Four weeks ago I went back to my dentist for some final cleaning-up on the upper left molar which had been giving me so much trouble, and which the endodontist had at last thoroughly rooted for me. I asked her once again to look at the lower molar which I was sure was hurting, not just reflecting the pain from the upper one. She tapped it a couple of times and realised it was broken; a little more tapping and a large chunk of it came off. At least four dentists had looked at it over the last year or so and not spotten any problem, so I guess it either broke more recently or else just wasn't very obvious - the crack was lengthways so wouldn't show up on X-rays. She told me to go back to the endodontist to see if the tooth could be saved.
It took several weeks to get another appointment with the endodontist (she has a ten day waiting list and I missed my frst date when I had man-flu), but when I finally met up with her on Thursday, it took her about ten minutes to shake her head sadly and say that the tooth was too badly fractured to save; it had to come out. My own dentist is less busy and I was able to book her for an extraction first thing Friday.
I was a bit apprehensive but not too much - I had two wisdom teeth out fifteen years ago so reckoned I knew what I was in for. I was wrong; this was one of the most unpleasant experiences of my life, as the dentist tried to wrestle fragments of my tooth out of my jaw; I found myself retching and weeping with pain on the chair. I still begged her to give me more anaesthetic and get on with the job, but after 45 minutes she decided that my twisted roots were beyond her skill, and referred me to another specialist, who she referred to as a stomatologist but whose business listing is as a maxillary surgeon. I have a date with her on Monday afternoon, down in Uccle.
Yesterday was almost a complete write-off as a result. I went home to rest and made it back to the office for some essential business in late afternoon, also to pick up the latest run of bacterial spray, painkillers and antibiotics. Young F commented that this had all started with my biting on an olive stone the summer before last, and I think he's right - the problem with the lower molar may well date back to then, and simply wasn't spotted because the problems with its upper counterpart were so obvious. But this is getting really old now and I cannot wait for it to be over.