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Dental Adventures from Brian’s Perspective

Posted on March 5, 2024 by under Health, Life.    

Now that you have read about my adventure from Ching’s point of view, I think you’ll want to hear it from the horse’s mouth… so to speak!

So, all of what Ching said is true. It’s my own fault that I’m in the situation that I’m in and, had I just pushed my anger down, and attempted to speak to the management at Wichita Endodontics I wouldn’t be in the situation I am currently in.

At the end of 2019, I was informed by my dentist that I had a small infection above my left front tooth. I was told that I needed to have a specialist take care of it due to the nature of the infection and the potential for further treatment that may be needed. It was just outside of the scope of what my dentist could tackle. Back then I was not as busy at work and taking the time to deal with these things was fairly simple. I was referred to Wichita Endodontics. Back then, they were at their old office. I went to my appointment, paid my $160 (a fee that was not able to be absorbed by insurance), and got all of my x-rays and images needed to get the procedure done. I was given two different methods that would take care of the problem and given the percentage of success for each. One was a root canal method. The other was a small incision over my tooth. The incision had a greater chance of success. I chose the root canal method because it was less expensive, less invasive, and I just really didn’t like the idea of being cut open. All was decided. I explained everything to Ching (which she has forgotten) and she was all for it. We had a few things going on, so I scheduled my procedure for about 2 months later. Well, as Luck would have it, this is when Wichita finally decided to shut down — literally 4 days before my procedure. So, I get a call from the endo telling me that they are going to have to cancel for now, and they will call once everything is sorted and they are able to see patients again. I understood completely, given everything that was going on I figured that there would be something like this and I was already mentally prepared for this.

Fast forward, it’s now almost the end of 2020. I get a call from the endo — they are ready to reschedule my appointment and get the procedure done. I was thinking, this means pick up where they left off. No! The person that called stated “Oh, by the way, we will need to do the scans again and you will need to pay the fee again.” I asked if she was sure and she said, “Unfortunately, yes.” I replied with “Well, unfortunately… No!” and hung up the phone. Was this the right thing to do? Not at all. I should have requested to speak to someone, work out the details, and see if they would just do the new scans given that I already paid. I know now (in hindsight) that this could have been resolved right then and I would not be in the situation I am in.

I proceeded on with life, not thinking about the growing infection in my mouth. I was not in any pain. My life went on as normal. I was reminded every year when I saw the dentist that I needed to get this taken care of and every year I reminded him of why I didn’t want to speak to them and on more than one occasion I was advised, in a very professional way, to grow up.

Now we come to my most recent appointment. My dentist takes the x-rays, comes to me and the first thing he says, “You really need to get this taken care of.” I shrug my shoulders and the doc says, “No, we’re getting this fixed.” He gives the details to the hygienist and she takes me to the appointment desk. She hands the business card to the lady behind the desk and proceeds to tell her “Brian is having an issue making an appointment. Can you call and get something scheduled for him?” And she does just that. I don’t blame them for treating me like a child as I was acting like one — an old, grumpy child. Shortly after my appointment was made is when the fistula appeared. Since I had the appointment, I toughed it out. I was told that the fistula is a result of the infection spreading and that if I didn’t get this take care of it would only get worse, and there is a chance that it already is, and I may still need oral surgery by this time next year.

I did tell the doctor of my issue in the past and why I didn’t do this sooner. He informed me that had I just come and spoke to someone then this could have been resolved very easily and I would not be in the mess I am in now. Reconfirming that this is really all my fault! On the plus side, the doctor did make it right, even after all these years, and he really didn’t have to. I mean seriously, ultimately, it was me that made the decision to just blow the whole thing off.

Well, we move to the day of my procedure. I can say with absolute certainty that they mean what they say. It was the first root canal that I have ever had done that I didn’t feel anything. Even after the numbing wore off, I only had a slight tingle in my upper gum and tooth and that’s it. I did take an Advil that night, mainly for inflammation (it was highly suggested in the follow up paperwork) and then a Tylenol the next morning — more as a precaution than anything, I didn’t really need it, but I had to go back to work, and I didn’t want to risk feeling any pain as the day progressed.

Now I have to wait. The first thing I have to wait for is the fistula to go away. They said I had to wait about four weeks and, if it’s not gone by then, I have to let them know. They advised it may flare up before it goes away (I think that happened this weekend, at least I’m hoping that’s what happened) and, if it doesn’t go away in that four weeks, I have to call them back for another appointment and it may mean oral surgery for sure. If the fistula does go away, then I have to wait another six months. They are going to call me in 5 to schedule an appointment. This will be to see if the infection is going away, if the infection is going away on its own, then I’m in the clear (meaning – no surgery). If not, then I will have surgery by this time next year.

I have to say that several lessons have been learned from this adventure.

  1. Stay on top of your brushing, make sure that you brush at least twice a day, at a minimum. I personally have also started to use medicated mouth wash as well, mainly because I still suck at flossing. But my oral hygiene has improved due to this.
  2. If something needs to be done, don’t wait. Do it, get it done. You have no idea how bad things can get if you put it off. There are just some things that your body will not fix on its own.
  3. Don’t let your emotions govern how you take care of yourself. Had I just spoke to someone and worked it out, I wouldn’t be in this situation. I could potentially lose several of my teeth because I let my emotions get the better of me. Unfortunately, this is a family trait.
  4. Finally, all things can be resolved through communication. I should have known this, my wife an I practice this. We believe that communication is key, not only in a relationship, but in life in general. If you’re having an issue, work it out like adults and have a discussion. Had I just spoke to someone other than the attendant that called me, I could have gotten all of this resolved and not be in the situation I’m in.

In the end, I’m grateful for my wife Ching. She is always there for me. She takes care of me when I need it and tells me how bad I’ve screwed up when I need to hear it. I don’t know where I’d be without her. Probably toothless.

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