I had a root canal last week (my third). For the five people still reading, let me offer a suggestion: The next time you think you’re having a bad day, spend some time in an endodontist’s waiting room. It really feels like an alternate universe: Phones stay tucked in pockets and purses; stacks of magazines remain untouched. Patients sit ramrod straight and appear deeply troubled as they silently ponder what on earth led them to this place. Was it the bowls of ice cream recklessly consumed after brushing their teeth? Is it payback for lying to their dentist about flossing twice daily? The receptionists are overly chipper, trying (and failing) to compensate for the tension that permeates the room. I want to tell them not to bother. This is no place for small talk, new friendships or positive thinking.
During the actual procedure there’s not much to do but count the ceiling tiles and consider your life choices. Afterward, forget about a celebratory coffee or lunch with a friend; your mouth stays numb for the next four to five hours! Your best (and only) option is to head home to pop ibuprofen like candy.
Before you start judging my oral hygiene, let me set the record straight. Pregnancy not only left me with bundles of joy, but also horrible tooth decay, just like it did to my mother, and her mother before that. After my oldest was born, I basically went straight from the delivery room to the dentist’s office, where I had to get six (yes SIX!) cavities filled.
There is a bright side, however, to this gloomy tale. I scheduled my root canal for BEFORE Halloween, which means I’m entitled to all the candy I want, right?!?