Emergency Root Canal

For the past few weeks I've been dealing with chronic jaw pain. My mom has TMJ and I think I've inherited her habit of clenching my jaw when I'm stressed. It usually comes and goes, but after all the dental work I had last month it came back - and stayed. I've been trying to manage it as best I can with OTC pain meds but I've been in virtually constant pain for 2-3 weeks now. Last week I started feeling pain in my upper and lower jaw on the left side. It was mild at first, and I went to Target to get the toothpaste & mouthwash for sensitive teeth (as well as a night guard to wear so I wouldn't grind my teeth all night.)

Didn't help. I stared using orajel almost hourly. Finally, the tooth/gum pain seemed to go away (jaw pain there, as always) but I started getting random waves of intense pain in my teeth. I could breathe through it, but it was pretty horrible. Come Monday the pain didn't come in waves, it just stayed, and was now centralized to my front left tooth (the other front tooth had a root canal done years ago.)

I somehow managed to pull it together to go on my 8 mile run yesterday despite every step sending shooting pain into that tooth. When I got home I knew I needed to get into a dentist asap. I called the dentist who did my crowns at Bay Dental Solutions and he squeezed me in that morning.

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10 minutes into being there answering his questions in the chair and I just broke down crying. He offered to shoot my mouth up with Novocaine on the spot just to get the pain to stop but I told him it wasn't so much the pain, as a combination of everything. I know he felt so bad for me and said he could do the root canal himself, but because of the crown I just had put on he recommended I go see a specialist. The hygienist called the specialist and they were also nice enough to squeeze me in right away so I dried my tears and sped over to the new dentist.

Guy's a beast. I know I was in good hands when I saw this photo of him at his graduation in the lobby.

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He took more Xrays and said that they were actually inconclusive, but given my symptoms and history of facial trauma that a root canal was the way to go. Basically, that original accident likely caused tiny fractures in my teeth and the one's in my front tooth were irritated by all the dental work I had done recently. He also warned me that this will be an ongoing issue for the rest of my life.


I mentioned I knew I needed to come in after I had to take orajel with me on the run this morning. He said he couldn't believe I was even able to run with the pain I was in.

Doctor-man, pain is part of running.

The root canal was as bad as I remembered the first one being. The best part was having to sit around for 25 minutes waiting for the chemicals to dissolve the remainder of my root. They leaned my chair back and turned on these little massage things. I took a photo. I resembled an iconic movie character.

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Now, I'm on antibiotics, steroids & pain meds. Life is feeling pretty good right now! Minus my elevated anger levels & raging appetite.