I had a visit with my dentist the other day. Turns out I actually had a cavity! Come on! I haven't had one of those in years. I've had lots of other issues, like root canals on teeth with huge ancient fillings that crack and allow bacteria in to abscess the damn thing. And crowns and bridges that cost an absolute fortune, even with dental insurance. But a cavity!?!?
Well, it turns out that a molar on the bottom right, that was crowned years ago because of a filling that was falling apart (no root canal on this one), developed a little cavity at the gum line, between it and the tooth behind it. I only noticed it when I flossed and then it was a bit sensitive. So when I went in for my cleaning, I mentioned it. Xrays showed a cavity.
Well, this little inconvenience necessitated another visit. Which necessitated the green rubber dam rigged in my mouth to prevent bits of metal and tooth getting impaled in my oral tissues.
Once the crown was cut away and the cavity cleaned out and filled, the hygienist mixed up this paste, put it on a holder and had me bite down and hold the thing in place for two minutes. Because I have to have a new crown made. To replace the one that was now cut into a zillion little metal shards. Which will cost me over $400 - and that is just my half of the cost - Blue Cross pays the other half. I thought the crowns on the top were going to pop off when I tried to open my mouth after the two minutes were up. That goop really gloms onto your teeth! They take impressions of the upper and lower teeth to get the shape and bite right for the new crown.
Once I head back to the dentist in a week and a half, I will end up with a new one of these:
Right now, I have a temporary crown on to keep the tooth stump protected. It doesn't fit very well (it is just a generic tooth, after all) and it is quite rough from her trimming it to fit my bite, but it does the job and won't be there for long.
The biggest inconvenience of this whole day was the amount of freezing she had to use! Because she had to spend time cutting off the crown, filling the cavity and then fitting the temporary crown, she gave me two needles of anaesthetic. So my face was frozen from the centre of my mouth to the middle of my ear and from the bottom of my chin up to just below my eye. Half of my nose was numb so only one nostril could flare if I tried to take a deep breath in. I couldn't feel the front part of my ear but the back part had normal sensation. The numbness even extended into my hair above my ear for a couple of inches.
But the biggest thing was my tongue! The right side of my tongue was totally frozen, so I had a speech impediment for most of the afternoon. I talked like I had cotton balls or marbles in my mouth. And I had to go to work at 3:30.... I didn't have any lunch because I didn't want to bite the bejeezus out of my tongue and cheek. Drinking a pop out of a can was a challenge - I couldn't tell if I was drooling on the right side or not until it rolled off my chin and hit flesh that felt!
So I went to work, mumbling and drooling and smiling with half my face. One of my patients asked me if I was okay because I didn't look so good. When I laughed, he did too, because I looked like this:
It probably took until mid evening for all the freezing to wear off. I had soup for supper to protect my delicate oral tissues from mastication. Next week I can look forward to a shorter visit, hopefully with less or even no freezing, for my shiny new crown.
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