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Very helpful member
Dec 11, 2014
We just returned from our four-week long spring trip to Yellowstone. We stayed in the Madison campground (in our trailer) for 29 nights. It was a wonderful trip and I will write a trip report for it soon.

One adventure we did not expect was the need for me to have an emergency root canal. I thought I would share my experience in the hopes that it might be helpful to others.

I noticed an odd feeling in a tooth on the Sunday of Memorial weekend. By Monday it was quite painful. I figured that since I am a manly man, I would just endure the discomfort for a couple of weeks and have my normal dentist investigate when we returned.

My wife was of the opinion that I should see a dentist immediately.

By day four I admitted that I was really not a manly man at all, but was simply a whimpering boy instead. I reluctantly followed my wife's advice and started looking for a dentist. I hate going to the dentist!

We drove the 14 miles to West Yellowstone where we had cell phone coverage. I called all 4 dentists that were within a 2 hour drive and made an appointment with the only one that could see me that day. As a bonus, that dentist's office was wheelchair friendly and accepted my dental insurance;).

The dentist found that I had a cracked tooth with an abscess and needed a root canal ASAP. It took 3 trips to the dentist to get all the work finished.

The dentist and his staff were beyond wonderful. They were very respectful of my breathing and aspiration issues. They suctioned a lot and I was never at risk of aspiration (though it sure felt that way at times). They gave me many breaks and were careful to position me so that I could breathe. It was a bit unnerving, but worked out very, very well.

I got really lucky that a great dentist was available on short notice. I also learned a few lessons.

1. I should listen to my wife a bit more (but don't tell her I said that;)).
2. Tooth pain is a bit like respiratory issues. Get it looked at right away. By delaying I wound up with a much worse infection that went to my sinus. I am lucky it was not worse.
3. A good dentist can accommodate respiratory and aspiration issues (at least at the level I have them).

After the initial 2.5 hour session I thanked the dentist and his assistant for being able to see me and doing the root canal. They told me that few of their patients were happy to have a root canal done. But, I sure was. The relief was nearly immediate.

So glad you were able to find such a great dentist that could accommodate your needs so quickly. I too hate going to the dentist. Of course you should listen to your wife more, lol!
Ouch ! ! - - - but what a vacation !
I hate going to a dentist! Glad you were able to find a good dentist quickly so vacation was enjoyed! Looking forward to the rest of the trip report.

Hi Steve,

What a timely post, for me.

I've known for three years that I had a crack in a crown that is in one of my front teeth. My dentist passed away about three years ago and, all I've done since then was to go in for yearly cleanings (thankfully I'm not a plaque producer and they always marvel at how clean my teeth are for waiting a year.)

Anyway, if you can handle a root canal, I can handle replacing a crown. I no longer have dental insurance so I expect it to set me back around $1,200 but I think I have the courage to do it.

I hate dental appointments, too. I have a vestibular issue that renders me dizzy when tipped back (sometimes.) That, with the TMJ disorder and neck issues, makes it a challenge.

OK, I'm going to call tomorrow because if the cracked crown came off, I'd be in trouble....and pain.

Can't wait to hear about your trip.
Welcome back Steve. Good to hear that the dental issues were resolved as good as could be hoped for. Can't wait to hear about your vacation, I will live vicariously reading all about's one of my favorite areas in the country. Kate

I know about vestibular issues and the dentist, as I too suffer from Meniere's disease. The dentist also took care of me with regards to vertigo issues when leaning me back.

If you find a good dentist, they will be aware of and know how to help mitigate some of the effects of vertigo. At my regular dentist, the dental hygienists cleans my teeth while she is standing up so that she does not have to tilt me back as far.

She assures me it is good for her to take a break from sitting and doing this all day. I think she is just being extra nice to me. It really does help.

Did I mention that I hate going to the dentist? I truly do. On the way to the first dental appointment for the root canal my wife reminded me of the musical The Little Shop of Horrors, where Steve Martin plays a gleefully sadistic dentist. It is a great movie, but I really did not need to hear her rendition of one of the songs on the way to the dentist;).

Hi Steve....
Is it totally wrong that I'm now trying to figure out how Audrey II would snack on the wheels?

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