Ed Levine's Caloric Journey, Week 181: The Dentist Diet, Painfully Effective


[Flickr: Bonita Sarita]

Although I wouldn't wish what I have gone through this week on anyone, I have to say that five visits to a dentist in four days is certainly an effective caloric journey enhancer.

My teeth and gums had been hurting all last week, but I certainly wasn't going to go to the dentist before the Sandwich Fest. I didn't eat much there anyway, but not because of my sandwich fest planning. I was just too busy.

But by last Sunday my mouth was killing me, so I went to the dentist on Monday. I told him the roof of my mouth was swollen, especially on my right side. He gave that side of my mouth an ultrasonic cleaning. He told me to eat soft food, chew on the left side, and try to limit myself to room temperature foods. I had hummus and pita bread for dinner.

It hurt even worse on Tuesday, so I went back to the dentist Tuesday afternoon. I told him my lower right teeth were also hurting. He took some more x-rays and sent me on my way. I even stayed home from HQ on Tuesday. I wasn't taking any chances, so I ate very little on Tuesday. I mostly drank room temperature water.

My mouth hurt all through Wednesday, when my dentist's office was closed so that the whole crew could go to a seminar (I hope it was on patient pain management). It hurt so much at that point that I ate very little that day, because I didn't want to irritate the inflamed area by chewing or even drinking.

But all this didn't prepare me for Thursday.

I went back to the dentist for a third time on Thursday morning. He examined me yet again, and finally noticed that one tooth on the upper right side of my mouth was so sensitive he thought it might be an abscess that demanded treatment by a specialist, a root canal specialist.

I went directly from the dentist to the specialist (that would be four visits to the dentist to those of you interested in counting). He examined me and took some very fancy and expensive 3D x-rays (think Avatar for teeth), and determined that I indeed needed a root canal procedure on the damaged tooth.

His assistant told me to come back at 2:45 (visit number five) for the procedure. She also went out of her way to tell me to have a good, substantial lunch in the interim because I was only going to be able to eat liquids for the two days following the root canal procedure.

I had half a BLT from 'wichcraft, which would have been perfect with two more slices of bacon, corn salad with pesto, and a seriously delicious mixed berry mini-pie, and I do mean seriously delicious: berries were firm and not goopy, and the streusel crust was light and flaky.

I went back for the procedure, which went smoothly, and I spent last night recovering and in varying amounts of pain. I'm already feeling much better.

I had gotten on the scale on Wednesday, halfway through my dental nightmare, and I had indeed lost some weight while all this was going on. As I say, I wouldn't recommend it as a caloric journey any other serious eater should embark on, but it was painfully effective.