Friday, July 07, 2006

Root Canals and Face Hoses

I was an excellent couple of hundred words into what I consider to be a beautiful post this afternoon.

Then looked up a factoid in support of said post on a separate Firefox tab. Unfortunately the resulting site contained adverts in a format with which this champion browser couldn't cope, and after I switched back to the Blogger tab the whole thing froze, and had to be put down.

This is a lesson to me that I need to resurrect my "save early, save often" habits from back when I used Microsoft products: I can't trust the web.

But I still want to write, so I'll put something in here:

I had most of the rest of the follow-up on the root canal. The rest of the stuff was hollowed out and filled, and the tooth tapered and plateaued to be able to accept a crown. Said crown is being crafted at a lab to be fitted in another week and a half after which I will be done with the rest. I stand by my original statement that it's really not that bad, as far as dental procedures go.

More interestingly and completely separately, I've had a chance to follow up somewhat on the sleep study. I still haven't met with the specialist who reviewed it, but he's sent me through 2 other hoops in the meantime based on his review of that data I have yet to see (the last study I had done approximately 5 1/2 years ago revealed ~200 waking episodes a night, but only mild apnea if at all - it's any guess what's in this one). One of those hoops was a CPAP titration which has left me with a device to strap on my face every night, forcing air into the nasal cavity and keeping airways open. Results have been slightly mixed, based on compounding factors of allergies and having a 7 week old at home; but overall have been quite positive. Mild to moderate exertion isn't coming back to incise my posterior, the ability to focus is retained past 10am, appetite has decreased and hunger now comes with weakness instead of fatigue.

And the chest pain? Turns out there was massive acid reflux into the esophagus which had eroded enough to impact a shared nerve, causing referred pain deeper into otherwise unrelated areas of the chest cavity.

That was my first experience with referred pain - which was confusing, because even my deep hypno-meditative states indicated separate pin-point areas which one wouldn't think of having anything to do with stomach acid. Furthermore, while I did experience frequent heartburn, it seemed to have more to do with how well rested I was and how hard I was working - a pattern that didn't match the arbitrary on-set of the other acute discomfort.

The second experience with the mobile anguish was the root canal: I could have sworn is was my back tooth on the top right. Would have bet $100 on it. Dentist took a good look at it, tapped on it, and failed to elicit a reaction. Tapped the one directly below it - not next to it - and my head promptly exploded. Was the darndest thing, since my jaw hadn't been bothering me at all.

I suppose I've had one instance before either of those, but which I designated "phantom sensations" instead. That was while healing from a knife to the hand (self inflicted in an accident during which I wasn't doing anything with a knife - it was the process of "sitting down" actually) which had severed a nerve in my thumb. The exterior of my right thumb lost all sensation but the wound site, roughly halfway between the base knuckle of the thumb and the wrist, could be jostled (unintentionally - no way would I ever cause myself that kind of grief on purpose) and create excruciating pain and conflicting signals regarding the insensitive area: crushed, ground, burning and freezing in an electric current that brought dark stars and tears to the eyes. Instinctually grabbing and nursing the "affected" area yielded nothing, since that's not where the sensation originated regardless of where my neurology manifested it.

Brought new dimensions of physical understanding to my life, such as few events have (which can probably be listed on one hand).

I'll go spend some more time with the family now - I'm still enjoying the transition from Director to Skilled Grunt and all its accompanying surprises.


Anonymous said...

Question -- Were you wearing your cpap mask (full face?) prior to your root canal? Was it the Front teeth/tooth below your nose which were affected? How long were you wearing mask prior to tooth problems?

If the answers to the first two questions are both yes, please post comment and provide further explanation. I had a tooth destroyed because of my mask and I am trying to find out if others have had similar problems.

Paul T said...

I received the CPAP mask after the root canal, and the tooth in question was the furthest-back right molar on the bottom (sans wisdom teeth). So these things have nothing to do with one another - sorry about your misfortune though.

Perhaps the mask needs to be refitted, if, in order to be affective, it has to be placed so tight as to have such implications?