Amory S. on Insider Pages
12 years ago
09/19/2009, 08:39 AM
An excellent root canal
I found Dr. Ruddell by way of a bicycle accident.
Cruising down Marin in North Berkeley, time slowed as a car pulled across my lane. The driver turned and mouthed 'Oh, Sh*t'. I skidded, braced, and smashed into her window. My bicycle, which took the brunt of the impact, died a valorous death. My chin, which hit next, was a bloody mess. I had fragments of tooth in my mouth, and needed an emergency dentist.
Two days later Dr. Ruddell was able to see me. He made a quick evaluation of the damage, and advised a gold crown to repair a large chip on a molar and patch fillings for several smaller dings. He was patient with my questions as to the rationale for each procedure (for example, gold is softer than your teeth are, so a gold crown won't grind down its opposing tooth), and kept me informed as to what I might expect going forward. The work was done within two weeks.
A year on, the crowned tooth started throbbing, first a little bit, then with an intense consistency that couldn't be ignored. Dr. Ruddell had told me that traumatized teeth sometimes decide to give up the ghost long after their initial injury, and by the time I called in to schedule an appointment, I was pretty sure I'd be needing a root canal. The good doctor was able to see me the very same day, and walked me through the various scenarios. My X-ray didn't show the telltale signs of a rejected tooth, but my symptoms matched up. He said that the pain might subside on its own, but that if it didn't they were there for me. After gritting through another week, I made a call to schedule the procedure.
Molar root canals have a bad reputation, as one might expect of a procedure whose intent is to dig out a sizable chunk of nerve. Mine was no joy, but Dr. Ruddell made it tolerable. Properly Novocained, the procedure was completely painless. With two nerves nearly on top of one another, I had a particularly difficult tooth to work with, and the procedure took nearly three hours. However, the doctor and his assistant kept me informed of the situation throughout, and performed with a calm professionalism that left me confident in the work. After the operation, the doctor talked me through what they'd done and what I should expect. I got a phone call checking in the following day.
I'd prefer to have avoided the dentist's office entirely, to have persisted in my tooth brushing without a need for professional advice. Having suffered serious tooth trauma, however, I'm thankful that dentists like Dr. Ruddell are out there. Highly recommended.