As I write this I am sitting here with a big crater in my mouth because I had #18 extracted yesterday. Though it only took a few minutes to take this tooth out of the back of my mouth, it was quite a process to get to that point and I still have quite a process to go through before it is over.

The trouble I have had with this tooth and the process I am going through is very similar to many other difficulties and challenges that we may face in life. I am firm believer that we can learn from everything we deal with and I think there are a few things we can learn from the tooth team and the process of fixing my problem.

Pain Is A Sign Of Something Wrong

Whether in our physical bodies or some other area of life, pain is a sign that something is wrong. The pain I had in my tooth was not a sudden problem. Actually, I have had some minor repairs over the years to that tooth. In the last couple of years it became apparent that there was a crack that could not be seen as it would get aggravated. When that would happen, I would manage it with ibuprofen for relief. This time, however, it returned with a vengeance. I went to visit my regular dentist as soon as I could and he told me it was infected. He recommended we take action. It would take more than ibuprofen this time.

We cannot ignore pain in our life. It is usually trying to tell us something. Sometimes we can pacify the pain with some minor adjustment but usually the problem is still there. Though we may be able to live with some minor irritations, those irritations can become much bigger problems over time.

The Source Of Pain Is Sometimes Not Clear

I thought I knew what tooth was bothering me but at times it was unclear. Sometimes when it would hurt, the tooth beside it would hurt as well as the one above it. My dentist explained that the nerves are interconnected and sometimes it is difficult to tell which tooth it is without some tests.

The source of pain in our lives is not always clear. Sometimes we feel pain in our marriage or career and it is not clear as to the source. Our lives and relationships are often so interconnected that it may take some time and focus to clearly understand what the source of our problem is. Pain may get our attention but we will need to focus to make sure we address the right problem.

Each Person Has A Different Perspective

The first person I went to was my dentist. He looked at the tooth as he had done before and took X-rays. It was pretty clear there was an infection so he referred me to another doctor for a root canal. An appointment was made and I went to see this doctor for a root canal. Upon examining my tooth he felt a root canal would not solve the problem because he thought the crack was too deep for a crown to work. He said it would need to be extracted and an implant would need to be placed. Another doctor would need to do this procedure. He referred me back to my dentist who made an appointment with this other doctor to give a consultation to remove the tooth and provide an implant. This doctor thought that was the right call and we set a time to get it done.

There are a lot of people who can help with your pain but you need to know that each of them will have a different perspective. Each person’s point of view may be beneficial. You will have to follow their direction long enough until you get the correct answer. The good thing is that each of them knew their limitations and were willing to point me to someone else who could help further. One person in your life will rarely have all of the answers. Hopefully they will have enough humility to pass you to the right person.

The Process Of Healing Takes Time

This is probably the most difficult part. From the day I first had a problem until the tooth was extracted was almost three weeks, I struggled. That is a long time with a bad tooth. But that is not the end. Now that the tooth is extracted I have to wait about four months for it to heal before the implant can be inserted and then another two months before the crown can be installed. It will be close to seven months before this is over. That seems like a long time for a single tooth. But I think it will be worth it in the end.

The thing about pain and addressing issues in our life is that very few things are handled instantly. The process can take time, but the end result if often much better than what we had in the beginning. Being patient through the process can test us, but hang in there, the wait will be worth it.

I want to remind you to pay attention to your pain and practice learning in every situation. None of us are exempt from problems, but addressing it and working through the process will be rewarded in the end. Don’t ignore the pain. Deal with it and be patient to heal. You will be glad you did.

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