Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Drug-Induced Rambling

Yesterday afternoon, just as my tooth/face/neck pain was hitting truly unpleasant levels, I had my appointment with the dentist. The upshot is, I have an infection in my jaw below the root of my back molar. The dentist thinks it originated in the tooth, and the first order of business is to clear it up with antibiotics. I am now on erythromycin.

Healing that infection should ease the pain over the next few days, but it won't solve the problem -- the dentist said the infection, given time, would simply come back. Whatever's going on in the tooth would essentially recontaminate my jaw. So I have a root canal scheduled for Jan. 30 and Feb. 13 (apparently it takes two visits?), and the tooth will be crowned. No more gold inlay.

(Maybe I can make an earring out of it?)

I'm a bit curious about how the crown is going to work, since, as I recall, the dentist who created the inlay 10 years ago seemed to think too much of the tooth had been removed by earlier drilling to make a crown practical. But clearly something has to be done, and I'm willing to take the risk. If worse comes to worst, they can just pull the whole thing.

Meanwhile, I am on pain meds. Yesterday, aspirin stopped working. So my boss gave me an Aleve, and that little blue pill was freaking wonderful. When I went to the drugstore, I asked for my very own bottle of Aleve -- but the pharmacist informed me I can't buy that painkiller over the counter in the UK. Instead he recommended Nurofen with codeine (!) which apparently I can (and did) buy over the counter.

It's all very mysterious. Bottom line: Hopefully I am on the mend and this root canal odyssey won't be too much of a nightmare. I've never had a root canal, so this will be a whole new experience for me.

In other news: Why, you are probably wondering, have I posted this picture of an aluminum can?

Because, look closely at that can. It bears a very old logo for Diet Pepsi -- one that I haven't seen in decades. And it also has a pull tab, not a pop-top.

That can, which I spotted along the LOOP while I was walking in a West London park on Saturday, has got to be about 35 years old, if not more. I don't know about you, but I find that impressive. I didn't pick it up, but I did send a picture of it to my brother, who used to collect soda cans when he was a kid. (I blogged about his collection here.) "How long has it been since you've seen one of these bad boys?" I asked him. (Can a diet soda be a "bad boy," or is it inherently goody-goody? Anyway...)

"Ha! That's pretty crazy. Old can!" he replied, and sent a picture of the same type of can in his collection, which is now housed on special shelves in his garage.

As a former beer can collector myself, not to mention a trash geek, I found it all pretty interesting and blogworthy. Plus I'm high on codeine, so you'll have to excuse me.

(Top photo: A winter dawn in West Hampstead.)


Yorkshire Pudding said...

I am not sure that I am prepared to continue visiting the blog of a self-confessed drug addict! Does The Root Canal connect with The Grand Union Canal?

Jennifer said...

I've had 3 or 4 root canals and honestly, they weren't bad at all. And I've had infection in the root of a tooth just like you, and it's very painful. Good luck! I hope you feel better soon!

John Going Gently said...

watch that infection....seriously
we used to get a few tooth abscesses on ITU
infections that get a tooth hold as it was...

John Going Gently said...

oh dear apologies for being so negative

crafty cat corner said...

No worries on the root canal. I've had them and crowns, no problems.
Better than having tooth ache.

Ms. Moon said...

Yes. It will all be okay and I'm so glad you got to see the dentist. I had a similar situation, it sounds like, a few years ago and ended up getting the tooth pulled and an implant put in which is fine.
Glad you got some good drugs! How odd that you can't buy Aleve OTC but can get codeine. Weird.

Marty said...

After the ongoing pain you've been having, the root canal should be a breeze. Although before my own one and only root canal I couldn't shake the memory of the way people would refer to the procedure: "I'd rather have a root canal than visit Aunt Mabel, etc." As it turned out, it was just a little boring, sitting there while they fiddled away in my mouth.
Codeine, huh? Party on!

Vivian said...

Oh! I want to live on Dornfell Street, in that house, and sit in that front room with a gin and tonic and listen to the BBC on the wireless, or whatever it is that English people do during at quiet cocktail hour at home in January. That's my favorite photo so far this year, because it makes me homesick for a home I don't even have. I love that time of day. I bet you stood for a moment or two, drinking in that quintessential London view, and wondered what were the odds of you having wandered so far away from Florida.

Linda d said...

They get rid of the root with a fantastic little bristle brush, take the tooth down to a nub and then have the crown made for it. No biggie except for the cost (at least over here in the US)

Red said...

Teeth are a big pain when things go wrong. I've had one root canal and it was very successful.
Now I have never seen a Pepsi can with that design. I guess they didn't use that design in Canada.

Anonymous said...

I've had root canals and they are long, boring processes, but not particularly painful. Glad you're going to have it done and save what's left of the tooth. Good luck with all of it. And, very cool old can you found there.

Sharon said...

That diet Pepsi can is amazing. It looks brand new like someone drank it and tossed the can just this last week. I hope they didn't drink it last week, old canned soda tastes awful. I don't envy you with that pending root canal. However, I'm sure it will be a success. I can't believe you can buy pain relievers with codeine over the counter but not Alieve.

ellen abbott said...

root canals take two appointments. one to take an impression for the the crown and drill out the root and get a temporary crown. one to seat the permanent crown. if that antibiotic is the one a dentist gave me before he would do some work on an old root canal, it gave me the worst hives of my life! head to toe.

Catalyst said...

We find it amazing that you can't buy Aleve over the counter in the U.K. but you can buy codeine! Strange.

The Bug said...

I think the reason that my tooth isn't bothering me these days is because I take daily painkillers (just an NSAID - no codeine here!). I really should go have something done with the thing so I can get off of those!

I'll bet my mother drank hundreds of those Diet Pepsis back in the day. Ha!

jenny_o said...

I've had five root canals and five crowns and can I just say I'm happy dentistry has progressed to the point where they are even possible, they're pain free and they save teeth! My father told me about having an abscessed tooth pulled back in the forties - the doctor (who did dentistry on the side) came to the house, my grandfather held my father down, and that tooth came out courtesy of pliers and no freezing! So no matter how long or boring or even uncomfortable those appointments may be, a root canal is better than that :)

Glad you are on your way to having it dealt with. And like everyone else here, I'm amazed that Aleve is restricted and codeine isn't! It's the other way around here.

37paddington said...

trash geek! there's a word for it! oh, steve, i feel your pain. i too will have a crown installed this month, and other work besides. Yes, take care of that tooth for sure. I should let you know that my husband's heart issues began with an infected access under a tooth that was left untreated and went to his heart. Our teeth are connected to our entire bodies via blood supply. My man has a very high pain threshold, and so it was only when the infection went to his spine, and the pain COULD NOT be ignored, that everything came to light. I am a convert--teeth must be attended to. Glad you're doing that.

37paddington said...

Like John above, sorry for being so dire.

Lesley UK said...

Hey you I only have two missing teeth, upper right and left at the top (don't know what they are called). But a few years ago they started to become loose out myself with no pain. I always had 6 months check and clean. which was wonderful (all on the NHS) but then I had a new dentist (at the same practice) who seemed more interested in the ring I was wearing. 'Are those real diamonds he asked. 'I hope so' I replied. (It was given to me my someone who thought nothing of giving a 2 ct diamond). It wasn't exactly an engagement ring. He also wanted to enrol my 13 year old daughter in a school. (where he was a governor) He lived in an apartment in the centre of London. Breakfast was always vodka from his freezer with caviar from the Savoy. He wanted to marry me. And to this day I don't know why I said 'no' . I still have all the black, fire. and other opal jewellery he bought me, and I would never part with them. Goodness, tis has gone way off topic, but on the million to one chance that he reads this. Richard I really did want to marry you, but at the time my career as a newspaper editor seemed to be more important. You wanted me to give it up. (I refused and that's the worst decision I ever made in my life/ WOW! didn't mean to write this, but you caught me at a weak moment. Sorry, delelete if you want.

Iris said...

I wonder why it would take two visits to do the root canal. Maybe your dentist just wants to ensure that the infection has gone down before he does any final work. As long as there is enough of the tooth left to make a little stump, a crown can be popped on top of it. Nowadays crowns should all be ceramic and will look like a real tooth. Awesome sauce!

Having had root canals done before, I know that sometimes an infection won't completely go down and bone loss in the jaw can occur that makes an empty space that cannot be left untreated. But not to worry! I had this happen once. My endodontist simply made a small cut in the gums and going in from that side clipped off the tip of the root that continued to give problems. It was a short and quick procedure. Then the whole area did heal, the space filled in with new bone material and now, nearly 10 years later, I still have the tooth and I still want to kiss my endodontist's feet. Well. Not really. But you know what I mean.

Steve Reed said...

YP: I'm sure when I have that root canal performed, it will FEEL like the Grand Union Canal!

Jennifer: Thanks! Glad to know you came through a similar situation successfully!

John: No apology needed! I wish my previous dentist had caught it last month when I went in to have my tooth pain checked out. But at least now we're taking care of it.

Briony: Good to know! ANYTHING is better than this toothache.

Ms M: Yeah, I don't get the Aleve thing at all. I wonder if it just hasn't been studied here or the maker hasn't applied for OTC availability (hard to believe).

Marty: I know! When I was younger people talked about root canals like they were the pinnacle of pain. I think maybe they used to be worse and dentistry has improved since then.

Vivian: Thanks! I love that photo too! Although it was morning, so a bit early for cocktail hour. :)

Linda deV: Yeah, the cost isn't pretty. But at this point I'd pay almost anything to MAKE THE PAIN GO AWAY.

Red: Maybe not! Or maybe you just didn't buy Diet Pepsi?

Robin: Yeah, I feel like I should do my best to save the tooth, even if it IS compromised.

Sharon: I can't either. And the codeine pain reliever says on the box: "MAY CAUSE ADDICTION," or something like that. So it's not like we're not aware of the dangers!

Ellen: Well, the dentist wanted to give me amoxycillin, but I'm allergic to penicillin (a sister drug) so he opted for erythromycin. Maybe you got one of the "-cillins" and you're allergic too?

Catalyst: Believe me, it is an utter mystery to me, too!

Bug: It's definitely worth doing something about it. As others have pointed out here, unchecked dental infections can have dire effects on other parts of your body.

Jenny-O: Dave and I have talked about that. Can you imagine how horrible it would be to have this happen back in the Middle Ages? I mean, what would we do? Pull the tooth, I suppose, and hope for the best. But I suppose you could die from a dental infection that went untreated, and it would be a miserable death, too.

37P: You think "trash geek" has staying power? Have I single-handedly coined a new term? LOL! I did not realize your husband's issues began in his teeth, but I remember reading years ago that dental infections can lead to heart valve issues. It's strange how our bodies work! Don't worry about being dire. I was a medical writer. I can handle it. :)

Lesley: That is quite a story! I think I need to have you guest-author a blog post one of these days. :)

Iris: Well, waiting for the infection to heal apparently IS an imperative -- that's what we're doing now. But even after that, it takes two visits, at least here. I think it's sometimes like Ellen said above -- a two-step process -- though I'm pretty sure people in the states often have it all done in one go. Interesting how your endodontist handled that complication! My dentist told me he would refer me to a specialist if need be.