most sensitive part of the dentin.
 

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re: nitrous oxide. Where are you getting your information that it doesn't work well, soilman?<br><br><br><br>
It's very commonly used in the Midwestern US, and generally with few side effects.
 

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I didn't say it doesn't work well. I said it usually doesn't work well on adults. It works very well on children, especially pre-adolescents. And it is not usually used as an anesthetic, but as an analgesic. That is, you will get it combined with a local and the local does most of the pain relief, while the N2O is administered for sedation, anxiety relief and relief of any minor residual pain. They have also been finding that it may cause some minor brain damage that can add up if you take it lots of times, and that modern intravenous sedation, such as fentanyl combined with midazolam (Versed a short-acting benzodiazepine; Valium is a longer-acting benzodiazepene) is probably less likely to result in such brain damage. However I wouldn't have these administered by anyone less qualified then a anesthesiologist or nurse anesthesist. N2O is usually adminstered by the dentist, who tries to keep you on the right amount while working on your tooth at the same time. Not the best situation.<br><br><br><br>
My recommendation, if you can't afford an anesthesiologist, yet want to be real comfortable, is, again, to take a bunch of valium or other benzodiazepene pills (3 or 4 normal anti-anixiety doses) and some intra-nasal heroin if you are in England where heroin it is legal, or some morphine pills. Plenty of it. Yes, you will need someone to drive you home. When I had my hernia surgery, most of the patients had a local, plus a shot of meperidine and a 3 normal Valium pills, 45 minutes and 1 hour, respectively, before their surgery . Most of the patients reported being made "very very happy" by this combination, but were able to remain awake - and the demerol was doing most of its work, it was at peak analgesic effect, at 1.5 to 2 hours after dosing - just when their operation was finished (it took 45 minutes), the local was wearing off, and the opioid was needed the most. Thus they didn't need a post-op shot of opioid; they got their opioid BEFORE their surgery. By time it wore off - the major portion of the post-op pain was gone. They just got some Vicodin pills after that, every few hours for a day or three, if they didn't find ibuprofen to be enough.<br><br><br><br>
Personally, it had very little affect on my consciousness. I experienced only about a minute of mild euphoria, BEFORE I was wheeled into the operating room. After that I felt normal again. However I was able to compare the same surgery with and without these working on me: I had my right side hernia done with local anesthetic and no systemic drugs; two days later I had my left side done, with the above-mentioned meperidine and Valium combo. I had a bit of pain during the right-side surgery. Ouch ouch a few times. Nothing excrutiating, just "hey, I feel that and I don't like it" kind of stuff. Not so when I had the meperidine-Valium combo. Then, I was a contented cow no matter what happened, I was happy as a lark and didn't notice any pain at all. Yet I felt no changes in consciousness. I think I could have slept through the operation, if I hadn't found it so interesting, and I didn't want to listen to the music that the surgeon had playing, and criticise his taste in music, and ask all the female doctors, nurses, and surgical technicians, if those lovely gloves were latex or vinyl, and where did they buy them?
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>soilman</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
I didn't say it doesn't work well. I said it usually doesn't work well on adults.</div>
</div>
<br>
Excuse me for not stating those exact words. I thought it would be clear that I was referring to your statement about adults. My question thought still stands..do you have sources to back up your statements about inefficacy, brain damage, etc.<br><br><br><br>
Surely, a widely-used, relatively safe (until proven otherwise) sedative is preferable to using either morphine or Valium, both of which are fairly addictive (and not available without a prescription) or heroin (which is not given here legally, except to recovering addicts).
 

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Iam, there is information about damage to the brain and other health effects in the wikipedia article on <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effects_of_nitrous_oxide_on_the_body" target="_blank">the effects of nitrous oxide on the body</a>. I've heard of some of these effects in relation to it being a drug you can buy and use legally in clubs in the UK, but it does seem to be a safe drug in general.
 

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Yeah. I chose the word "relatively" wrt safety, because every drug (I think) carries some risk of damage/harm to the user. Most of the dangers described in this article, and others is related to either "unregulated" use or repeated exposure. Additionally, I am not convinced the potential harm would be less than that of morphine, Valium, heroin, or Vicadin, all mentioned in sm's previous posts.
 

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Yes, morphine and valium may be helpful in such circumstances as a root canal, but I'd much rather have nitrous administered by a qualified dentist than self-medicate with prescription-only drugs, nice as they may be...
 

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"I'd much rather have nitrous administered by a qualified dentist than self-medicate with prescription-only drugs, nice as they may be..."<br><br><br><br>
If you hunt around you will be able to find a dentist who will medicate you this way. You won't have to "self-medicate." In either case, I am not suggesting that you acquire these drugs without a prescription and take doses larger than the dose prescribed. If you tell your doctor that you are going to have root canal treatment you may well be able to get a prescription to take the needed amount at the needed time. You will not really be self-medicating; you will be taking medication as prescribed.<br><br><br><br>
Again, this is the way I had my second hernia operation, and the drugs were prescribed by the nurse practitioner who worked with my surgeon, for "pre-operative anxiety control" and as "pre-operative dosing for expected post-op pain." They give this combination of drugs to most hernia surgery patients. You will also find some dentists that will do the same thing. If not, you may be able to get a prescription from an md for pre-op anxiety control and post-op pain. Of course you should inform your dentist of what you are taking. If he does decide to give you some N2O, it could affect the amount he needs to use.
 

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"I've heard of some of these effects in relation to it (nitrous oxide) being a drug you can buy and use legally in clubs in the UK, but it does seem to be a safe drug in general."<br><br><br><br>
Aaak. I don't think recreational use of n2o is a very good idea. It needs to be administered in measured quantities by someone else, not by yourself, because its affects include loss of ability to recognize whether you are taking a safe dose or not. It has a short term of action so dentists admininister it continually as long as it is needed and it stops working within minutes of inhalation being stopped. It should never be taken alone, without oxygen! That definitly risks brain damage from oxygen deprivation!!!! I can't believe it is legal to use in "clubs." That is insane. I've never heard of n2o being prescribed for self-dosing. It is always administered by an anesthesiologist, nurse anesthesised, md, or dentist. Drug stores don't stock it. Dentists get it from dental supply companies.
 
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