Thursday, November 20, 2008

Almost in the No-Cavity Club!

I went to the dentist yesterday, after three years. (Don't lecture me, it was really only a little over two-and-a-half years, because when I called for the appointment, I couldn't get in for more than four months...) I didn't know what to expect, because, I have Figured Out, dental health is a cyclical process. I had bunches of fillings when I was younger, then a few years there when my reports were "clean." Then, in my 40's, my fillings either started falling out, or otherwise deteriorated, and needed replaced. For the past few years, I'm back in the "monitoring" cycle.

Ten years ago, I had a bad experience with a crown. Everything was going well, until the dentist put the Permanent Crown on. I had to bite down on a cotton wad for thirty seconds until the cement set. As I bit down, the tears literally rained down my face. It. hurt. so. bad. I mentioned it, and the dentist apologized, saying something like "it was probably because we had messed around in there so much" or something. I figured a couple of days would take care of the discomfort.

People, it was TEN MONTHS before I could chew on that side. I cancelled my next six-month checkup, but, after the ten months was over, I decided to give dental health another go-round. In the ensuing years, I let him do anything except Go Near That Tooth. However, I have had a lot of gum issues in that area. He warned against Bone Loss, and, three years ago, suggested that we Re-do That Crown. (sound of "Psycho" music with stabbing motion--eee! eee! eee!)

I said no, thank you.

You know about Pockets, don't you? The hygienist sticks a probe into the gum around the back, middle, and front of each tooth. 1's, 2's, and 3's are acceptable. I hear her going around my mouth: 2,3,3. 3,2,3. 2,2,2. 3,3,2. 2,1,2. (what?? I have a ONE?) Then, the Dreaded Crown Tooth: 6,7,6. People, Seven is not healthy.

I love the times in which we live. She took a little syringe thingy with anesthetic (no needle!) into the gums in the area. Then she took an sonic-wave thingy to remove the plaque. (no scraper--though it did "zing" me a couple of times. (Don't worry, though--the circulation in her wrist where I grabbed her, has probably come back by now.) Finally, a laser treatment to kill all bacteria. She said, "You may smell a little burning. Maybe see a puff of smoke. Hear some snap, crackle, pop sounds." As I smelled the acrid odor (how often do you get to use the word "acrid?"), she said, "that's just the laser, killing necrotic tissue." I felt like I was on CSI!

So, the end result is that I am starting with a Clean Slate. With good dental care, I should be maybe seeing some 5's by my next visit.

Then Dr. Bob came in. He said my only "cavity" was an old silver filling which had started to deteriorate. He'll just clean that one out in a minute, he said. But. We really need to talk about Replacing That Crown. It's Not Doing Well.

Yeah. Tell me about it.

I got out to the front office to check out. Which dentist would I like for my next appointment?
Gotta be Dr. Bob.

We have a History of Pain together.

1 comment :

Inglesidemom said...

My last filling was when I was 8 and we lived in the deep south with well water. I still remember walking into the steak house for lunch afterwards (???) and not being able to feel my mouth.