Wednesday, October 8, 2014

"And That's Why I Almost Fainted At The Dentist's..."

I totally blame the show "Bones" for this...

I went to the dentist today to have a molar pulled.  It was one of those so-called "twelve year molars" because they tend to come in when we're twelve or so, the last to come in before the wisdom teeth.   Second molars, I think, is the official name.

My second molars were crooked and very hard to clean, and thus, they had issues.  I had the second molar on the upper right pulled four years ago because it had a cavity that went nuclear, to the point of needing a root canal.  My dentist poked and prodded around the tooth for some time before finally sitting up and saying, "Well, I could do a root canal on this thing, but... I should probably send you to an oral surgeon for that."

Now, you have to understand, I am a huge chicken when it comes to dentists, for a very good reason.  My first introduction to a dentist was the Dentist From Hell when I was four.  It was very traumatizing, to the point that even to this day, I break out in a cold sweat just thinking about him.  My parents found a kind, gentle, non-threatening dentist after that who worked very hard to help me overcome my fears.  When I hid under the dental chair from him, he plopped down on the floor and talked quietly to me, singing and telling me stories until I came out again.  He's the only reason I can even contemplate going to a dentist now.

And the dentist I'm seeing now is AWESOME, he totally understands that I'm a huge chicken about dental matters and why, and he does an awesome job at making sure I don't feel a damn thing when he works on me, and his work is faultless.  I trust him completely, because he's really good about warning me before he does something, and understands my thing about needles and works to accommodate that.  And really, that's all I ask.

So when this dentist that I trust told me he may have to send me to someone else, you can imagine my dismay.  So I asked why.  And he said, "Well, the thing is, I'd have to put you under anesthesia and dislocate your jaw just so I could have a hope of getting back there," he said frankly.  "And even with that, there's no guarantee that I wouldn't break your jaw, your mouth is just that small.  An oral surgeon would be a better bet for you on that front."

So I thought about it and asked, "Do I need this tooth?  I mean, is it necessary to keep my teeth in line or do I chew on it?"

"No," he said, after checking it again.  "In fact, I can safely say you've never chewed anything with that tooth.  There's nothing under it, either.  It can come out if you want."

So that's what I did.  He pulled it out, and after all the pain meds wore off, I suddenly realized a neuro-facial pain I'd had for years, so long I'd hardly noticed it anymore, except when I had a migraine, was gone.  The roots of that tooth had been pressing on nerves and I had no idea.  I still get migraines, but they haven't been so bad since that tooth came out!

So, recently, I started having pain in the upper left second molar.  Mostly just low level pain, but every once in a while, something would fire off the nerves on that side of my face and that tooth would hurt!!  It would cause major pain that would fade to minor twinges, then back again.  So, I went in to have it looked at in September and again, he found a cavity.

"I could fill it," he said with a frown.  "But..."

"Let me guess," I said, "you'd have to dislocate my jaw just to get at it?"

"The cavity is on the back of that tooth right where you're having a hard time cleaning it," he said.  "It could be filled, but I'd have to send you to an oral surgeon to have it done, because I can't get to it without hurting you, and I refuse to hurt you."

So, after some discussion, we decided to pull it.  And that was what we did today.

Oddly enough, it wasn't as difficult to take out as the other one.  In fact, he sat back a lot sooner than I expected and said, "Okay!" and I frowned and said, "What?  That's it?  You're done??"

"Yep!" he said with a grin.  "And you came through it beautifully!"

Now, I almost fainted three times during this visit, which is unusual for me.  I usually manage to stay pretty calm, despite my anxiety.  My philosophy is this is something that needs to get done, there's no use freaking out, crying, or fighting because that just makes it harder for everyone involved and makes it take longer. I'm all for keeping it quick and efficient!

But today?  *sigh*

The first time was because of the needles.  This dentist uses a gel to numb the gums before giving a shot, which works most excellently.  And that was great, except on the last shot, I was very much aware of the fact I had a needle in my gum because he had to lay the syringe across my lip while the needle was still in my gum.  So after it was all over, I got all woozy and light headed and the dental assistant was quick to set the chair so my head was lower than my feet.  Yay.

She also distracted me with a cooking show that was on the Food Network, which worked excellently well because the cook (I have no idea who she was) was completely incompetent and doing things WRONG and I couldn't help pointing it out!

The second time, the dentist raised my chair a little too quickly, but you know, he was trying to reduce the risk of excess bleeding, and I'm totally cool with that. I'm just not cool with, you know, face-planting on that hard, hard floor they have in the treatment rooms!  I remember telling the dental assistant that my chair needed to be lowered before I pitched face-first off it and went SPLAT!

The third time was all "Bones" fault.

See, I could hear the moment the tooth released from my skull, could hear the faint crackle and cricks and thought, "Huh, wonder what the micro-fracturing looks like, and how long it'll take 'em to remodel?

And that's when my brain went, "Holy crap, are you actually analyzing micro-fracturing of your own friggin' skull???"

The world went kind of wobbly at that point.

I'm fine now, and recovering somewhat comfortably.  It's sore, but the pain is steady and bearable, as opposed to stabbing and acutely uncomfortable.

At this point, I'm ready for a glass of ice tea and maybe to take another nap, because the pain meds are kicking in and... oooooo, lookit all the pretty colors...

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