UNhappy Tooth

The central nervous system (2) is a combinatio...
The central nervous system (2) is a combination of the brain (1) and the spinal cord (3). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Give me a liver, kidney, skin, gut or nervous problem, and the local ER will either have or fix you up with a specialist who is on call for treating emergencies for every part of your body. Except your teeth. If you have a tooth abscess on a weekend before a holiday, just crawl out into the middle of a busy intersection and hope the end will come quickly.

Yes, my tooth began getting seriously unhappy Thursday night when anything touched it at any temperature at all. My dentist office is usually closed on Fridays, so most of my recent run of tooth problems happen late on Thursday. [I’m betting there’s a Murphy’s Law for this phenomenon] This time, the office is closed until next Thursday. Their emergency instructions send you in an infinite loop leading nowhere. I plan to mention this next visit with an UNhappy face.

There are emergency numbers for dentists in Roanoke–only IF you are a registered patient of that dentist or clinic.

Montgomery Hospital ER just laughed. Lewis Gale Roanoke ER did pretty much the same.

Dental problems can become central nervous system (as in brain) problems and they can become heart problems (periodontal endocarditis.) Not to mention the pain is cut-your-own-arm-off intense.

Thirty six hours of 500mg Amoxicillin (4x a day) has not touched it. I am running out of other options that the busy intersection, and even that is a major problem in Floyd County. Ya know?

I’ve left messages on strange dentist’s answering machines in a 50 mile radius. Fat chance on a holiday weekend they will check before late Monday.

We have $2k of plane tickets for Monday. This is not shaping up to be the trip I had looked forward to. Better to travel hopefully than to arrive. Right, kids?

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. I’ve been in this exact same situation and feel for you. It’s now 2 days since the post so I hope you have found help. For my situation because of the delay in attention an infection caused my jaw to swell immensely and the by the time I saw a dentist he immediately sent me to the emergency room saying it was life threatening and wouldn’t touch it. If I had went to the emergency room first they wouldn’t have touched it and probably would have sent me to a dentist. I ended up having oral surgery to remove the tooth and infection. Painful memories I don’t want to relive again.