Home > Uncategorized > My New Refrigerator is in My Mouth

My New Refrigerator is in My Mouth

Figuratively speaking, of course. 

I mean that the money that would have gone for the purchase of a new fridge instead went to pay for a root canal.  Which of course sucks, but it could have been much worse.

For one thing, I had no pain – at least not in the past 2 years.  I’m guessing that’s when the tooth died.  The dentist overbuilt the crown that was put on it two years ago, which caused too much pressure on the tooth, which killed the nerve – though at the time it was misdiagnosed as merely being “inflamed” and was, at the time, very painful for a few days.  But then the pain stopped and so it was assumed that the problem was resolved.  Lots of weirdness in the interim, though – for example, for the past two years, I’ve been able to feel that nerve by pressing on my face.  It didn’t hurt, but…that ain’t normal.  Also, I’ve had a recurrent sensation of having a sinus polyp or some kind of blockage in the sinuses on that side of my face, which probably was the result of an abcess.

I only detected what was going on Wednesday evening.   I was resting my face on my hand and discovered a hard knot in my cheek – definitely abnormal.  I ran my finger along the top gumline and discovered a huge abcess on the order of 1/2″ – 1″ long but still completely painless.  So off to the dentist I went on Thursday.  He of course immediately put me on antibiotics and set up the procedure for this morning.  And a good thing, too – I was so sick Thursday evening and Friday that I must have gotten in just before the infection really exploded.  I had been feeling a little punky for a week or so, really tired in the evening and a bit achy and feverish, like I was coming down with a cold or something, but nothing ever materialized.  It’s actually a good thing that I managed to detect the thing, since it wasn’t causing any pain – otherwise, I would have been really sick by Friday with no clue as to what the problem was.  Even with having started the antibiotics, I slept 14 hours solid on Friday night and was still tired when I finally got up the next day.

In any case, the root canal got done today, and it wasn’t bad at all – you don’t have pain when the tooth is dead; at most there’s the discomfort of sitting in the chair with your mouth cranked open wide for an hour or so, but even that wasn’t all that bad.  Of course, as luck would have it, I have extremely long roots on my teeth, according to the dentist.  He said he’d never seen an abcess that size on anyone who wasn’t having pain.  They gave me a prescription for pain medication but I haven’t filled it and won’t need to – I’m not having any pain and only very minimal swelling, so this thing should be a closed chapter when I finish up the antibiotics.   I am still really tired though; as soon as I wrap this up, I’m about to head back to the couch for another nap. 

So yeah, it sucks that the new fridge is going to have to be put off for quite a few more months, but at least the old one is still working fine – it’s just ugly and the icemaker hasn’t worked for several years now.  But considering that 100 years ago I might well have died from this thing, it’s definitely an outcome I can live with.

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  1. BDay
    October 19, 2010 at 11:56 am

    Glad you caught it before you got sicker. I’m headed back this afternoon for a crown replacement myself. I’ve spent over $2,000 in two weeks at the dentist, between me and the kids — one of whom had to have a new retainer. But I’m one of the lucky ones. I’ll get maybe half of that back through dental insurance.

  2. October 19, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    Yikes, dentists and their lifestyles! Why must we suffer!! Rest up J, Mikey tells me that corn squeezin’s are good for mouth infections

  3. StringonaStick
    October 23, 2010 at 11:07 am

    Good on ya for detecting the lump yourself, you very likely saved yourself from the stunning level of pain that occurs once the abscess becomes critical after it can no longer drain. This will sound extra yucky so the fainter of heart should skip the rest of this comment, but an abscess won’t hurt as long as the exudate (good ol’ fashioned pus, but with a nicer name) is draining into your mouth from the hole up in your cheek where the root tip(s) is. Once the infection gets really rolling the next likely event is for that drain to get plugged; this is when the pain becomes so extreme you are ready to amputate your head. Then the next bit of fun is how much you’ll pay for the emergency weekend visit to the dentist to get diagnosed and get the antibiotics that will make you hold off on that above the neck amputation.

    So, by finding the lump yourself before the weekend (which seems to be when these things aways go DefCon 1), you saved enough in order to wait just a few months to get that new fridge, instead of it being 6 to 8 months longer. Congratulations!

    • jennofark
      October 23, 2010 at 1:03 pm

      Eh…I’m not so sure about that. I don’t think the thing was draining; hence its size. Certainly there was no visible sign of drainage nor anything I could detect (foul taste or odor) during the whole time this thing must have been developing, though I suppose it’s possible it managed to punch through into the sinuses and drain there. I think it’s more likely that I would have become septic (as I think I was on the verge anyway) before there was ever any pain, which would have been the worst possible outcome – a weekend trip to the ER with a diagnosis of “we don’t know what’s going on” and many thousands of dollars in medical bills if in fact I lived through it. People still DO die from stuff like this, either because the infection breaks through into the brain or sets up shop in the heart valves or becomes a raging systemic infection. All of which is way more creepy than having some nasty pus draining into your mouth.

      All I know is…I haven’t felt as bad as I did a week ago in many, many, many years, and have been generally exhausted this past week, so the infection had spread pretty far and wide. I’ve been on 800+ mg of amoxicillian twice daily since, with my last dosage due this evening, and the abcess is much smaller but still there. So I’m guessing they will be sending me back to refill the prescription on Monday. From here on out, I’m going to do regular physical inspections of the gums so hopefully I never have anything like this again that goes this far before it’s discovered. This thing was so high up along the gum, where the gum meets the cheek, that I couldn’t even detect it when brushing and flossing.

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