Digital Dental

I had an emergency root canal today (when is a root canal not an emergency?). I had been experiencing pain for about a week now and at first, I figured it was just my usual stress-related jaw clenching and teeth grinding. But despite my fervent attempts to relax my jaw, relax my jaw, relax my jaw, the pain still didn’t go away and I finally went to the dentist. “Tap, tap, tap, does this hurt? How about this? Here’s a tiny piece of ice. Does this hurt? How about now?” And soon I was off to the endodontist (there’s a new word I learned today) to get a root canal.

As scary as a root canal sounds, it’s actually not that bad. Maybe it was because we caught this very early on (the x-ray didn’t even show anything wrong really), but the whole thing was over in like 20 minutes. I went in, the endodontist tapped around my tooth again and then before I knew it, he was breaking out the novacaine. You think he would have eased me into it, but 20 minutes (and $1200) later, I was off on my way home. I’ll admit that when I was younger, I didn’t really take care of my teeth and have had my fair share of cavities and subsequent fillings, so I still have this associated nervousness with dental procedures. But with all the cool things they have now– including the little cotton swab to apply topical anesthetic so you don’t even feel the needle go in– it’s all become a lot less painful. Modern medicine! (Granted that whole side of my mouth is sore now and it hurts to bite down on that side, but still.)

Weirdly enough though, I had to bring my x-ray along with my referral to the endodontist’s office. Between the dentist appointment and endodontist appointment, I stopped into work and we spent a few minutes peering at the x-ray with the help of my high-powered desk lamp, trying to make sense of it. And as part of my photo archiving project, I had this strange desire to scan it in and preserve it for all time. What is it about pictures of our insides that fascinate us so much?