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So I had my visit with the endodontist yesterday afternoon. I’ve been to him before with other teeth that needed root canals.

I won’t go into the painful details, but let’s just say the appointment didn’t go well. This root canal, as I discussed in my previous post, is a couple of decades old. Way back in them olden days, they did the procedure a bit differently than they do today. Today, after cleaning out the tooth roots, they fill them with a sealer paste and a rubber compound called gutta percha. When I had this dental work done, instead of gutta percha, they cemented in metal rods that extended the length of the root.

We spent an hour and a half drilling and pounding and pulling, but the metal rods in the tooth would not loosen and would not come out. The endodontist first drilled through the crown, then finally took the crown completely off to try to get access. Nothing worked.

So now (after 90 minutes of stress and pain and $500 later) I have a tooth (without a crown), stuffed with some medication and sealed with cement and am looking at getting it extracted tomorrow morning. Not the way I want to start my Friday.

That’s just the beginning. After I heal up, then we have decisions to make on bridges vs. implants or just having a hole in my mouth (which isn’t the best idea).

On top of it all is the emotional impact. I had an aunt who used to proudly declare that she had all of her own teeth. Growing up in an era before fluoride was added to water, and in depression-era lack of dental care, that was quite a statement. And while I’ve lost bits and pieces of myself over the years — from tonsils and my appendix to major joints — there’s some kind of mental line that’s crossed in losing a tooth.

Sometimes the only way through something is through it, so that’s where I’m at today. I’m out of viable options. Thankfully, I’ve got a good dentist. And since he’s the one who did the root canal initially, it’s only fitting that he is the one to “dispose” of it after all these years.

Hope the news that started your day is happier than what I had. Thanks for checking in.

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