I keep telling people that this one molar has a whopping cavity in it because when I got in the 9th grade it hurt so bad that I screamed and cried and made my dentist cry. Well, today I learned something completely different.
The weirdness of the human body is such that its sides don’t match, sometimes extremely so. In me, my teeth are more crooked on the right side of my mouth than on my left. And on my right side is the molar mentioned above, which likes to act up according to my menstrual cycle. Its filling was changed almost two years ago, and the dentist said I might feel that the filling was too shallow. I finally decided it was and was back in the dentist’s chair today. After making sure my tooth had no cracks (it didn’t), my dentist set to work.
She managed to remove the old filling without anesthesia, and put in a new one without me hardly batting an eye. I was surprised at how easy and nearly painless the whole thing was. “Man, you’re good!” I said to my dentist. She said she was equally impressed with me. I said that that was my biggest filling so I usually wanted anesthesia. That’s when she told me it wasn’t my biggest, not even my second-biggest. In fact, it was quite the shallow filling.
She showed me the X-rays. She pointed to the other biggies and I suddenly realized why my dentist when I was in 9th grade was so surprised at my reaction. Of course he wasn’t expecting so much pain out of such a shallow cavity! My current dentist explained how fine nerves thread out in the teeth, and with age they tend to retract. They like a certain distance between themselves and the surface. But in this particular molar, my nerves apparantly not only stretch up a bit high, but also don’t have the sense to stop doing that.
I am happy, though, to discover this tooth doesn’t have the whopping cavity I thought it had. And it took me only 30 years to find out.