The Source of the Problem

Over the past few weeks:

root-canalI’ve had some issues with a tooth that is dying. No…no graveyard in the future, however, as has been my “luck of the draw” another root canal looked like it is needed.

Neophyte, I am not, as I’ve had nearly a dozen root canals through my adult life. I can blame the problems on genetics and parental heritage, but the real problem is more “me” than “thee”. For some reason, my teeth struggle with staying alive. Root canals, Crowns and Implants. It seems to be my lot in life to have more problems that some, but surely not as many as others.

Why do we need root canals? There is something wrong with the tooth, decay and infection sets in deep in the roots and there is no easy way to fix that problem. My dentist said the old way of addressing the problem was to first prescribe antibiotics and see if the problem disappeared, but the new way was to be a little bit more aggressive with digging into the canal, clean it out, and pack it with rubber, and then repair the upper tooth with a filling or crown.

Through the years, my experience with root canals has been pretty seamless, except when they cannot get the tooth deadened properly. I’ve had to leave the appointment and wait a few days before trying the procedure again. One dentist explained that sometimes the sedation process gets diluted with blood from some little unseen vessel and it’s almost impossible to pump in enough deadening serum.

Even after a root canal is done there is not guarantee that the fix is complete – yes…I’ve had to have a root canal re-done because of continuing pain.

Since I accept the problem as mine, and mine alone, there are some extreme measures I’ve endured to keep my teeth repaired. My Wisdom teeth were extracted around the age of 40, and one dentist says this is very unusual. I even came awake while under IV sedation and they had to pump it up a notch to keep me sleeping.

As I age, I’m accepting that I either go the false teeth route or keep pumping insurance dollars to keep as many teeth as possible. With the inevitable retirement in the future I am unsure about dental care then, so I do everything I can not while there are some insurance dollars to defray the costs.

I write now as the numbness is going away with a tooth freshly killed. Dentist have specialties, of which one is the science of doing root canals… Endodontics. I appreciate someone who has a specialty to fix my problem!

While I’m sitting in the waiting room, and then in the comfortable dental chair, I got to thinking about all the pains we have with life. When we are experiencing these difficult times we look for something that will numb the edge so we can live in some semblance of normality. One popular song I remember, ” some drink to remember, others to forget” (Source – Eagles) and I suspect that must be the reason why so many require drugs, whether they be legal or illicit.

The Surgeon General, Vivek Murthy, stated that 1 in 7 American adults are addicted to some form of drug (Source). That’s over 21 million Americans which is a higher number than all American’s suffering with cancer. He goes on to state:

“We have to recognize (addiction) isn’t evidence of a character flaw or a moral failing,” Murthy said. “It’s a chronic disease of the brain that deserves the same compassion that any other chronic illness does, like diabetes or heart disease.”

This is an amazing thought. We are not guilty for our own attraction to something that will only make us addicts! Before I dismiss this as poppycock, I wonder if we could say the same thing about sin? We are attracted to something that is not right for us as the creation of God, or continually distracts us as we try to live righteous and holy. Right? We have no power over it.

First. We were created in the image of God, but through the disobedience of Adam and Eve, we were robed with a Sin Nature.  (Romans 5:12) Sin simply means “offense” and I like to describe it as “being at odds with God”. With the offense that was done in the garden, all of mankind’s actions leads to death. Complete and utter separation from God.

Secondly, and for the better thought, there is a reconciliation we can have with God when we ask for forgiveness as found in the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:12). But that forgiveness is withheld if we fail to forgive others. And for a different thought about sin, consider that Jesus describes it as a trespass – stepping into areas where you do not belong.

For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matthew 6:14-15 NKJV)

Connect all of this with healing. And my recently dead tooth. Can God restore it? Yes. Will he? Yes. No. Maybe… Who knows?


But my deeper thought is additionally this, that which was creating pain has been taken care of by a dentist who has a specialty in removing the hurt, rebuilding the canal, and making the tooth have a useful lifespan. For that I am very, very thankful! No more Orajel!

Even deeper are the remnants of an old song that came to me this morning.

I came to Jesus, weary, worn, and sad.
He took my sins away, He took my sins away.
And now His love has made my heart so glad,
He took my sins away.

If you are interested in the remainder of the song, it’s a simple click here….If you want to find a scriptural reference then I leave you with this…

And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. (1 John 3:5 NKJV)



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