Personal Stories – The End of My Bad Tooth

    Wednesday continued the story of my bad teeth.  This was the big day when the tooth that was being reabsorbed by my body would be removed.  Although my previous tooth removals were horrors, I wasn't very nervous about part of my body being pulled out.  I would have been nervous, but the appointment was postponed for a week and my anxieties sort of wore out.  For the curious, my periodontist had the flu. 

    I took this picture the morning before my appointment.  It is tough to see, but the second upper tooth from the right is a little rosy near the gum line.  That is the color of the pulp pushing through the hole in the tooth that was created by the resorption.  The tooth being hollow, the periodontist warned me that it could break in half.  For the last two weeks I've been cutting my sandwiches into little squares so my tooth wouldn't break off as I bit into them.

    I scheduled the extraction for the afternoon because I would definitely not be back at work once the tooth was removed.  The procedure went really well.  My periodontist, who is great by the way, numbed me up well.  I felt nothing but gentle tugging.  In fact, this was the most painless dental appointment I have ever had.  The tooth broke in half as expected.  In order to remove the portion embedded in my jaw, the periodontist drilled in a screw and then ratcheted the tooth out.  After a few clicks I felt a tug and that was that.  This is what my mouth looks like now.

    After the appointment, I just wanted to crawl into a hole.  My empty socket oozed blood and I was drooling all over myself.  I spent the entire afternoon and evening changing bloody gauze pads.  My dear wife bought me a multi-pack of gauze when the periodontist's samples ran out.  She was a real trooper considering she cannot stand the sight of blood or even descriptions of what blood might look like.  My little baby was a little freaked about by my smile-less blood oozing look.  It was fun to hear my wife read and sing little man to sleep.  As part of my soft and cold things diet, I ate puddings for dinner.  I kept thinking about food getting into my socket and blood trickling down my throat. 

    That night I went back to the office after I was sure everyone else had gone home.  Looking up at my computer monitor kept the blood and saliva off my files.  I was worried that I would bleed all over myself in my sleep so I tried one of the tricks listed on my take home instructions from the periodontist: bite on a moistened tea bag.  Something in tea helps blood to clot.  So I sat at work typing up some legal document with a tea bag in my mouth and drooling tea all over myself.  I was in a bad place night.     

    The next day did not involve any bleeding and it was my first day wearing the temporary denture.  The temporary denture is like a thin plastic mouth guard with a single plastic tooth stuck in it.  When I wear it, my teeth look a bit shinier than normal.  Th temporary replacement for my missing tooth is a little whiter than my other teeth.  (One of the many blows to the ego from visiting the dentist is the rating of your teeth on the yellow scale.)  As attractive as the temporary denture is, it scratches the insides of my mouth and is generally noticeable 95% of the time.  However, I do not look like a hillbilly or a pirate when I wear it, so I will begrudgingly put up with it for now.

    The moral of this story is this: keep your teeth.  Losing my tooth really sucked and still sucks.  I feel bad about it, I cannot eat crunchy foods that could get jammed into my socket, and the cost of a replacement tooth has totally ruined my families' budget.  It is better to keep the teeth you have.  

    This is not the end of my saga.  In two months the periodontist will insert a titanium screw into my jaw and two months after that my regular dentist will glue a permanent replacement tooth onto the titanium screw.  Should be good times.

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