Tuesday afternoon, I was sitting here at my desk, tweeting rude comments to stupid people. Most likely Russian bots, but I was having a swell time of it.
For nibbles, I had a little bowl of in the shell sunflower seeds. Take a couple, pop into my mouth, crack with my teeth, fish out the seed with my tongue and spit out the shell. I had a fair sized pile of empty shells on the paper towel when it happened.
I bite down on the shell, pull the seed out and start to eat it. It's a crunchy one. A crunchy one? Did I get a piece of stalk or a bad seed? You know how sometimes that happens. I spit it out and proceed to the next shell waiting to be broken. Still little pieces of crunch. No, this isn't right.
I start to go through the pile of empty shells and to my amazement see some white pieces. I pick them out. Examine them closely. Oh, yeah. This is definitely not good. I put my tongue to work.
Well, hallelujah! Part of a molar is missing. It's as if someone took knife and sliced it down the middle and the back half or the tooth was still intact, but the front was gone. And it wasn't a tooth that had cracked, it was a crown. Half a crown is better than none, right? Just great.
It didn't hurt. At all. This is a tooth that's been giving me problems for at least five years now. It will hurt for a week or so, then not hurt. Not the debilitating toothache were you can barely move and all you can do is lay down and cry. Not that kind of bad toothache, just a soreness. And now, it will have to be addressed.
I'm sixty-four years old. We have no dental insurance. We've gotten some good sales so far this year, but Brian is investing in more stock/supplies for the company. Supplies he's been waiting on since last year finally came in and the price had gone up. That came close to emptying the bank account. Fixing this tooth is not in the budget. Not getting another crown, for sure. Cheapest way is removal.
Brian wasn't home when it happened and I waited until he got here to make the appointment. I called our dentist, explained the problem and they got me in at eight yesterday morning. The doctor took an x-ray, looked at it and turned to me. "I can't remove this, the root is too curved. You'll need to go to an oral surgeon. Would you like a referral?"
So, I settled up the bill, ($85) called Brian to come get me (the dentist is about five minutes away and I hadn't planned on leaving so soon) and got the referral. That appointment was at 10:45 yesterday morning.
We get there about five minutes early, I fill out the paperwork, they take me back and put me in a room. Take my blood pressure, ask if I'd like a blanket (no, I'm okay, I planned for this and wore sweatpants and a heavy sweatshirt). The doctor came in and talked a little, then shot some numbing agents in my cheek and jaw. Another woman came in and started asking about payment. I'd left my glasses with Brian and besides that, one of the injections into my face left me shaking like a leaf. My heart was racing and it was really kind of scary. I asked about it and she said it was the epinephrine, that it constricts the blood vessels and slows down the blood flow. Nice. Do not like this feeling.
Then I asked her, since I didn't have my glasses and was so shaky, if she could get Brian to take care of it. And she did.
Finally, I was taken into the back and the work was started.
Oh. Em. Gee.
They placed a cloth over my eyes. I could see down towards my body, but not up. I think this was to prevent blood spatter and old tooth matter from hitting me in my eyes. I'm dead serious. There was drilling. There was digging. There were multiple reminders to relax my tongue and keep it out of the way (hey, that's my tongue's home, you're just visiting!). My tongue finally got the message that it was safer for it to just stay put.
I watched in horror as he picked up a pair of vice grips and put them in my mouth. He'd attach them onto a piece of tooth and pull. It was not fun. At all. All of the tooth and root gone at last, he mentioned some infection below and started digging that out. He asked me if I'd been having any pain, but I hadn't. His job completed, gauze was placed in my mouth and verbal instructions given about after care. There were also printed out in my little after care bag, with a bunch of gauze pieces in a baggie and a lip balm with the practice's label. (That was really odd.)
I spent more time waiting in that little room than it took to remove the tooth. It was probably fifteen minutes for the surgery.
We left and got in the car, it was about 1:15, and on the way home I kept punching and slapping my face. I couldn't feel a damned thing. Someone could have hit me with a brick and I'd not have felt it.
I had been told to keep the gauze on for at least twenty minutes, then replace it as needed, as long as the hole was still bleeding. The pressure of the gauze helped to stop the bleeding and let the blood clot in that area.
Let me tell you about that hole. It felt like it took up at least half of the bottom part of my jaw. It was huge. I could most likely store a fun sized Snickers bar there. Huge, I tell you, it was huge. My face was a little swollen, my gums were definitely swollen. And the gauze was really uncomfortable.
When we got home, I took a couple of Advil (the doctor had asked if I needed something stronger for pain, like Vicodin, and after the bout with steroid constipation last year, I said I was okay). About fifteen minutes later, I took out the gauze. It was bloody, but I was confident the bleeding had stopped. Until a half hour later or so I put my finger over there and it came out dripping red. Yeah. I was wrong. I needed gauze.
The gauze pieces aren't big, but I was supposed to stack two or three, then fold them over and place them on the bleeding area. Every hour, I replaced the gauze. Brian was worried about sleeping with it in my mouth. I assured him it would be okay, my mouth being closed would keep it in place. I slept on the sofa because my head was supposed to stay elevated. I changed the gauze around eleven last night, took more Advil, then back to sleep. Changed the gauze again around three (the bleeding was much lighter by now) and back to sleep.
Since Brian wanted to leave this morning at six-thirty to pick up his order, I got up about five-thirty and cut the check he needed and did a little bit of paperwork, surfed the interwebs a little and then he came back with his cooler and said he was on his way. He left, I fried up a couple of eggs in butter, toasted some cinnamon bread, took my gauze out, ate breakfast, then put gauze back in.
Another nap, then watched a little television. Took the gauze and and there's only a little pink on tissues I put in now. I think it's good to go.
And that's the story of the first adult tooth that's gone forever.