Searching For A Better Tooth

“I spent half my life thinking dying was the most important thing I could do… or — at least — that dying was my most likely accomplishment. What the fuck did I care about what shape my teeth were in? Who knew, ten years ago or fifteen years ago that I’d be here ten years later or fifteen years later needing to have a tooth pulled so my jaw doesn’t get infected which will require even more surgery?”
“When You Spend 6570 Consecutive Days Wanting To Kill Yourself The Little Things Get Neglected… Like Dental Hygiene”; Me, June 13, 2007

My brain is mush. I’ve barely slept since Thursday night and I’ve been shovelling Tylenol into my mouth like I was pre-diabetic and they were Smarties.

I’ve got another problem with another tooth. There is no pain like mouth pain. It started off feeling like a cold/hot sensitivity thing spread over three or four teeth, but by Saturday afternoon I recognized the pain as coming from an infection in the gum around the back right molar. So I called my dentist and made an appointment for Monday.

Then I bought something called “Orajel”, which is an oral pain reliever containing benzocaine. I thought I’d be okay for a couple of days with the gel and some Tylenol but both wore off after two hours. So by this morning I’d gone through about sixteen pills and half a tube of the gel.

I keep forgetting Tylenol doesn’t do anything to reduce inflammation.


This morning it also felt as though the swelling had pushed the tooth up a little. So I found a way to the emergency room so I could get some antibiotics. The last time something like this happened I waited a week before getting to see a doctor and I ended up losing the tooth. This one doesn’t feel as severe as I remember the last one being, but I don’t have enough teeth left to be dicking around anymore.

I’ve been trying to take better care of them. I’ve been flossing more often, and brushing with the hydrogen peroxide and baking soda mixture my dentists have been recommending for the past year. But it hasn’t been enough, and I knew that before Thursday.

It’s very hard to concentrate with a mouthful of pain. I’ve dropped the Tylenol for Extra Strength Advil, and the ER doctor wrote me a prescription for Gen-Clindamycin at 1800mgs per day.

One tooth goes bad and I lose three nights sleep, nine meals worth of solid food, I can’t concentrate on basic tasks such as editing my sisters college paper or stealing cars, killing hordes of emergency responders and helping Nicko Bellic find true happiness… I actually had to put the PS3 away, I was at the point last night playing GTA4 where either it was me going out the window, or the game was.

I blew up at the kid living downstairs yesterday as well. The woman who lives downstairs is actually very quiet, and a good neighbour. But her brother moved in a few weeks ago. He seems like a nice enough kid, but a couple of times a week he likes to turn his stereo up loud enough it vibrates the picture frames on my wall. So I’ve asked him three or four times to turn it down. And he does. Until the next time.

So yesterday I found out loud music in another apartment does not mix with a massive toothache. And when I asked him to turn it down I was a little harsh. I scared him. When my tooth is feeling better I’ll apologize.

The one basic rule of having a pain in the mouth is it never gets better. I’ve never broken anything, but I’ve sprained pretty much everything and torn a few things, and chipped a few others, and they always got better. I’ve never had gum or tooth pain get better with time and a few days rest.

And now I’m eating yogurt when I have all the ingredients for a homemade pizza sitting in my fridge. Pizza… with bacon. Bacon.

I’m going to bed. Hopefully all of this will be sorted out tomorrow… which is a Monday. And nothing bad ever happens on a Monday.




About Gabriel...

...diagnosed with manic depression when I was nineteen, for the next 14-years I lived without treatment or a recovery plan. I've been homeless, one time I graduated college, I've won awards for reporting on Internet privacy issues, and a weekly humour column. In 2002 I finally hit bottom and found help. It's now 2022, and I have an 8-year old son, and a 12-year old son... I’m usually about six feet tall, and I'm pretty sure I screwed up my book deal. I mostly blog at
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15 Responses to Searching For A Better Tooth

  1. thordora says:

    ugh. I can relate, and since my one rotted tooth I try and do better. Not easy with my Coke habit.

    Hang in there. If I was closer I’d sneak you onto my benefits somehow… 🙂

    I’m also trying to think of anything “home remedy” like but I’m drawing a blank…

  2. You can get Tylenol with actual codeine in Canada, right? That was definitely the best thing I found for tooth pain. You can also take ibuprofen safely with acetaminophen (although alternating them, so you hit the maximum dose with both per 24 hours works quite well and enables you to stay permanently medicated).

  3. Hella Stella says:

    Do I ever understand this post… Here’s hoping it gets better!

  4. raino says:

    yikes. poor you. i think this is like the 4th blog i have come across about people suffering with sore teeth or mouths. hella stella i think. i have nothing better to say than, get some help quick and get better.

  5. Gabriel... says:

    Bonjour tout la gang…

    The tooth has to come out — next Tuesday — and it looks like I’ll be getting a partial denture early in the new year. Sexy.

    According to my dentist I have the bone density of someone who has been drinking paint their entire life. That’s the bad news. The good news is, as long as I keep up with the flossing and using the hydrogen peroxide/baking soda concoction this should be the last one I lose for a long time.

    She’s been telling me for a while I have periodontitis, which has left this tooth without any bone to support it… basically the root structure is exposed, hence the pain and the swelling in the gum. The disease isn’t brought on by the diabetes, but the diabetes does encourage it… the periodontitis is genetic and hereditary, but was allowed to spread because I spent roughly eighteen years debating the merits of dying. Which also allowed the diabetes to do its damage.

    Tylenol 3 is available here with a prescription… which I’ll be getting on Wednesday when I see my family doctor. I meant to ask the ER doctor on Sunday for a script, but in the excitement of only having to wait a couple of hours to see him I totally forgot. Then today the pain wasn’t too bad, so I was going to ask my dentist but in the crushing moment of being told I had to lose another tooth I thought “fuck it, I deserve whatever I get”.

    Right now I’ve upgraded the OraJel to “Maximum Strength” from what turned out to be “Not Nearly Effective Strength” and I’m still chewing on the Extra Strength Advil like they were grape Flintstones.

  6. beeper says:

    I feel for you, tooth pain is the worst, combine that with the fact that the painkiller injections the dentists use on me never work and I have to be sedated, it sucks.

    Losing a tooth isn’t nice, but the upside is it’s one less to hurt 😉 I’ve neglected a lot of my “maintenance” issues for years, it sure catches up with you and can either help you drive on to prevent further issues or makes you bury yourself further into avoidance. I hope you choose the first one …….

    I’m chuffed that you didn’t strangle the noisy kid, I’m mega noise sensitive and have had confrontations with similar people….. if they like it so loud why the hell not invest in some good headphones. I know I could land myself in serious trouble if someone kept noise going….. it makes me so unreasonable.

    I wouldn’t apologise to him, just explain that you suffer with headaches or something and can’t tolerate loud noises. Come to some agreement, but he’s seriously being a bit unreasonable.

    Oh and hi, not said hi for a while!


  7. bromac says:

    There is another product, herbal, used for teething babes, but I can’t remember the name and think it the same concept as orajel.

    Hoping you get to feeling better.

  8. Lydia says:

    Good luck. I get my first bone graft for a dental implant next Monday. Six to nine months of having to take my temp tooth out to eat. Sexy indeed! Although the weight I lose, if I can’t bring myself to do this at work, may make me sexier.

  9. Gabriel... says:

    Thanks Beeper, it’s always great to see you here. I guess I should clarify that “the kid” pumping up his bass downstairs is actually in the 18-22 age range and he’s just a bit smaller than I am. There’s something a little off about him… he’s a nice enough kid, but I think there’s been at least one significant head injury in his past.

    bromac, when it comes to killing pain and there’s a choice between industrial strength chemicals and echinacea I almost always go with the stuff made in New Jersey.

    Hi Lydia, my grandmother just had implants put in and she loves them. I’m hoping they become part of my inheritance.

    Chimp: I finally got the painkillers for the tooth-related pain today… ratio-emtec, which is codeine and acetaminophen — two 30mg tablets every four hours. Heaven. But awkward. I always feel awkward asking doctors who know about the manic depression for painkillers.

  10. darkentries says:

    Ah Gabe…I feel your pain. I am having tooth trauma myself at the moment…got to wait until next Tuesday to see the dentist. I am taking antibiotics, and was giving co-codamol but that doesn’t do much for me so I’m depleting my stock of Oxycontin, supplementing with acetaminophen to create home brew Percocet.
    Reduces things to a background ache for a few hours.

  11. Immi says:

    Oh multiple and many ow’s. No reason not to get decent painkillers for tooth pain to get you through til Monday, though — you’re right, it’s the worst. Advil doesn’t even touch tooth pain. I hope the dentist can get you straightened out without having to pull it.

  12. Pingback: Tooth Extraction Postponed Due To Weather So My Grandfather And I Talk About Dying And Hockey « …salted lithium.

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  14. Dawn says:

    Boy do i feel your pain.You’re more than welcome to read my blogs at the address above and I have yet to enter a recent entry

  15. Pingback: Painful realizations : Womens Health

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