Pill Popper

So it turns out that my root canal appointment this week was actually just a consultation, where I paid $150 for an endodontist to poke my tooth with a frozen Q-tip and confirm that That Really Hurts.

We all agreed that a root canal was in order, but they couldn’t book me in until March 29. I was rather concerned about this because it meant six more weeks of continuous pain medication, after already taking Tylenol or Advil (or, I shamefully admit here, some of each) on a regular 4-hour schedule for three weeks. It was as if the groundhog saw his shadow and decided to spend the rest of his hibernation at the pharmacy.

I rarely take any kind of medication so all these pills going in me are having a noticeable effect. I’m simultaneously exhausted and wired, so I’m too tired to do anything, yet unable to sleep. I’m constantly worried that my insides are bleeding out and that I’ll have to go through some terrible withdrawal when it’s all over. When the four-hour mark rolls around, I feel it in my tooth, but also my head starts aching and I feel nauseous. I am jonesing for my fix – not good.

So I called over there yesterday and begged them to see me earlier, before I have to start knocking over drugstores to support my habit:

Me (banana creating gun-like tenting in my pocket): Give me Tylenol AND Advil! And throw in that packet of cough drops!
Pharmacist: Sure, that will be $12.97.
Me: Oh. Okay. Here you go.

Thankfully they had had a cancellation and could get me in for this coming Thursday afternoon, where hopefully they will make things better. Because when you have half your head frozen and spend an hour and a half with your mouth open so they can drill out all four roots of your tooth, what can possibly go wrong? After that, Tylenol withdrawal will surely be a breeze!

That’s just step one in the Root Canal process, though. They put in a temporary filling, and weeks later you have to come back to have it replaced. The temp filling tastes and smells like cloves and it’s squishy when you chew and generally gross. I’m looking forward to an Easter dinner of pudding and applesauce.

And then a while after getting the permanent filling, you have to have a crown put on, for a total cost of around $2000.

Still, I guuuuuuess it’s better than having a plumber come over to pull it out. Although…it sure would cost a lot less. And be faster. Six of one?

10 thoughts on “Pill Popper

  1. CapnPlanet

    I’m surprised you haven’t indicated any apprehension about the pain that is reputedly associated with having a root canal. Maybe I’ve been missing the point — maybe it’s the pain that goes before the root canal that everyone’s always talking about (certainly that’s the case here).

    So if it makes you feel any better, I had a root canal last year and it was surprisingly easy – I got the mondo painkillers but I don’t think I had to use them at all. There was very little pain after the surgery.

    1. Sad to say, this is actually not my first root canal. I cracked a tooth about 10 years ago and it could not be saved. I know from experience that the pre-root canal pain is MUCH worse than the after. I’m actually looking forward to it (well, not it exactly, but the after.) I’m off now, wish me luck!

  2. This is where I don’t tell you that I had a root canal (back then it only cost about $1,500) but then I developed a fistula which necessitated a trip to the periodontist ($900). The periodontist said “this is one of those times you’d like to ask god what’s happening because I can’t see anything wrong.” Really?!?! Even if you think that, don’t say it!

    So he charged me $900 to open up my gum, clean it out and close it up again. Fistula returned six months later. At which point I was offered another exploratory root-canal type operation or a return to the periodontist.

    I decided to get my good old dependable dentist to rip out the tooth with his bare hands for $140 and you know what? I hardly know it’s gone. However, I never thought I’d already have teeth missing before I was 40!

    Don’t worry though Lynn – I took that one for the team. Yours will go fine!

    1. CapnPlanet

      Heh, yeah, make sure you don’t tell her that. Oh wait…

      Don’t you hate it when medical professionals say shit that completely reveals that they’re far from omnipotent? I remember the first time I gave blood, I put pressure a little off-center from the wound, and it started bleeding into the muscle until there was a big bulb of fluid. The nurse came over and said “wow, I’ve never seen that before”. Yeah, like I need to hear you say THAT. WTF.

    2. I have to say, I have really been wondering why I am bothering with the root canal when having it pulled seems so much easier and less invasive. We’ll see how this one goes but root canals are definitely ON NOTICE.

  3. Fiona

    Hi Lynn,

    I’ve also had a root canal and having it done was certainly much better than living with a rotten tooth. You can take acetaminophen and ibuprofen together; in fact that was recommended to me by a pharmacist because together they work synergistically and you’ll get much better pain relief than if you took them on a ‘rotating’ schedule. The temporary filling also wasn’t too bad. I still have problems with that tooth though when I my sinuses get backed up, so keep a Neti pot handy! Good luck, you’ll be feeling better soon.

    1. A nurse told me I could take the two of them together after I had my C-section, so I did it then but I always thought it was some kind of back door medication abuse so I’ve been keeping it to myself. Good to know it is pharmacy endorsed! It definitely makes a huge difference taking them together…mmmm…drugs.

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