Thursday, September 1, 2016

toothache? Abscess?? ROOT CANAL!!!

Do you have a toothache? Is it an abscessed tooth? How do you know? Here's my experience with a recent "teeth" ache that turned out to be an Abscessed Tooth! I hope reading about my experience isn't too painful!

Why do these things always seem to happen on a weekend?

It was Saturday evening when the throbbing pain started in the upper left side of my mouth, jaw, and face. A whole group of adjoining teeth were aching so much that it was hard to pinpoint which one was hurting worse. I couldn't bite on anything, and my teeth were aching no matter what I did. My gums were hurting, and I had irritation in the roof of my mouth. A look in the mirror confirmed swelling and redness of the gums in that area. I also had swelling on the left side of my face in the jaw area. 

My first thought was, "Why am I having intense pain now?" I have severe TMJ, so I often have teeth pain, but I usually wake with soreness before the major pain begins. Also, I usually have a Migraine when my teeth are this sore, and my head wasn't hurting.

My neck and left shoulder also started hurting, but, again, that often goes along with a TMJ attack. 

The next morning(Sunday), I awoke to soreness in my face, neck, and shoulder, and the pain and swelling continued, along with soreness and a puling pain which extended from the jaw up the left side of my face to the eye area. It was time for Tylenol! I usually try to manage pain without medication, but it seemed necessary at this point. After my Devotional and Yoga, I went to Sunday School and church. I was still very tired and feeling out of sorts.

In the afternoon, I was feeling very tired and a little achy along with TMJ symptoms and pain, so my husband suggested a nap. The nap helped me feel a little better, but the pain continued. The redness and swelling of the gums seemed worse, and there was also some matter above a couple of my teeth.
By late Sunday evening, I was experiencing more aches along with strange chills, so I decide to "Google" Symptoms of Abscessed Tooth. I had had a previous experience with an Abscessed Tooth years ago when the TMJ Syndrome first started, so at this point, I was curious if this could be the case again. 

I found out that I did have these symptoms of an Abscessed Tooth, as listed on WebMD
  • throbbing pain
  • pain when chewing 
  • sensitivity to hot and cold (ongoing for a couple of weeks) 
  • soreness of neck 
  • redness of the gums 
  • swollen area of the upper jaw 
  • general discomfort and ill feeling 
Since I also was experiencing strange chills, that settled it: I would call my dentist in the morning.

Early Monday morning, I called Dr. Todd Babineaux's office and reached his Answering Service. I asked the operator to leave a message for the office. When the office opened, I was called and told I could come for an appointment at 11:00 a.m. that day.

At my appointment, I was given an X-Ray and Exam. Dr. Babineaux then tested my teeth by tapping on them with a dental instrument. He determined the culprit was a tooth with a very large filling. The adjoining tooth was also suspect, but hopefully it is just deferred pain. He gave me a prescription for an antibiotic, and told me a Root Canal was necessary. The Root Canal was scheduled for Wednesday. 

On Tuesday, the swelling and pain were somewhat better, so I was more optimistic!

On Wednesday, the day of the Root Canal appointment, I awoke at about 4:30 a.m., anxious to get this ordeal over with. After my Devotional Reading, I ate a light breakfast so I could take my antibiotic. I also took Tylenol**. My TMJ doctor has told me that I should always take Tylenol the day of dental appointments (and even the day before) to keep down inflammation. 

**Tylenol is the only pain medication that I can tolerate due to drug sensitivities and interactions. 

At my appointment, I did very well. I am sure the "Gas" helped. I used to go to the dentist without Novocaine, but TMJ changed all that. Now I usually have the Nitrous Oxide Gas along with Novocaine to relax my jaw. It's an extra charge for the gas, but it's well worth it to minimize the chance of setting off another TMJ attack! I only felt slight discomfort during the numbing and no pain during the procedure.

I also wore special glasses to minimize glare of the bright lights. Since I am a headache/migraine sufferer, the glasses are very helpful in reducing the chance of triggering a headache.

When Dr. Babineaux removed the nerve, he showed it to me. It was "brown and funky" with lots of "gunk" on it, definite evidence that this "Bad Guy" was causing trouble and needed to be out of there!

Following the procedure, I tried on my 2 appliances, or Mouth Splints/Guards, and they both fit perfectly!

Additional Directions from Dr. Babineaux:
  • In the future, never put heat on the face (or in the mouth) when it's a dental issue. 
  • Continue with the antibiotic for one additional day.

My dentist, Dr. Todd Babineaux

The Root Canal Procedure was relatively pain free! Thanks, Dr. Todd Babineaux!

Related Post:

Oh, No!! I broke my tooth!!