Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Labor Pains vs Toothache: No Contest

When we went to Bratislava I had a cold. I thought that it might even be a sinus infection, because my teeth were sensitive and I had some discomfort in my cheek area. When we returned I was no longer using every tissue in sight, but still had sensitive teeth. After our first week at home I thought the sensitivity was almost gone.

On Friday night at 8 pm the real pain began. Even the internet couldn't distract me, and I went to lie down. On Monday I saw a doctor about my sinus problem. He prescribed by penicillin, 3 advil 3x's daily for the pain, and a nasal decongestant to make sure everything was clear up there. I was to return if I was still in pain at the end of the antibiotic. On Tuesday at work the pain increased. After emailing with my aunt I made an appointment with my dentist.

Oooh boy. I'm so glad I made that appointment for Wednesday, because the pain only continued to increase. I would rate my two unmedicated childbirth experiences as a pain level of 4; over the weekend I would have said I was at 8, and by Wednesday it was a 9. (my gallbladder attacks when my son was 4 weeks old were also an 8-9) The pain was really excruciating- it radiated from my cheek up towards my forehead and behind my eye, and down into my jaw. At this point the tooth was throbbing as well, and any thoughts that I had a sinus infection were vaporized.

A short xray and exam later and we had a diagnosis: root canal needed.He also gave me a prescription for vicodin, because the advil treatment was not even close to offering relief. My dentist referred me to an endodontist, who fortunately had an opening the following morning.

I am not sure that I've ever been so happy to be at a dentist's office- I knew that in a little bit the pain would be gone. While I'd avoided chewing on the left side of my mouth for almost three weeks, on the morning of the root canal I could hardly even chew on the right side without crying out in pain.

The novacaine brought sweet relief! Even when it wore off in the afternoon I was feeling great, and frankly just so, so relieved to not feel like my cheekbone was going to shatter into a zillion pieces anymore. I think the worst part of it was that, unlike contractions, there was no peak and then decrease in the discomfort. The pain was constant. You can't breath through this kind of pain, there's no muscle to practice relaxing and releasing. Another labor tool that was immensely helpful in labor provided no relief with my tooth- labor pain works towards a goal- your uterus contracts in order to help the baby get born. There is no point to a toothache, far as I can tell!


Anonymous said...

Goodness. I didn't think anything could top my labor pains though my blood clots came close as I actually cried with those. I'm so glad you are better. Yikes!!!

cathy said...

ouch! Thank goodness the endodontist could see you so soon.

rhonda said...

I sooooo understand what you're saying. I hope ya never have to deal with this again.
Big hugs!

Kiandra said...

i would have to agree...toothache pain is double the pain of childbirth...hands down!

this past december my tooth broke and i had to get a root canal...but unfortunately the doctor did not get me numb (3 shots)...so i ended up getting a root canal (that he had to re-do 4 times) with NO numbness. i never got numb till the 4th time.

(and it wasn't evem infected, which is harder to numb)

yes he knew...but after the 2nd, 3rd attempt at the root canal me and him both wanted to just get it done...so like an idiot i agreed to continue...because i didn't want to be sent to an endodontist.

i was in the chair from 1pm to 6pm...when i came home i was shaking and just cried in e's arms...it was the most horrible experience...

ironically me and the dentist bonded...it was the roughest procedure he had ever done, the longest and took him the longest to get right...he didn't completely finish the root canal till the end of feb. (i went in yesterday evening for my ortho appt. and made my cleaning appt.) only to find out that he had been promoted more than an hour away...i could of just cried...we actually bonded over my pain...and he knew my tooth anatomy (which he said is very weird) inside and out.

but nevertheless....i'm happy you are out of pain...and that your novacaine worked for you...mines don't until like the 4th shot.