Being in denial usually doesn't work out in the long run.
By Sunday, the twinge had turned into an ache which woke me up in the night. So, I started rinsing with a salt water solution and went back to Listerine. (Which I hate--but it's supposed to be good for treating/preventing gingivitis.) It's not gingivitis, I told myself. After all, when I brushed my teeth, I wasn't seeing blood. (Gross, huh?) But, it hurt--just like it did last winter when I had gingivitis. So I stepped up the warm water salt solution rinses and Listerine.
By yesterday, it was pretty much hurting ALL DAY. I went online and read up on home remedies for gingivitis. Chew a whole clove. Good advice, except by that time I couldn't chew on that side of my mouth. What I needed was a prescription for antibiotics to get rid of the infection--just like last time.
At 4 p.m. I remembered that my Dentist (who also teaches the local teaching hospital) only had office hours three days a week, and if I wanted to get in to see her on Thursday, I'd better call NOW. Her wonderful receptionist said, "Can you come in now?"
So there I was, tail between my legs, because I had promised to floss better so I wouldn't get gingivitis again. And guess what--I must've done a good job because I don't have gingivitis--I have an abscess!
Holy crap--of all the dental mishaps I've had over the years, I've never had an abscess. My dentist told me it was a good thing I came in when I did, because within a day or so I would've had a swollen face -- just in time for a library gig I have next week.
Of course, when I asked if I'd need a root canal she said, "You already had a root canal on this tooth." Yeah, about twenty years ago.
I have three "treatment" options--and all of them cost about $3,000. Or, once the infection is cleared up, I might not have to do anything for years. It's all a crapshoot.
So, I came away with the prescription I knew I was going to get, but now I have a whole lot more to worry about.