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My Kingdom For A Root Canal

Updated on September 8, 2009

Usually I write four or so articles a day. Why? Because I'm a writer, and I like to be professional, like Christian Bale, but with slightly less profanity. Today however, I wrote no articles. Why? Because I have spent the day stuffing myself into the small crevice between my bookshelf and sofa like a frightened feral cat. This position inhibits writing to a great degree, but it allows me to escape from the woeful reality which has befallen me.

You see my dear reader, I have an abscess. A tooth abscess that requires dental treatment of the distinctly not warm and fuzzy kind. I could just have the tooth pulled and be done, but because it's apparently unsightly not to have one of your front teeth, I've opted for the root canal treatment.

(In case you were wondering, judging me with judgementalness, no, I don't have this abscess because I ate too many sweeties and never brushed my teeth. I got it because when I was eight I made the foolish mistake of swinging into a steel bar. Curses! I knew all that childhood play was a bad idea. Mothers, wrap your children's faces in swathes of cotton wool and bubble wrap immediately.)

A root canal is a procedure that allows you to keep the teeth you once would have simply had pulled. Instead of a small fee, a little bit of pain and a gappy smile, you get to enjoy multiple visits, the draining of your bank account, the widening of your canal with a little drill bit and a dead tooth hanging out amongst the others like some kind of smug Lazarus.

I met the dentist today, a young Thai lady. She seems sweet, but I am not fooled. Under that demure, soft spoken exterior lurks the heart of a dentist. It's only a matter of time before she transforms into a heartless monster capable of ignoring even the most piteous whimpers of pain whilst she wields her damned drill.

Oh god....
Oh god....

In order to prepare myself for the ordeal, I was given a leaflet with a madly grinning woman on it whose soul has clearly been sold to the dark lord of dentistry. If I were to ever met her in person, I am sure that she would devour mine as a replacement, then charge me an exorbitant fee for the honor.

I noted during the consultation that dentists charge far more than makes any form of rational sense. A medical doctor must train for, what eight years in order to become a doctor, whereas a dentist only trains for five years. A doctor can diagnose rare and scary diseases, like Ebola, or Diabetes, whereas a dentist can only force you into a torture chair with their steely gaze and then inflict horrors upon you with pointy objects until you cry and give them all your money.

Yet seeing a doctor costs on average, about half as much as what a dentist visit costs. Why? I think I know why. Because dentists aren't over paid medical professionals, they're under paid domination specialists. If you go into the back section of a paper and look for someone who will subdue you with a look and then stick you expertly with needles and inflict painful sensations upon you whilst you lie there meekly like a lamb, and you're looking at perhaps, what $500 an hour? More? Who knows. A dentist will provide you with the same experience at a fraction of the price.

Of course, there are some trade offs. There's no safe word with a dentist, and the price of skipping the appointment and going to play with puppies in the dog park is accelerated decay, infection and perhaps even death. (Because tooth infection can spread into the soft tissues, thence into the blood stream and thence into the heart.) At least, that's what they tell me. There has to be fear everywhere you turn when it comes to dental issues, otherwise they lose a great deal of their charm. I'm pretty sure the International Code of Dentists states that if a patient isn't on the verge of a panic attack every time they so much as think about attending their dental appointment, the dentist is doing it wrong.


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    • Cygnus76 profile image


      9 years ago from ON

      oh man.. i feel for you. root canal sure isn't fun. saw my husband went through not once, but 3x now. eeek! practically broke our bank acct on that. hope i don't ever get any, and hope that's it for you too. //hugz

    • Hope Alexander profile imageAUTHOR

      Hope Alexander 

      9 years ago

      Thanks for your condolences guys :) Gunnau, enjoy your time in my home land :)

      Waren E I'll probably not be electrocuting my gums, although the thought is tempting.

      Tom, they'll make all kinds of excuses because they are wily.

      Iwhcpanties, that is dental humor. It reveals the blackness of their hearts!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Hey Ms Hope, I hope that you get better! As my dentist told me about my root canal, it would stop hurting when it stops hurting! Well he was right! Sorry I know that’s not funny, really I do hope you get better.

    • Tomgeekery profile image


      9 years ago

      My condolences. I've been there too, although in my case it was further to the back and needed to be kept because it was particularly important for eating. But I'm sure there's a good excuse for any tooth.

    • profile image


      9 years ago from Central Coast NSW Australia

      Well maybe not chemical reconstruction down to that level but i was not all that well and i just wanted relief.

      Funny thing ( well i guess not so funny), 18 months later, we flew home from NY and i sat beside a guy in the same situation. I still have some root canal work to be done because i'm having a broken tooth crowned. I don't know what i'm looking forward to most. The root canal work or the gum lowering. Still, i don't have to worry about that till after i have 2 weeks in Beautiful NZ.

      Ask the dentist for the Happy Gas. NO2 is good stuff.

    • Waren E profile image

      Waren E 

      9 years ago from HAS LEFT THE BUILDING............

      I just apply a low voltage over my gums,with "one" only one wire in the hot electrical socket and just ground myself on a wet surface,but I never use the two wires in the both sockets that would be insane that would cause a blackout in the city, it works wonders and is quite normal for me,with that said, you should never try any of those techniques,instead I wish you all the best and good health Hope Alexander!

    • Hope Alexander profile imageAUTHOR

      Hope Alexander 

      9 years ago

      Did you really free base it? Did you break it down to its purest form using heat and chemicals and perhaps snort it right there on the plane? Ah, that reminds me of the days before 9/11, when flying wasn't an exercise in fear. :D

      Thank you for your well wishes. I have three weeks to anticipate my doom, so I shall return to the regular program before then, I am sure :)

    • profile image


      9 years ago from Central Coast NSW Australia

      My Darling, I've have both been there and done that.

      I had a tooth ache once over Christmas and could not get to see a Dentist anywhere. I went to work eating panadol like they were smarties and it eventually stopped hurting once it got infected. Turned out it was an abscess. I then had a number of treatments for root canal. It wasn't as bad as it was made out to be. Last time i had a tooth abscess, we were stranded in LA and i free based day strength mercyndol on the plane. I don't know who flew higher but 14 hours seemed like an eternity. I got to a Dentist that day,he gave me something for the swelling then took it out a couple of days later. Incidentally, the last one was a Wisdom tooth. So i truly sympathies with you. As long as you have a good dentist, there is little to fear but to feel better soon. Take care.

    • profile image

      Writer Rider 

      9 years ago

      I wish I had time to write. Well, now I do.


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