Dog-gone Root Canal

By Patty Wilber

The other week I went to have my teeth cleaned and checked.  I knew I had a bad filling, because it felt like if I tried hard enough I could suck the filling right off.  (Also, the tooth hurt a lot.)

And indeed I did.

Made an appointment for a root canal.

I was sort of dreading  that because for the last root canal, my tooth would not go numb and I was sent to The Specialist. (On the other hand, this time my whole jaw was periodically aching so I was ready to get it taken care of.)

Also that first root canalled tooth was on the lower jaw, where, I learned, numbing requires a nerve block, which apparently did not work on the first go.  But with The Specialist’s unrestrained use of anesthetic, feeling was gone from my eye to my clavicle.

The current tooth was on the upper jaw, (oddly, directly above the previous root canal).  Turns out on the uppers, you can infiltrate the tissue with anesthesia and end up numbing just the one tooth….sort of.

Well, ok then.  That worked!

So there I was “happily” feeling-free.  Out came the old filling and the drilling began.

No so bad.

It did not take long, however, before my jaw began to complain.  “Waaa,”  said the joint.  “Waaa,” said the muscles around the joint. I began wondering how I was going to be able to keep my mouth open long enough…

Then the dentist said, “Hmmm. That’s odd.”

Oh great.  NOT words of comfort.

 My dentist has his own crown making machine (which is really cool and does its thing based on a mold of your tooth and photos and a 3-D computer generated picture…) but anyway, my plan was to finish with this tooth in one swell foop (fell swoop): root canal, cap and done.

“You have an anomalous tooth,” I was informed.  The dentist stuffed my mutant chopper with a temporary filling and got me an appointment with The Specialist.

One week later:  The Specialist Did Not Mess Around with the anesthetic and I was numb from my upper eyelid to just below my upper jaw.  But not to the sternum.

However, afterward, the whole left side of my face was immobile, so those really nice people in line at the bank may have been extra kind due to their sympathy for my pitiful paralysis. Bell’s Palsy?  Congenital? An injury?   As least I did not drool.

The root canal went as planned, but Our Specialist had zero interest in explaining my tooth anomaly, which I found rather annoying because a) It left a hole (as it were) in my story for my Pathophysiology class, and b) I can’t write about it here.

My crown appointment was just a few days afterwards, but by day two my tooth was still very painful, and my face began to swell. Not a good sign.

On the day of the crown appointment, guess what?  I had an infection.

And the dentist asked, “Do you have a dog?”

Well, we just got one–a German Shepard mix.  But why?


Lani and Rena (the cat)

Lani and Rena (the cat)

Dogs have bacteria in their mouths, which they are willing to share with us humans, that can be “periodontopathic”…cause disease in your mouth.

Hey! Dog Face! you are breathing bacteria on me!

ok! says lani.  i have shut it

ok! says lani. i have shut it! pet me!

So, they put me on heavy duty antibiotics to kill off the suspected dog germ, which may also wipe out a large number of my good gut bacteria, leaving me susceptible to invasion by the bad bacteria Clostridium dificile, leading to chronic diarrhea or even death.  Great.

Fortunately, that Cdif can be treated by having a fecal transplant via enema to reseed your gut with the good bacteria that were previously decimated by the antibiotics used to fight off that one bad bacteria.  You just get a willing donor (like your spouse) and…well, you can imagine.

Alternatively, there is a doctor in Canada that has developed a way to gel coat the donated poo so you can swallow it (27 pills worth or something like that).  Said capsules DO NOT dissolve in your stomach but wait until they get to the small intestine, sparing the consumer that unpleasantness of burping up poo taste all day (like some fish oil pills).

Dog-gone root canal! Hope to cap it all off April 10th.

(Keeping the dog, of course!)

Wonder what kind of horse bacteria I harbor…



About BlogPatty

Here's the skinny: I have a thing for horses. They make sense to me. I have a small horse training business (it's a "boutique" training business, not because it's super fancy, but because the horses get a lot of personal attention). I also go by Dr. Wilber, and teach biology full-time at a Central New Mexico Community college.
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8 Responses to Dog-gone Root Canal

  1. Lisa Westfall says:

    Oh lordy! I just learned more about bacteria that I never really…ever….wanted to know.

    Poor you!

    • Patty says:

      So far no adverse effects from antibiotics I am on…I just had to laugh when I read the drug sheet, and I had to read it because I teach both microbiology and pathogphysiology In both classes I talk a lot about Cdif… Fascinating! See you tomorrow!

  2. Suzan Morrow Farrell says:

    Maybe I should stop letting my dog kiss me. I had no idea. I have had several root canals with no problems. (Knocking on wood now)

    • Patty says:

      Well, I dunno–it seems like if dogs live in the house, the bacteria are there too, so what are you gonna do? Eat more yogurt!

  3. Doranna says:

    Sweet doggy face!

    • Patty says:

      Thanks!! She doing well! Her nose is always to the ground sniff sniffing away, so maybe Jim will find tracking an interesting think to do with her later. Basic training class begins next week for–well–the basics: sit come etc, though she is improving anyway!

  4. Marilyn says:

    Cute dog! However, WRT the problem of destroyed gut ecology, that’s what the diet I follow is all about. Rebuilding the gut. And one of the best things you can do for yourself is to have homemade yogurt (homemade so you can ferment it 24 hours and get rid of most of the lactose) and lacto-fermented veggies! Yogurt goes good with breakfast and for a bed time snack. The veggies go great with lunch and dinner! Sauerkraut, giardineira, pickled zucchini… if you’re courageous, you could even go for pickled jalapenos…. just be sure you take your probiotic foods (or supplements, if you’re too busy to do all this food prep!) at least two hours before or two hours after, each dose of antibiotic.

    • Patty says:

      How about unfiltered unpasteurized vinegar? I have not made an fermented veggies since my saukerkraut and your gardineria recipe (which was really good). I really want to make yogurt but my house is always very cold if it is not summer so not sure how to keep the 110 degrees for 8 hours…Good tip on the probiotics–I was not sure how to manage that so have been kind of haphazard. Probi bottle just says to give up during antibiotic treatment and go big afterwards! Been eating yogurt, vinegar and probiotics…of course Jim managed to get a strep eye infection too…We are so germy around here this week!

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