Crowns and Post…

For the last couple of years I’ve been tolerating hot/cold sensations in two of my upper molars,

“A couple of small cracks,” my dentist said, “I’ll re-fill those for you…just tell me when.”

I mean, who voluntarily goes to a dentist to fix something that Sensodyne toothpaste manages quite well?

“You can leave them,” he said on another visit, “but if one of them breaks it makes it more difficult…but not impossible!”

I still wasn’t convinced.

Then I had the painful incident of a bottom molar, on the same side as the pesky uppers.  It had come off rather the worst for wear when I had a particularly bad sinus infection.

“I can take it out for you,” he said. “It’s only a tooth!”

“Yes, but it’s a tooth I’ve had for over 50 years and I’m rather attached to it!” I said mournfully.

“I can do a root canal?” He offered.

So I went for the procedure that was a good $2000.00 dearer than the $230.00 extraction.


“That back molar with the new crown is still giving me unpleasant sensations when I brush,” I said during one of my check-ups six months later.

“Well, don’t brush back there…” he said, then added, “I’ll X-ray it and see what’s going on.”

He told me the bone seemed to be healing well, no sign of infection, and to…

“Give it time.”

So I gave it more time.

During my trip to Colorado my mouth failed me miserably. The altitude changes caused the crown to apparently rise up, which, my dentist confirmed, was exactly what had happened.

“The pain was excruciating,” I told him, “it seems to be feeling better now I’m at sea level…”

He ground it down a bit to bring it in-line with its neighbour and said,

“Altitude does play havoc with some teeth but if this works it was an easy fix.”

I shrugged my eyebrow as my mouth was wide open,

“If not I can pull it out…”

There he went again with his solutions.

It turned out not to be an easy fix…

Eventually the pain became overwhelming causing me to wake up in the night. Something else had to be done.

So back I went with no choice but to admit that the root canal had probably failed and we were back to day one.

I scheduled an extraction the following week, almost a year since I’d first started having twinges.

But I just wouldn’t respond to the numbing medicine.  And trust me, my whole head was numb except for the back molar.

“I can go ahead and pull the tooth,” he said confidently, “It won’t take long…but I don’t think the pain you may feel will be worth it.”

He offered full sedation seven days hence, which would mean another week of extreme discomfort.

I added pain killers to my diet.

Early one morning I sat in the spacious side room I’d begun to think of as my own personal lounging area at the dentist and listened as the two doctors prepped me for surgery.

A needle in my arm and several in my mouth.

“Why do I have to be numbed when you’re going to put me out?” I asked between jabs.

“Your body may be asleep but your brain can still re-act to pain,” he explained, “I don’t want any involuntary movement during extraction.”

Oh, I thought, I hope I don’t so anything embarrassing like…

…I was out before I could complete my thought and apparently awoke a few seconds later!

I think I asked how things had gone but my whole face and throat was numb and I couldn’t articulate clearly so I gave up.

I was refunded the whole cost of my failed root canal less the $230 for my reluctant tooth extraction…and I’d had an anaesthesiologist in attendance.


I healed well over the month but boy, did I miss that tooth!

“I feel as though my cheek is caving in on that side,” I told my dentist 2 months later on my next routine check-up.

“I can put in an implant if you like?” he said with way too much enthusiasm, “just a small surgery, no big deal.”

As the months passed I still couldn’t get over the space left in the back of my mouth. Saliva seemed to build up there, my tongue couldn’t leave the cavity alone and my adjacent tooth began to ache.

I finally decided to bite the proverbial bullet.

In for a penny in for a pound, I thought and made an appointment to get the two leaky fillings on the same side as the implant, replaced while he was at it.

Who wants to spend more time in a dentist chair than absolutely necessary?

I was feeling very blasé when the scheduled appointment came around until the Dental Assistant asked,

“You’re going to have two crowns and an implant fitted all at the same time, this morning?”

Hmmm, ‘replacing the fillings’ were now crowns.  My stomach fluttered just a little.

“Yes,” I said, “I checked when I made the appointment and the nurse confirmed it with the doctor.”

“Does that seem like a lot?” I asked after a moment.

“Oh no, I was just checking…”

When the doctor came in I asked,

“How long will this take?” I’d had visions of spending the whole morning lying prostrate in a dental chair with my mouth full of dams and suction tubes, fingers and drills.

“Forty-five minutes for the crowns and twenty for implanting the post,” he said, “and with impressions – an hour and a half tops.”

He stuck a needle in my mouth and said,

“Let’s get cracking on these teeth!”

Pun-ey as ever!


The time came for him to start the ‘small surgery’ in my cavity.  I started to get just a little bit nervous.

“Have you done this before?” I asked.

“Yes, lots of times.”

“I haven’t so will you tell me exactly what it involves?”

“In how much detail?” He asked.

“Great detail, please.”

He told me about the little incision followed by a series of drills in varying sizes to make an ever widening hole. He assured me it wasn’t loud. He told me about the special tool to screw the post in place, which, according to his wife, was the weirdest part. He told me about the temporary cap which shouldn’t fall off but sometimes does.

“I can still feel my jaw,” I remarked when he’d finished explaining but I couldn’t come up with any more delaying tactics.

“Let’s test it,” he said and stuck his scalpel in my mouth.

Breathing steadily I watched as his hand went back and forth across my line of vision with larger and larger drills.

I didn’t feel a thing.

After he’d screwed the post in place, which really wasn’t weird at all, he showed me the x-ray on my Big Screen TV.

There it was, a Frankensteinian piece of hardware in my lower jaw.

With my tongue I located the post head…as smooth as a gold filling.

Not quite a bolt through the neck…but close enough!

“It may hurt a bit for a few days after the numbness wears off,” he admitted. “I could prescribe you some pain killers?”

“That’s all right,” I said.

And when I got back in my car, exactly 90 minutes later I breathed a long sigh of relief!

Absolutely no pain.

“That’s my job,” he had said, “to make sure you feel nothing.”

I could talk, smile, drink and eat without drooling or feeling puffy.

When I told Dental Assistant Daughts she said,

“At my office it would have taken all morning to do that lot!”

“Probably 3 separate visits,” I pointed out.

“Yes…you’re probably right!” she said.

Thank you Anna Dental!






























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