Sunday, October 27, 2013

Trip to the Dentist

Sept. 18, 2013: A few of weeks ago I was flossing my teeth and I felt the crown on my back tooth lift slightly, and then I couldn’t get the floss out.  I pulled it through and for several days after that I couldn’t get the floss to go in between the teeth.  During that time, I developed a toothache that was becoming annoying.  Not bad, just annoying.  Rich went to the nurse’s room and got one of the dental tools and I was able to clean between the teeth which allowed the floss to go through after that, but the toothache continued.  I started taking some Echinacea since that is the only type of antibiotic we had. Last week a slight swelling and tenderness started under my jaw.  Rich and Elder Youngberg gave me a blessing and the swelling and tenderness subsided the very next day. By the third week, I decided to go to the local dentist which was an experience. (I wish I'd had my camera.) The dentist’s name is Sam.  He spent five years in Fiji going to dental school and has been practicing in Kiribati for five years so he may be in his mid-thirties. He was very friendly and seemed very competent and apologized for the lack of dental resources available in Kiribati.  After a very nostalgic, antique x-ray, he determined that the crown had indeed lifted causing just enough gap between the tooth and the crown to allow a leakage of bacteria to get into the tooth and root canal. He suggested we go to New Zealand to get a new crown where the services are quick and superior. Soooo….. much to our dismay our mission will once again be interrupted by a trip off the island.  When the dentist there checked my crown and took some x-rays, he said the crown was great but the tooth was infected which resulted in root canal.  Lucky me, the tooth has four roots instead of the typical two or three.  It took him an hour on Mon. and another hour and 2o minutes on Tues. to get the job done.  I must be a total boob for pain because it was intense.  He gave me a few shots trying to deaden it but it was not enough. I was so tense and just laid in the chair and cried.  He finally said I’d just have to get through the pain threshold.  It wasn’t until he drilled through the crown and was able to get some anesthetic into the roots that I was finally able to relax. We're grateful to be back in Kiribati with warm weather and hope that's an experience we never have to repeat. Besides, who's ever heard of traveling  3000 miles just to see the dentist.

1 comment:

  1. what a experience. Shelley had the same thing happen years ago. The dentist told her that he couldn't numb all the pain, so it would hurt like crazy for one second while he drilled through the nerve. I was in the room to witness that procedure...not pretty. Glad you are on the mend. Keep healthy ok.