Philangelus versus the exploding tooth

Last night, as I was making dinner, I bit down on something and heard the most lovely sound ever: a CRACK that shot right through my skull, followed by a tiny grinding sensation.

Well, no, not a lovely sound at all. What I felt, in fact, was that numb-from-the-shoulders-down sense where you’re in sudden terror.

My first instinct was to pretend nothing had happened, and then I pressed my tongue cautiously against the tooth. It seemed to still be there. But it shifted, again with that gritty grinding.

“Um, sweetie?” I said to my Patient Husband. “I think something terrible just happened.”

Well, as it turns out, it’s something terrible, and it’s something not. I don’t have a dentist in Angelborough (well, I didn’t up until then) and I had no idea what to do. I said, “Should I try to call your dentist in the morning?” and my Patient Husband wasn’t sure that was the best idea.

The whole time so far, I’d been waiting for the intolerable pain. My nerves were on edge. And then I thought: is that the tooth that already had a root canal? The tooth that had to get removed because it had exploded?

(That’s a lovely story, involving a dentist who should have been sued for negligence and me mentally composing a story about two detectives investigating the case of a dentist who got shot in the mouth. I never wrote that story, for reasons I’ll discuss tomorrow. Other than the obvious reason, I mean.)

I called the dentist we’d taken Kiddo#3 to when he smashed his face on a pipe over the summer, and the receptionist could hear the stress in my voice. “Can you glue it back in?” I said. And then, “Can I glue it back in?”

They found or made an opening  for half an hour from then. I kissed my Patient Husband goodbye and proceeded to drive to TenMilesAway, where I met a receptionist, a dental hygienist, and a dentist who were all very sweet, very considerate, and who thoughtfully laughed at all my nervous jokes. They put me in the chair, and the dentist looked into my mouth to determine whether it was a snapped crown or a second exploded tooth.

While she poked around, I realized I was listening to a song by Survivor. And that when I’d had my root canal five years ago, I’d been listening to the same song. Do all dentists buy the same radio cycle?

And I thought, “I really have to blog about this.”

All’s well, other than needing to apply a thousand dollars to my head. The crown snapped in half. There was already a root canal done, so nothing worse can happen. In three weeks they’ll take a mold to make a temp crown, and 30 days later I’ll get it glued in. There won’t be any pain. I can go to Thanksgiving dinner. I’m thankful to live in a world where your tooth can explode and you can laugh enough to blog about it. I’m thankful for a dentistry practice in TenMilesAway which was willing to squeeze me in just before a holiday.

I didn’t think I’d spend Thanksgiving being thankful for teeth, but there you have it. Simple pleasures, like not being in pain, are the best.


  1. lbdiamond

    Survivor songs both times. What are the odds? Happy to hear your tooth was fixed. This story is certainly blog worthy.

  2. Pingback: In which my head goes “boom” « Seven angels, four kids, one family