“One baby for one tooth”

I had my first dentist appointment since the baby was born last Sunday. Initially, the dentist said all my x-rays looked good, but upon further review a day later, he said that one of my teeth may have a cavity, but it was unclear based on the angle of the x-ray. So he asked me to come back in for another x-ray that would take a closer look today. I complied, especially since I had noticed that on the tooth he was referring to, I had experienced some strange tingling sensation when I would floss each night for the last month or so. I didn’t think much of coming in other than that I would be able to score some homemade sour cherry wine, plum jam, and herbal cherry leaf tea that they made (they are huge gardeners and love talking about their fruits and vegetables with me). He and his wife, also a dentist, clearly love me. They love telling me pretty much everything on their mind. So as the wife babbled away, I waited for the result of my x-ray.

Well, it looks like the result was worse than a cavity: he showed me a huge hole that was in one of my molars: it looked like the cavity had lingered and affected the root canal, thus causing an infection, which would mean that I’d need a root canal treatment… today.

Wait, WHAT? I was having a root canal.. TODAY? How the hell did this happen?

I had always heard of root canals, but I never knew much about them until today. The dentist explained that it’s really a “root canal treatment” because all teeth have root canals. An infection occurs in the tooth, likely from a cavity that went on too long, and thus the hollowed tooth needs to be cleaned out, given medicine, and then filled up to prevent further decay or worse… death. No one wants their teeth to die. He told me he was shocked when he saw this for me, as I’ve always had good teeth and take very good care of my dental hygiene. He suspects I likely got tooth decay from pregnancy, as during pregnancy, all the hormones that support the baby’s growth actually weaken the bones and ligaments in the mother’s body; These hormonal changes also increase the acid level in the mother’s mouth, which can make her more prone to tooth decay.

I couldn’t believe it. I was 36 years old and having my first root canal treatment. I was hoping I would at least make it to my 40s before having such a procedure done on me, but I guess this is another downside of the effects of pregnancy on a mother’s body.

“In Russia, we have this saying when women get pregnant: ‘one baby, one tooth!'” the dentist wife exclaimed. “Pregnancy can cause tooth decay even for people like you who take great care of their teeth!”

Well, that just made me feel worse. Actually, what did make me feel physically worse was that the local anesthesia took forever to work, and my body just didn’t respond well to it. It took the highest dosage for the numbness to be adequate to perform the procedure without hurting. So half of my mouth, tongue, and even throat were numb until I went to bed.

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