I had a root canal last week.  For most people, the idea of such a procedure fills them with dread, even horror.  It is the butt of jokes: “I’d rather have a root canal than do that.”  Whatever that is.  Nothing is supposed to be worse. 

Over the course of my life I have now had three root canals.  The first two I had done nearly thirty years ago, not long after I’d gotten married.  The pain I was experiencing in those two molars back then was excruciating, and the root canals made the pain go away. Afterward, I was pain free.  For me, those two root canals in my distant past are actually nearly happy memories.

In contrast, when I was a teenager, I had to have braces.  Back then, if your mouth was “crowded” they would pull teeth before they put on the braces to rearrange everything.  I had four teeth extracted for that purpose.  I also had my four wisdom teeth extracted: they were impacted and coming in sideways.

No more excruciating and miserable experience have I ever had than having teeth pulled.  It didn’t hurt during the procedure—I was simply numbed, not knocked out—but afterward!  My mouth ached for days.

But root canals aren’t like that. And the one I had this last week was like the ones I had thirty years ago, except slightly more refined thanks to some improvements in technology.  The procedure, as before, was painless while it was going on, and afterward, I was pain free.  I thought it was odd that my endodontist prescribed a pain killer for me; it wasn’t even necessary.

Thus, as a recipient now of three root canals, I’m at a loss to understand why people hate them so much.  Really, when I say that I'd rather have a root canal than vote for any of the current candidates running for president this time around,  it's not hyperbole at all.

 


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