Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

Dental trauma #863

Happy New Year.  I have been home for a few days.  I’m still not 100% unpacked.  Maybe today.

I had to go to the dentist on Saturday morning for the next step in the latest dental trauma.  They are replacing the crown that came off while I was in Mexico.  The problem was getting the crown off again, since the Mexican dentist seems to have done a pretty good job gluing it on (probably with some adhesive that’s illegal to sell in the US because it’s also used to kill rats in science labs.)  To remove the crown, he first had to give me about ten injections of novocaine, because it’s on a live tooth.  Then he used a grinder to cut down a groove in the porcelain and metal of the crown and a sort of dentist’s prybar to then wedge apart the crown until the seal broke and he could pry it loose.

Two issues with this:  first, it’s a tooth at the very back of my mouth, which involves forcing open the jaw at an unnatural angle for a long period of time.  Second, the sounds and vibrations associated with the cutting and prying are far from ideal for a person with dental anxiety and unnatural fears of teeth being pulled or falling out.  Short of getting my wisdom teeth pulled while under a local (and then having the dimwit break a tooth off and send me across town to an emergency oral surgery to get the other half of the tooth removed), this is pretty far up the list of bad dental experiences.

They got a temp crown on there and sent me on my way, feeling like I’d just got out of a bad Guantanamo Bay talk session.  After a few hours, my jaw started chattering uncontrollably, as some weird side effect of the shots wearing off.  And then, my jaw started hurting horribly, mostly from trying to fight to keep it open.  It still hurts today, although it’s not as bad as yesterday.  The main problem is I have to now limit my diet a bit for the next week, avoiding anything that could pull loose the temp crown, or get stuck in between teeth back in that corner.  I didn’t eat all day yesterday, but eventually had a vegetarian pad thai that seemed to work okay.

Next up: a root canal in the tooth next to this one has to be redone; it has some kind of infection at the very tip of the root.  This was a root canal done back in Seattle, in 1997 or 1998.  There’s a bit of strange nostalgia about that.  The endodontist I went to back then had an office in Northgate, just a skip south of Silver Platters records, which was my second home when I lived there.  I have no idea how I afforded a root canal and a biweekly trip to buy new CDs at this place. A quick google shows me they are still open.  The bad news is it looks like they discontinued their certificate plan, where they gave you these fake money certificates when you bought stuff, and you could turn them in for free CDs.  There was a whole system to this madness, where you would get extra certificates on certain days, and for certain sale items, and so on, and I tried my best to exploit this system by only shopping on Tuesdays or whatever else was required.  Now, it’s all about iTunes.  End of an era, I guess.

It’s also the end of the 00s, although I have nothing interesting to say about it, other than wondering where the last ten years went.  Seems like yesterday we were all worrying about Y2K and I was trying to settle in my new and somewhat shitty apartment in Astoria.  That was ten years ago?