A mild discomfort that I ignored for some time finally led to a dental exam, specifically an x-ray that showed clearly -- clearly enough for even the untrained eye like mine to see -- that tooth #18 was in trouble. If I didn't have a root canal it would have to come out leaving a gap in my lower left jaw.
I've had a couple of root canal operations in the hazy past. I remember they caused little pain and cost much money. So it was to be with this one since, when I called the recommended endodontist, he had a cancellation yesterday morning. So it was done quickly and fairly painlessly -- painless after five or six injections. I do not know why, when I am sewing and frequently pick up a pinned piece of fabric, sticking myself, the pain of that pin prick doesn't bother me, but a hypodermic needle injecting novacaine or stuck into a vein to draw blood is a mini trauma.
As I lay back with my mouth open and a rubber dam isolating the tooth for the dentist's drills, I picturedd that x-ray showing the nerves inside the tooth where I knew that drill was aimed. Apparently there was calcification around the nerves that had to be dug out. I knew that what I saw on a screen at least 12x12 was far larger than what the good dentist was working on. I distracted myself by thinking of his work as exquisite plumbing. Cleaning out a tiny conduit of unwanted blockage, and stopping it up when he was done so it could exist there in my mouth available for a kind of passive use, as all teeth are when we chew. The mind after all, has to do something when the body is immobile. I thought of various sinks, kitchen, bathroom, I have had and either unstopped myself or had to have unstopped by a professional. Plumbers are an important group of tradesmen within our world, they are paid well. And endodontists are not necessarily more important but far more delicate in what they do, their instruments are very complex. This particular endodontist was personable, informative and, best of all, worked without causing pain. I wish all people everywhere could have access to such skill when they have the need.
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