The blog of a travelling psychiatrist and football lover. Who happens to be a halfway decent photographer. Takes a cynical view of the world

The Root Canal of All Evil

Although a doctor I can claim to know nothing about teeth, nothing at all. But this last week has been most unpleasant. The tooth story started almost 6 months ago when I had a temporary filling put in a tooth that was earmarked for root canal treatment. Although temporary it actually did the trick and the reality was that there was little time to have any more procedures done.

Sadly since then things have gone awry. In December a lump appeared on my upper gum and even with no knowledge of anything in life it was clear that this was an abscess. Antibiotics helped it better within days and took me over the xmas period. 

This week, the tooth has been a disaster. The tooth was poked down, cleaned out and whatever else was done using what looked to me like torture chamber size toothpicks, filled with some sort of cement and allegedly left for a week to ” settle down”. The tooth however had other ideas and refused to stop hurting and the lump on the gum re-appeared in large size, and frankly made me feel awful. Back to the dentist, lump poked, some musing and indeed more antibiotics provided. Metronidazole is actually quite a good choice for an antibiotic as it has the same effects as antabuse if you drink alcohol , so best not to. Hence no alcohol for me for a week. What will happen? Well next tuesday the next battle round takes place. Could be more cleaning and preening of those tooth holes called root canals, or maybe just an extraction. I favour the latter.

Despite having all this done I know nothing of a root canal so thought best to investigate what they are. Here is my detective work.

A root canal is the space within the root of a tooth. It is part of a naturally occurring space within a tooth that consists of the pulp chamber (within the coronal part of the tooth), the main canal(s), and more intricate anatomical branches that may connect the root canals to each other or to the surface of the root.

For those of you desperate to know how to say root canal in Latin,

canalis radicis dentis


That even sounds painful without anything going wrong, and talking of pain I have not even mentioned the bill as yet. Apparently there are lots of these canals, rather like caves, and if one is missed and the dreaded pulp not removed, then the infection remains. Worse still they can have kinks in them and it has been known that the stick things that get poked down can break off inside. The joy does not stop there, oh no. These root canals if not treated properly can then spread their dreaded infection to local other tissues, jaw bones and finally cause a life-threatening constriction of the throat. This is not good news at all. But the good news is that these infernal canals can be found and apparently ” electronic apex locators” are just the thing. Sounds like those cameras you put down a drain to see where they are blocked, and also see just what the contents of the sewage are from your next door neighbours. Now there is a party theme. ImageImage

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