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8:58am on Friday, 3rd December, 2010:

Pain to Come


I have a dental appointment this afternoon. It's the last appointment of the day, because the dentist doesn't know how long it will take but it'll be at least 90 minutes. The time it starts is 2:30, which as every schoolchild knows is the time all dental appointments should be at ("tooth hurty").

The reason it's going to take this long is because my tooth implant dentist finally identified the (literally) root cause of the problems I've been having with my upper left 2 (the one he implanted). The problems are because my upper left 3 is misbehaving. It needs root canal work to fix it. Unfortunately, it's the leading tooth of a bridge that skips a gap where my upper left 4 should be and connects to my upper left 5. The part of the bridge on the upper left 3 is entirely loose, the cement having been destroyed by blood working its way down the tooth to attack it. the part of the bridge on the upper left 5 is more solid. Personally, I think it would come off given a good tug, as does my implant dentist, but my regular dentist (who is the one who will be doing the surgery) doesn't think it will. She's planning either to saw off the front part of the bridge then stick it back on after she's done the work on the tooth, or she may drill through the bridge to gain access to the tooth. The part of the bridge over that tooth has a metal cap to it (which is why X-rays weren't picking anything up), and it's loose, so I'm really hoping she doesn't try drilling her way through.

Upper left 3 is the longest tooth in my head. The dentist was elated to find she could work on it: it meant she could use her 35mm drill, which she is very proud to own. Root canal work is her favourite part of dentistry. The end of root canal work is my favourite part...

The worst part of this kind of surgery is not, however, the injections nor the drilling nor even the pain when the anaesthetic wears off: it's the tedium. I'll be lying in a dental chair for the length of a football match with nothing to do. Like the drill, it's boring. If there were a TV screen on the ceiling, that would help; it doesn't have to be a TV, just a screen — a projected picture from the floor would avoid any risk of having it come down on a patient's head. As it is, I'll just be looking at the bits of blu-tac left on the ceiling where the poster of Luncheon of the Boating Party used to be before it fell off.

Then, when I get out, I'll be driving through snowy Colchester at rush hour with the left side of my face numb.

Wish me luck...

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