Friday, May 3, 2013

10 Easy Steps to Enjoying the Best New York City Spring by Getting a Root Canal*

Cherry Blossoms, Flatiron Building, bird and Penske truck. 
Spring in New York City is a magical time when the city gets blanketed by pink cherry blossom clouds. The air  fills with tear inducing pollen which makes everything look even more beautiful. After months of being burdened with thick coats cloaking them in darkness, New York City residents shed layers and start wearing happy colors. The relief is palpable in the city and some people even start to smile.

Part of what makes spring amazing is that suddenly beautiful things start popping up where there was nothing before. As someone who didn't grow up with seasons, this never fails to amaze me. However, if you have become inured to nature's tricks, there's still hope for you. In order to regain that sense of wonder and relief, you must first go through a series of exercises that will help you by offering a sense of perspective. In order to make the most out of the experience, I suggest a root canal.

Step 1 - Fracture your face*
Though this is not strictly necessary in order to get a root canal, it will help confuse matters. The best way to fracture your face is by playing some obscure and mildly dangerous game like broomball and taking it too seriously, but any sport will do. When you fracture your face, make sure you get told that you have nerve damage in your cheek and that pain might continue to flare up years later, particularly when there are changes in weather.

Step 2 - Go on a road trip
This gives your facial pain a good reason to flare up. I recommend traveling the backroads of Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Louisiana. They are beautiful enough to help you forget the pain that is now throbbing in your cheek. You'll start wondering if it's your old fracture or a problem with a tooth but your reluctance to get it checked out on New Year's Eve at the office of a small town Tennessee dentist will help maximize the pain.

Colter by the tracks by the Shack Up Inn in MS. He wasn't having any tooth pain.

Step 3 - See a dentist
Go see your regular dentist as soon as possible. Going early in January if you were having pain over New Year's works well. Have him tell you everything checks out fine. Have him tell you it was probably congestion and that if it comes back again, to first try decongestants and see if that helps. 

Step 4 - Travel 
Everyone knows tooth pain likes to come back when you travel. A third world country is best, particularly if that third world country is your home and where your parents live and you haven't visited in two years. But really, any trip will do because who plans a vacation and includes possible dental or other emergencies in the itinerary?

Step 5- Take decongestants*
Once you get back home, or while traveling if you can get your hands on them, stuff yourself with decongestants. If they don't work, try following the instructions. If they still don't work, try stronger decongestants. Repeat no more than twice, then start panicking wondering if this is what the rest of your life will be like: debilitating facial pain and tissues stuck up your nose.

Step 6 - See a dentist
Not to be confused with Step 3.  Make sure there is a three to four month gap between Steps 3 and 6 for maximum benefit. Have him refer you to an endodontist, but first have your new dentist thoroughly check your tooth until you almost involuntarily kick him as you jump out of the chair in pain. Don't kick your dentist.

Step 7 - See an endodontist
If you've done this right, you have now waited long enough for your root to have fully died. Have the endodontist confirm that you need a root canal. There is now dead tissue in your face getting infected which will require two trips to get the root canal procedure completed instead of the customary one.
View from the endodontist's chair.

Step 8 - Stock up on soft foods
Since you haven't been able to properly chew since back around Step 5, make sure you keep soft foods handy. Paté, hummus, and anything that's been put through the food processor works well. Disclaimer: eating only soft or liquid foods won't keep you from being hungry. Keep your loved ones at a proper distance to ensure their safety.

Step 9 - Go back to the dentist and get a crown
This step is far less fun than Disney will have you believe. Putting on a crown is what they do in order to make what's left of your mangled tooth work like a proper tooth. After this you can eat like a human again.

This process takes about three visits. Since both endodontist and dentists visits include about three numbing shots in your gums and require recovery time, they're spaced about a week apart. What this means is that for about five weeks for half the week you'll be in pain from your last visit, then you have a few days of relief and mandibular freedom before you go in for the next round. Make the most out of those days. Eat a fried burger if that's your thing.

These five weeks will give you the necessary perspective to properly enjoy a time in your life when you don't have to go to the dentist on a weekly basis.

Step 10 - Enjoy Spring in New York!
After a long winter that didn't know enough to leave when it had overstayed its welcome, Spring finally arrived in New York City in all it's daffodil and tulip glory. Go out and enjoy it!
Strut your new shiny crown! You deserve it!

Go eat. Because you can.

Giant tulips trying to take over Madison Square Park.

*Do not try this at home. 

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