Ouch! Root Canal a la francaise!

What did I do today? Well, a couple of hours in the dentist’s chair, that’s what! I can certainly think of more enjoyable ways to spend my Thursday morning. You must excuse me as I don’t have any apt photos to go with this post!

At least I didn’t have to go to the hairdressers. I absolutely hate going to the hairdressers, the smell, the fact that total strangers get to put their hands on my head, on top of that, I inevitably end up with the newest member of the team who hasn’t yet worked out which way the tap needs to be turned to find hot or cold.  I find the atmosphere uncomfortable and somewhat intimidating,  Lots of young, image-conscious people chatting amongst themselves while I’m sat there like an old plouff, with the little make up I’m wearing being sprayed off, straining through water logged ears, as they chat about the party they went to over the weekend. Then, there’s the bit where you have to sit and stare at yourself in a mirror for nearly an hour, the make up gone, pasty white, all flaws visible, hair wet and flat against the head, it does absolutely nothing to boost the morale … oh and the inane chatter, it’s true, they do ask where you’re going on holiday, what are you doing for Christmas, have you been to the new local restaurant, ugh, my idea of hell and they charge a fortune for the privilege.  Just cut my hair and let me out.


This was done by my friend’s 12 year old daughter the other night. I think it’s fabulous, very 70’s!

The travelling has caught up with me or should I say, my teeth! Before leaving on our epic journey over a year ago, I was very sensible (for me anyway!) and made an appointment at the dentist in the UK, to have a check up and to do any work that needed doing before leaving. As we left the UK, my gnashers were in relatively good shape.

However, last winter in Spain, one of the little blighters started rocking back and forth and so off I went to see the local dentist. She was a lovely lady and informed me “It has to come out” and with a deft flick of the wrist out came the offending tooth. I wasn’t overly concerned, as I lay there in the chair, after all I was numb from the end of my nose down to my chin. I heard the rip as the root left the comfort of my gum and sighed with relief, it was over. Then I noticed the dentist and her nurse hurriedly reaching for things on the back counter, muffled, fast conversations in Spanish, soon made me realise there was a problem. The dentist stood up and leant over me, with some metal instrument, poking and prying in my tingling gums … a bit of root had stayed behind and it did not want to come out. She pushed, she shoved, she dug, I could hear as the instrument got a grip of the offending ‘piece’ and then it would slip off with a sharp click. Eventually, it came loose and the dentist dropped the remaining bit of tooth on the tray in front of me. It wasn’t the most pleasant visit to a dentist that I’ve ever had but I survived, a headache, paracetamol, soup for dinner and I was like new in no time.

I thought I was going to be pain free and wobbly-tooth free for a while, but bingo, a couple of weeks ago, I had a ‘one day’ toothache, it was a real corker,  incredibly painful. I couldn’t bite down at all, it sent sharp, nervy pains up the side of my face. Phew relief, the next day it felt slightly better until I got to the bathroom, I looked in the mirror after washing my face and there was Marlon Brando looking back at me!!! What the hell was he doing in my bathroom? OK no getting away from it, time to see another dentist. Thank goodness we have friends down here who recommended the dentist they all use. He took one look at the offending ‘pearly white’ or should I say ‘Amalgam Grey’ and issued a prescription for antibiotics, I had an abscess.  I walked out of the office with an appointment to go back in 10 days for a check up.

That was an interesting session, no pain, just bad news …involving lots of Euros!  I have a choice either I’m going to end up on pureed food for the rest of my life or just plain broke!! I’ve decided to ignore most of the items on his things to do list and concentrate on the issue of the day!

And so, this morning,  I had the pleasure of lying down with my head in the lap of a man I barely know, and going through root canal treatment.  It was a long session. The filling had to come out and then came the fun, it’s amazing, how even though you can’t see or feel what’s going on, you are aware of what they are trying to do, Drilling down into the fangs and pulling out the pulpy stuff and the nerves. I think I either had very tough nerves or they were very well attached! Time after time he dug down with what looked like long, thin wire screws and scrape and pull, scrape and pull and so it continued a bit more drilling and bit more scraping.

Dental dam.

A dental dam, image courtesy of deardoctor.com

They used a technique that I’ve not seen before, (see pic above)  I’ll try and describe it as  best I can. In order to isolate the offending tooth, the dentist used a square of thin, rubber sheeting with a hole in it, the tooth pokes through the hole and this was held in place with a clamp around the tooth, the excess rubber is then pulled out over the chin, the cheeks and up under the nose. The great thing about this is that you don’t end up with bits landing at the back of your throat, the down side …it’s a little difficult to swallow and  if you have a cold and can’t breath through your nose, you’d probably die there in the chair!


Walking in a meadow!

As I lay there willing myself to relax,  breath deeply through my nose and think of lovely things, let him do his thing, he knows what he’s doing!  I felt a twinge, not in my mouth but my bladder!!! “It’ll pass” I told myself. Quick! think about something nice again, walking through a meadow of green grass, that should do it!. Oh oh, there it was again. What to do? I can’t talk, I have a rubber mat covering my face, even if I make a sign by lifting my hand I can’t say anything. I waited,  fervently wishing this feeling to leave my body but no, it was serious I started sweating and twitching, how much longer did I have in the chair? Could I hold on? It was awful.  Then, as if by divine intervention, the dentist had to undo the rubber sheeting to take an x-ray of the tooth. He peeled back the sheeting to gain access to the tooth, clever stuff, the clamp still held the sheet to the tooth.

This was my chance, my moment, I held my hand up and said, “I’m awfully sorry but I need a wee.” However, judging by the bemused looks on their faces, I think what actually came out was “ Agh gugu, fuh, uff ggh a a eee!” Oh my god, I’d lost the power of speech, the nurse was the first to work out what i was trying to say. I swear I couldn’t even wait for the chair to lower, I nearly knocked the tray to the floor as I got up and headed for the waiting room, undoing my belt on the hoof. The rush of blood to the head made me giddy and I ended up crossing the reception area on the diagonal!!  Opening the door to the broom cupboard in my haste!!! “No Madame, the toilet is on the right”, the receptionist called to me from behind her desk. Oh the relief … as I stood and washed my hands I glanced in the mirror, a pale face looked back at me and hanging from my mouth the green rubber sheeting ugh!!! I returned to the dentists chair and off we went again, for another sessions of scrape and pull.

I was both pleased and shattered by the time it was over. The chair was raised and I swung my legs over the side and sat up, this time slowly. As the dentist explained what he’d done, showed me the x-rays, he admitted it was “Complique!”. I also realised I probably had lock jaw, I couldn’t close my mouth properly, I had shooting pains along my jawline, cracking headache, pains shooting up my neck where I’d be so tense. So much for thinking of a nice place and staying relaxed eh?

Back at the flat, I crawled into bed and slept for two hours! I feel exhausted although I must say apart from the odd twinge every now and then I haven’t needed to take any painkillers … yet!! The Hubster, who is adorable, when I’m poorly, has cooked up some pancakes which I’ve stuffed with Nutella … just what I needed.

And the strange thing about this is that I still prefer going to the dentists than the hairdressers!

3 thoughts on “Ouch! Root Canal a la francaise!

  1. Ack! Thank you for NOT sharing pictures. 🙂 Don’t care for the hairdresser myself, but I think I prefer the hairdresser to the dentist. Hope you are tooth trouble free from here on.

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