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So, let this be a toothy lesson to you
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It was my own fault.

I’ve never been a big fan of going to the dentist. I don’t know too many people that are. That’s no reflection on dentists themselves. I think they’re great people.

Unfortunately, I’m an oversensitive guy when it comes to pain and dental cleanings and other procedures are quite painful to me. So, I don’t exactly keep up with dental office visits.

Ironically, my wife and I are very good about getting our kids to the dentist and orthodontist.

I should have taken our own advice. Actually, I thought I did when I had my own visit with my kids’ dentist (a family dentist, not just a pediatric one) ... oh, about a year ago.

At the time, I was told that the next to last upper left molar was going to need a crown.

Unfortunately, my schedule as a reporter/editor is -- at least in my own mind -- a busy one and I never made the appointment.

In fact, I didn’t even really think of it again because the tooth in question never bothered me.

Until Sunday, Nov. 21.

It was the end of a busy weekend of cleaning. We had spent that Saturday in the main part of the house, cleaning places like the boys’ bedroom, the living room, dining room and so-forth.

Sunday -- as a means of looking for just one thing -- we ended up cleaning out and reorganizing our rather large shed.

You know how you feel after a long weekend of physical work? How you feel as though you ache in places you didn’t even know you have? Well, I felt that way and I said so.

“My teeth even hurt,” I told my wife.

I meant it as a joke, but they really did. I figured I had ground my teeth while working on some particularly strenuous part of the cleaning up. I figured it would go away.

It didn’t. Instead, it got steadily worse.

By Monday evening, I was pretty much in tears. Luckily, I was able to get in to see the dentist that Wednesday.

She poked and prodded and took an X-ray. That tooth I was supposed to get capped? Infected.

I needed a root canal.

I guess I should have been shocked, but I wasn’t. As I said, it was my own fault.

What was shocking was that I would have to wait a week for an endodontic to perform the procedure. A week of pain?? You’ve got to be kidding me!

I was prescribed an antibiotic and told to take acetaminophen for the pain. I did, and by Friday afternoon, I was feeling better.

Fast forward to this past Wednesday. After helping out with a special presentation at the office, I headed out for my noon appointment. I got there on time ... and, except for a couple of breaks, had to hold my mouth wide open for an hour and a half.

I’ve only had one other root canal, when I was 12. Despite the intervening 33 years, one thing hasn’t changed: the pain.

For those of you that have never had a root canal, trust me when I tell you it’s one of the worst experiences your mouth can go through.

Afraid of shots or sensitive to the pain of needles? Then I guess you don’t want to imagine what it’s like to have three -- three!! -- anesthetic shots in your mouth, one of them in the roof near the affected tooth. I actually felt the shock of that one up near my eyeball.

Luckily, with the nerve pretty much dead, the tooth itself was pretty much OK with all the scraping and such. There were a few times where things were -- shall we say “uncomfortable” -- but the worst thing after the shots was just keeping my mouth open.

Afterwards, I was certainly sore and grateful for prescriptions of both a pain reliever and stronger anti-biotic. I headed home to rest which I did for the most part.

Strange thing, though: the pain medicine I was prescribed (in addition to a change to ibuprofen) was supposed to help with sleep. Instead, I woke up at least four times after midnight Thursday morning.

In two weeks, I’ll go back for a checkup and then schedule an appointment for that crown to, finally, be put on that darn tooth.

Of course, it’s not the tooth’s fault, it’s mine.

I should have done what needed to be done a long time ago. If I had, that molar would have been protected from whatever infection strangled its roots.

So, let that be a lesson to you: listen to your teeth -- or at least your dentist.

From my blog

Last Monday, Circuit Court Judge Roger Young refused to overturn a ruling he made in July granting Christopher Pittman a new trial.

Pittman, you may remembered, was convicted for killing his grandparents when he was 12 years old despite his lawyers’ arguments that the anti-depressant Zoloft made him do it.

He was 17 when he was convicted.

Pittman, now 21, claims those same lawyers didn’t do enough to seek a plea deal and never told him he could be convicted even if jurors believed the “Zoloft defense.”

I have agreed, and continue to agree, with prosecutors that Pittman’s lawyers were qualified.

I don’t want to go back over too much ground here, but why should a circuit court judge grant a new trial when the S.C. Supreme Court affirmed Pittman’s conviction three years ago, 4-1?

A new trial won’t change the fact that he shot and killed his grandparents ... and burned down their house to cover the crime.