For the past couple of weeks I've had an intermittent mild pain in one of my lower left teeth. Over the weekend it became a slightly more intense intermittent pain. Yesterday I called the dentist, and later in the day went in for a visit.
In the waiting room I realized that at that moment my tooth didn't hurt anymore, but was afraid of what would happen if I didn't follow through with the appointment. Once I was seated in the exam chair I did my best to describe my symptoms. The dental assistant did an x-ray, which showed there was no sign of infection. She called in the dentist, who poked around my mouth until he found the sore spot. He couldn't see any damage, but after the assistant took a photo she discovered a small crack in my wisdom tooth. The dentist didn't have time in his schedule to do an immediate filling, and since I wasn't in extreme pain the assistant suggested I come back today.
A little less than 24 hours after the first visit I was back in the exam chair. The assistant swabbed my cheek with a topical anesthetic, the dentist injected the real thing, then we all waited for it to take effect. The dentist came in and drilled away, told the assistant to prepare a temporary filling, and left.
The assistant explained that the dentist wanted to make sure the tooth hadn't been compromised. He wanted to wait a couple of weeks to make sure the pain was completely gone before he completed the work. The assistant told me today's filling contained oil of cloves, which had some antiseptic properties, and I might be tasting the spice for a couple of hours. (I did. It made me crave pumpkin pie.)
Ten minutes later the filling job was finished, and after a stop at the payment desk I was on my way. I get to go back in two weeks for either a permanent filling or, if the pain hasn't gone away, more extensive work (aka a root canal). Of course, I'm 'rooting' for the first option.
Five years ago today: If You fill It Will They Come?