Saturday, January 26, 2008

The whole tooth and nothing but the tooth

Those of you who know or have met me, you can't have helped but noticed that I have terrible teeth. Too many years of neglect coupled with sugary drinks have left my mouth looking a little like Boot Hill, only with considerably less dead cowboys.

It had gotten to the stage where I was terrified to go to the dentist. Not because I'm bothered by dental work (I'm no stranger to it having to have undergone many years of it in the past due to earlier dental problems) but solely through shame. Despite the sensible part of me knowing that dentists are just doing their jobs, another part of me didn't want to face the embarassment of having to sit there, open my mouth and present this grisly scene to them. I could be the poster boy for poor oral care.

Ultimate kudos to the girlfriend then for booking me an appointment at the dentist some three months back. She did exactly the right thing - she'd had too long of asking me to do so, me saying "Yeah" and then never bothering to do anything about it (and in all honesty, this utter shame meant I never would have).

Do you know what? They were great. The female dentist was understanding and made me feel completely at ease. They explained what they were going to do and that the problem in the sarlaac pit lurking in my mouth could actually be corrected.

They did the small stuff first; the odd filling here, a bit of root canal work. Painful, but it felt like something was getting done. They took impressions of my mouth ready for the big stuff - some crowns - and I was fitted with a temporary crown which was supposed to be in for one week before the permanent one would be ready from the lab.

And then it all went a bit wrong. The week after, the new permanent didn't fit, so they recemented the temporary - the old cement had only lasted two days. For one reason or another (another poor fit, dentist getting the norovirus) this temporary ended up being in for five weeks. Well, I say five weeks but each Friday visit to the dentist involved them having to recement it - the cement never lasted long and I'd have to carry a tube of poligrip around with me to have to recement it myself and stick it back into the hole.

Eating was a nightmare. Every mouthful of food would be accompanied by the fear that the temporary had dislodged, and more often than not it had. I'd read horror stories online about people who had swallowed their crowns - the biggest worry was that if I'd lost it my mouth would change shape again and the permanent would be delayed.

Then the glorious event. The permanent crown was a good fit and was cemented in, hopefully never to leave my mouth - and to their credit, one week down the line and it's still fine. The cementing of the teeth was accompanied by two extractions to prepare my mouth for a dental plate - I don't have to go back to the dentists for six months now while my gum heals and reshapes ready for the moulding.

Last Friday, Saturday and Sunday - fine. On Monday though the pain starts - first a gentle throbbing which I put down to the fact that the dentist nearly ripped my head off to remove the two teeth. It gets worse. Monday evening I get about two hours sleep because of the pain, Tuesday night in the same. Wednesday I realise I can't take any more and go to the Walk In Centre because I suspect I have a post-extration infection which they agree with - I'm dosed up on amoxicillin (a broad spectrum antibiotic) and I'm happy that this will sort it.

But it doesn't. A day passes with the same amount of pain, and another. Yesterday morning (Friday) I woke up in such overwhelming agony I find myself delirious with pain, punching myself in the head and I'm crying through it all. Utter hell.

Looking online for a solution, I suspect the issue is dry socket. (science bit; it's where the clot after extraction falls out and you're left with dry bone in the place of the extraction so it's painful to heal) - loads of people (Americans, mostly. Damn helpful lot at times) are banging on about how helpful clove oil is so at work I pop out to the chemists and try it - a cotton bud dipped in clove oil applied directly to both of the sockets.

The pain goes - instantly. It's now 24 hours later and other than having to dab the clove oil on twice yesterday, the pain is stil absent. I'm feeling a lot better - I'm able to concentrate on things other than the incredible pain and actually feel like it might heal and my mouth might finally get sorted.

I'm aware that this post isn't funny or witty in any regards - It's just something thats quite overwhelming in my life at the moment and thought it would be useful to write down - Sorry to put you through all that!

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