so about that root canal
I noticed about a week ago that the gumline around Cal's tooth, the one that was halfway fixed (hardwon pulpotomy without a crown) was looking a little friable and red. Actually, to be quite frank, it was bleeding. Bleeding Gums Murphy, he was. It was also a little tender, and when I felt it, it was kind of boggy and bubbled out from the toothline. Fearing abscess and just a mere eight days away from when we were scheduled to go back into the dentist to finish our dental work under IV sedation, I asked Joe to pick up some Augmentin on the way home from work (one of the benefits to being and/or marrying a doctor is that you can have your spouse pick up prescription medication on the way home from work as you would for a eggs or milk) and had Cal on an twice daily schedule of antibiotics to try to minimize the chance that whatever it was would progress to some bigger problem.
Funny how your fears are totally steered by your area of expertise--Joe, being a facial surgeon, was worried about osteomyelitis of the jaw. I was more worried about a rapidly growing trachea-displacing abscess. (I've had to do a couple of cases with airway-threatening dental abscesses, and the lesson I have learned from these are that the human mouth is an absolutely disgusting cesspool. Almost makes one wish they had chosen a different specialty.) Anyway, when we got to the dentist this morning, we told the dentist what we saw and what we'd done (the gum swelling was much better already), and even though we were worried that the week of antibiotics would mask any worse signs of infection and possibly cloud the picture for Cal's definitive treatment, apparently what the dentist saw inside was enough for him to opt for this:
The definitive definitive treatment. (Also shown in the picture above, evidence that I wash my hands too much. FOR WORK HYGIENE, not for the crazy.)
So anyway, the dentist said that Cal definitely had an abscess forming up in there, he's glad that we'd already had him on antibiotics for a week, and feels that we should continue on them for another seven to ten days. I'm not thrilled that Cal's tooth was bad enough to require extraction, but glad that at least we took what in my mind was probably the safer and more conservative approach, as opposed to capping the abscessed tooth and then ultimately needing to extract it anyway. We had anesthesia there, might as well get it done and cleaned out and end ToothWatch 2010: Will it or Won't it?
We still need to go back and get Cal fitted for a spacer, because apparently when his six-year molars come in all his teeth are going to get pushed around and that gap is going to screw up the orientation of all his tooth parts (DENTAL TALK! I love it!) but in theory that should not be painful and we still have a little time before that needs to get done, so we can...just think about that another day. (Even with the wonders of anesthesia, Cal has requested that we never ever take him back to "that place"--I for one plan to dodge the subject for as long as possible.) So right now, let's concentrate on the fact that it looks like the Tooth Fairy's going to be visiting our house a little earlier than we expected.