January 16, 2008

My poor chompers

I opened a fortune cookie the other day and my fortune was, "The key to success is becoming Shelby's dentist."


After a wee mishap early Monday morning, I saw our dentist today. The news was not good. The news wasn't great last time either, but we were hoping for slightly better news, which we did not get. There are several things wrong with my teeth. On one side, I had a crown put in but the dentist did a poor job and now I get food and stuff stuck in between that and my other teeth, along with collecting a great deal of plaque at the gumline. That needs to go. I also have two very old fillings in the teeth on either side of my two top front teeth. They're falling apart and need to be replaced. And then there's the left side of my mouth.

On the bottom left I have a sensitive tooth. That particular tooth has been sensitive for a long time--probably more than a year. We started attempting to treat this sensitive tooth back in August. First I got a prescription paste to put on it. That didn't work, so they took a little mold of my teeth and made a little tray to hold the paste on. Still didn't work, so we upgraded to super-duper flouride gel. Guess what? Still not working.

Additionally, directly above that I have another sensitive tooth. This one is actively getting worse. No mysteries there, the dentist saw 3 small fractures. Yay. Now another part of my problem is that I grind my teeth at night. I had a night guard once but it fell out of my mouth and a then-puppy Scout used it as a very exciting chew toy. So I had to get a new one made. It's working well--my jaw doesn't hurt anymore--but there's at least one area where my a tooth has created a groove. I must really clench my teeth hard! Anyway, the hope was that by stopping the grinding, the fractured tooth would be okay.

That doesn't appear to have panned out. So now I have to go to the endodontist to see if either of these two teeth are viable. I've decided that viable is a very bad word to hear when you're discussing your teeth. If they're not, I get 2 root canals.

PLUS--I have a very big fear of the dentist and a great deal of anxiety over dental work in general, thanks to some brutality in my earlier career as a dental patient. For most people, it's the pain of the shots and then the sound of the drill. For me it's the fact that my mouth never stays numb and it's the feel of the drill--that grinding sensation that wearing my iPod isn't going to cover up. In fact, this feeling has spread to other areas of my life. I cannot file my nails--just thinking about it makes me want to throw up. I had one manicure and pedicure in my entire life and overall I have to say I really hated it. I also want to start crying when I hear sawing metal.

Due to the above problems and amount of dental work I'm going to need, my sainted dentist (whom I really like--he's very smart) suggested that I might want to consider IV sedation. No sooner were the letters "IV..." out of his mouth that I sprang up out of the chair, punched my fist in the air, and said, "HELL yeah! Sign me up!"

Okay, not really. I stayed seated.

So now it's a matter of sorting out what can be done and what can't be done, and what needs to be done, and when. Also, it's going to cost a lot of money. Yay.

Posted by Shelby at January 16, 2008 03:45 PM