THE WHOLE TOOTH  how my health went to hell

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The Next Generation

Thursday, July 15, 1999

Since the dentists at the Dental Clinic were only able to give me temporary fillings, I had to look for a regular dentist to fill up the cavities in my teeth for good. This became a matter of some urgency when on Tuesday, July 13, the top from one of the fillings fell out and the tooth started to ache whenever I bit down on something.

Since by now I consider one dentist like the other (i.e. they are all more or less likely to make unpredictable mistakes), I chose one who was close to home, Dr. Seewald. Initially, I only wanted to ask for an appointment for the following day, but as it happened, another patient had just canceled, therefore freeing the dentist to schedule me in, short-term.

The doctor was very friendly, but then she took an x-ray of the entire jaw and when she saw the result, she became very serious. Apparently, a cavity had been forming right underneath the filling of my upper rightmost molar (tooth 17). She showed me the hole on the x-ray and it looked rather bad, extremely close to the nerve. This would have to be taken care of as soon as possible.

The procedure of replacing the other filling was uneventful -- but the tooth will eventually require a gold crown.

Tuesday, July 20, 1999

The appointment to open up tooth number 17 was at 9:30 a.m., practically in the middle of the night. I was not too alarmed since the other procedure had gone so well.

Dr. Seewald removed the filling and her face began to get tense. Something was wrong, I sensed and got tense, too. Apparently, the hole in my tooth was bleeding profusely and she couldn't tell whether it was the nerve or some flesh from the gums which had grown into the hole.

She took some fear away from me by talking me through what she was doing. Still, I was terrified. Dr. Seewald cleaned out the hole, filled the tooth with a temporary filling (this tooth would have to be covered with a gold crown) and had an x-ray made of the results, to see whether she had hit the nerve after all and whether the filling covered everything.

The result looked dubious -- she wasn't quite sure how to interpret the image -- from all appearances, the root had remained intact; the blood and tissue she extracted from the hole must have come from the gums.

Back at work, around noon, the numbness of the injection faded away and I faced, once again, white hot pain, as I hadn't known it in a while. To put it another way: I didn't sense the pain in my left upper jaw at all at this point; the new pain overrode anything else. A colleague gave me some ibuprofen to relieve the pain, but it wasn't doing much good - I couldn't concentrate on my work at all.

After a while, I decided there was no use in trying to ignore the pain and I called the doctor. I rode back to the dentist's practice. Apparently, I didn't look too good. They gave me another anesthetic in the upper right-hand jaw, had me recline and tried to stabilize my circulation. Apparently, they were worried I might faint -- even though I told them I never fainted ever before in my life.

The doctor wanted to know what kind of pain I was feeling: Sharp pain, like being stuck with a needle, or a pulsing ache. It was an ache. Then she opened the filling again and placed some medicine inside before closing it again. She suggested I should go back to work instead of dwelling on the pain. The psychosomatic angle again...

So back to work I went, until two hours later, the injection faded into nothingness and the pain was back, if not quite as unbearable as before. Thus, I headed back to the dentist's practice.

Dr. Seewald offered me another anesthetic, which I declined, injected a sedative balm into my gums and gave me the bad news.

At this point, she couldn't tell whether she had accidentally hit the nerve -- since the tooth had bled a lot when she opened the filling -- or whether the nerve was just overreacting since she had gotten so close to it. The second x-ray seemed to show that the nerve hadn't been touched, but she couldn't be sure.

The relevance of this doubt being: If the pain didn't decrease significantly over the course of the next hours, she could either do a root canal or pull the tooth altogether. A root canal would be difficult, she noted, because the tooth was not very accessible. Since the mere act of opening my mouth as wide as possible was causing me pain, she didn't know whether it wouldn't be better to just extract the tooth. Of course, this would leave me without another molar (after all, tooth 26 was extracted by Dr. Dietrich in June 1997).

I drove home and I went "aaarrrgh". Another lose-lose situation.

To boot, the pain felt rather similar to the one I experienced two years earlier (give or take a month).

Wednesday, July 21, 1999

I eventually found some sleep after drinking some whiskey. FYI: That one bottle lasted a year. I didn't sleep too well that night, but when I got up on Wednesday, the pain wasn't that bad, either.

As I slowly woke up, the pain gradually increased. I decided to pay another visit to the doctor. She gave me yet another anesthetic, opened the filling, inserted some more medicine and mixed the filling with some extract of clove. As a result, the critical zone stayed more or less numb throughout the day. For two days, everything tasted of clove and all insects avoided me like the plague.

Since Dr. Seewald was going on her yearly vacation for three weeks, she gave me my x-rays, expressed her deep uneasiness about the whole situation (paraphrasing: "This kind of situation is very uncomfortable for a dentist as well; we're human after all...") and let me go.

The pain was no longer a pounding ache, but sharp and spiky. It also climbed up into the jaw - possibly to the same place where the other pain had gone. It decreased over the following days, getting better in the morning and gradually worsening in the evening hours, peaking whenever I was stressed out or very exhausted.

Summing up the situation: From appearances alone, I would claim I now have the same pain in the upper right-hand jaw which I am feeling in my left-hand jaw since 1997.

This is a bad thing.

The results of Dr. Seewald's treatment aren't pretty.

Next: Living with the Consequences >

Previously: A Whole New Ball Game <

You are here: Hell On Earth / Health / The Whole Tooth / The Next Generation

"The Continuing Health Crisis" is an 100% true account of MOATMAI's health problems. It is intended to keep all friends and enemies informed about his current status. The Whole FAQ.

First Visit? You might want to check out the summary before continuing.

Current Status: The root canal, it is done. The tooth is dead. And the pain? Well...

The whole mess began in June, 1997. The Whole Tooth starts here.

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This Section Last Updated: 2002/01/02

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