Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Dental Marathon

I really should be sleeping right now, but I wanted to get a little bit of writing in before I put my head on the pillow and crash. And I wanted to write about something I’ve been dealing with for quite a while because I simply need to vent about it.

I had my teeth cleaned this morning. Believe me when I say that I can definitely think of better things I’d rather have been doing – like sleeping. But it had to be done; like clockwork I’m in the chair twice a year to ensure that my dental health is as it should be. It is a pain in the tuchus to do this, but I really like my teeth. I’ve had them ever since I was a small child and they are sort of attached to me and I to them. So I will do whatever I have to so that I can keep them.

When I went this past January I’d been having trouble with a post and crown that had been installed about 10 years ago. The area around the root canal loosened up and the crown (along with the post) came out. When I was seen for that cleaning I made the dentist aware of this problem so that we could work out a plan to fix it. What ended up happening was something I never expected, and there is more that is going to happen, I suspect, as a result of all of that.

First, she informed me that the dentist who did the original work didn’t leave enough tooth for her to put a replacement post and crown back on. I’ve been referred to an Endodontist and a Periodontist to have further repair work performed. I saw the Endodontist last week and he told me that if he were to find any cracks in the root canal I would likely lose what is left of the tooth. Then we go to Plan B, whatever, that is.

If I do make it to the Periodontist, he’s going to perform a surgical procedure on my gum around the tooth to extend the area of available surface. And I think that’s going to hurt because of the instructions I’ve been told about in advance. And they involve applying ice packs and using pain medication.

It’s not the ice packs I’m concerned about. It’s the drugs. I don’t like them.

To add to all of this, I still have all 4 of my wisdom teeth. At age 48. I never had to deal with them, and when they were last assessed about 10 years ago I was told at that time the roots are attached to my mandible and it would be extremely risky to remove them as the work could do damage to the nerve endings in my lower face. Due to some other problems I’ve encountered, I now have a pocket on each side between my rear-most molars and my bottom wisdom teeth. So we need to look and see if there is a possibility of weakening of bone tissue around there. If there is, then the issue of removal of these teeth will need to be re-visited.

This is all stuff that needs to be done, and as I said, I do like my own teeth. It is just marathon-like in the way things are working out.

I will be incredibly happy when it is over with.

6 comments:

Susie Hemingway said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Susie Hemingway said...

Lets try again!
Susie Hemingway said...
I wish you well with all that - it sounds like a bit of a long saga for you and expensive too! but how important to keep going with all the treatment keeping the rest of you healthy. I also work hard at teeth care and even at my age! feel it is important - new links now showing, that lack of care could lead to heart problems later on (have you heard that)
Good luck with it all - update us if you can.

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Walt Trachim said...

Indeed, Susie. All of this for one tooth.

For the most part my mouth is quite healthy. I just had a bit of bad luck with this one tooth.

As for the heart-related stuff that can happen, I am aware of the issues that have been reported. It makes sense; the mouth is quite vascular and it a really good, fast route into the coronary circulation. Jon, my son, has a murmur and has had to take anti-biotics before having dental work since he was a child (he's 20 now) because of this. The possibility of infection of the endocardium is something that has to be considered, so he does what he has to.

I will certainly be talking about this over the next few days.

Karen Brook Westhaver said...

I can so relate, Walt. I'm thinking "Plan B" is likely an implant if your original tooth has to go. I admire your courageous stick-to-it-iveness about something where the process is anxiety provoking and pricey. But as you've been saying, it's really worth it.

George said...

Marathon – just liked the word. You were passed into specialty dentist as if you were a character of a tooth story – a guinea pig for your own good. And just like you do, I love my teeth as well. Aside from they were with me ever since I've eaten my first solid meal, they were grinding whilst I'm asleep.
Bruxism. They scientifically call it that way. It's their call – the call of the dentist. Clemson Sc study groups have been re-studying this disorder for years and came up with new findings. More than stress and over-excitement, there were several prescription drugs that led me to unconscious grinding.
Back to you, having four of your wisdom teeth still in there is a healthy deal. You are 48 and you take care of your teeth more than well. And it is well managed by your dentist.
Easley Sc
teeth experts say that having a good set at that age is completely healthy.
By the way, great writing!