Mike looked over at the small table beside him, where the dentist had placed the tooth he had removed. The top was dark in colour, a blackish green, while its three roots were a sickly grey. One of the roots was broken off a little shorter than the other two. The dentist said, “I know a lot of people put off visits because they’re afraid of the dentist, but that’s what you should be afraid of.” He gestured at the tooth. “An abscessed tooth is dangerous. It’s best to get them taken care of long before this. And I bet what you were suffering before was far worse than the actual procedure.”

Mike nodded sleepily. He was still drowsy from the sedation. In the lobby, his friend Bob waited to drive him home. At home, Mike enjoyed a dinner of clear broth, watched some of his favourite movies, and then went to bed.

He was awakened by a scratching at the door. He stumbled out of bed, cursing the sedative that made him forget to let the dog in. Then, halfway to the front door, he noticed the dog sitting there in his living room. She wasn’t asleep–she sat up, whimpering. The scratching came again. He stepped toward the door, moving more slowly and uncertainly now. He concluded it must be a rabbit or fox, and he grabbed a broom to drive it away. But when he opened the door, there was nothing there.

On the way back to his bed, he noticed that his dog was no longer in the living room–she had retreated to the bedroom. She wasn’t on the bed–she was cowering in the corner. “Coward,” he said.

Mike lay back down and fell asleep, only to be awakened again by the scraping sound, only this time it came not from the front door, but from the hallway outside his bedroom. It sounded like a heavy claw on the tile, and it came intermittently. Scrape. Silence. Scrape. Silence. Scrape. And every third scrape had an irregular, jagged sound. With the sound right outside his door, Mike stood up, walked to the door and picked up the heaviest blunt object he could find, and waited.

The sound stopped. He waited. Silence. Carefully, he opened the door and looked out. The hallway was empty. He turned the light on, but saw nothing, only a faint trail of moisture on the tiles that he took for dog slobber.

When he awoke to the scraping sound again, it was on his bedside table. He looked over and saw the tooth he thought he had left behind in his dentist’s office. As he was frozen in horror, it began to crawl across the pillow at him with an odd three-legged gait: planting two of its legs as the third one dragged forward.

As it approached his open mouth, Mike regained his sense and tried to grab it, but it was surprisingly strong. It squeezed through his fingers and pressed its way into his now shut mouth. It planted one of its roots on his gums and grasped an incisor with the other two. Mike tried to pull the tooth away, but it had a vise-like grip on his tooth as it yanked with its own strength until the incisor came out.

Mike screamed, and as the tooth moved over to his next incisor, the pain and terror were too much for him.

He awoke suddenly, his heart pounding at the nightmare. He knew what it was telling him. He must avoid any more dental problems, so he got up right away and went to brush his teeth. He opened his mouth with toothbrush in hand, but he didn’t brush because in his mouth there was only one tooth. One large, green-black molar.

Moral of the Story

This story highlights the important fact that abscessed teeth are very serious. Once a tooth becomes infected, you may lose not just that tooth, but neighbouring teeth as well. They may even be deadly, as infection can spread from the tooth to the sinuses and even to the brain.

Fortunately, a root canal procedure is very effective at treating an abscessed tooth. Not only can it preserve the tooth in question more than 90% of the time, it can protect your other teeth, your bones, and your life.

A root canal is nothing to be afraid of. The procedure causes far less discomfort than your tooth is likely causing you. However, if you are afraid, sedation dentistry can help you overcome this fear to get necessary treatment.

To learn more about preventing injury due to an abscessed tooth, please contact My Hills Dentist in the Baulkham Hills area of Sydney today.