Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Surgery ~ One Year Later!

Some of you may recall my dental emergency last year. It's been twenty five years in the making and it seems as though every time we move our new dentist wants to change the work the dentist before him did; an endless quest for perfection. Well as many of you know (and have seen) my teeth are still far from perfect, but they do what they need to and things could be worse.

A few weeks before the half marathon last April, I had a funny taste in my mouth. I "sensed" there was trouble in my gums too. I put off making the appointment to see a dentist because in all honesty, I knew it would lead to additional "help" from a specialist; as it always seems to play out. Then one day it was so bad, that I had no other choice but to go to a dentist and see "what was up now?". With one look at the X-Ray the tech asks me "....and you aren't in any kind of pain?" suggesting I really should be. I shrugged and said "no" but knew something was up because of the taste. She quickly pointed out that my entire root canal was completed infected and it was moving into my bone. JOY OH BLISS!! This surely was a doozy this time around. They referred me to an oral surgeon to see about the severity of my current problem. He then wanted a second opinion to see if whether or not we could salvage the tooth so he referred me to an endodentist. The endodontist then tells me that there is nothing she can do ($100 consult fee later) and refers me back to my oral surgeon. She agreed with his plan for rebuilding my bone with bone graphing material and then continuing on with dental implants.

I wish they were the "other" kind of implants but hey, these will have to do FOR NOW! I insist that nothing be done until after the marathon because of the time and commitment I had put in and so he put me on antibiotics to buy me some time.

Upon returning from vacation in Pensacola in June, we made the appointment to have my tooth extracted. As my gums healed from the extraction and the bone graphing, they shrunk upward making the extracted side higher than the other front tooth. To top that off, it turns out I don't have "beefy" gums; they were "too thin" (again not the kind of "thin" women wish to hear describing their TEETH but whatever....) to use skin to built them back up. So, we had to re-think how we would procede forward.

Meanwhile, I have to say, that throughout this entire time, I have learned that my oral surgeon, Dr. Jeffrey, is a perfectionist (which is great for a patient, but also very time consuming!!). To be sure we get a "great end result" he refers me out to a Periodontist to see if he can then build up my gum tissue (to help make my gums "beefier") which will support the implant. In then underwent that surgery (not fun and certainly NOT cheap!). Four months later....here we are today.

My gums are finally stablilized and are ready to house my implant....which will be inserted tomorrow morning at 8:30am and I am FREAKING OUT! It's one thing to get an implant on a tooth, but it's another thing to have one on your FRONT tooth; the one that everyone will see whether good or bad. I've always been self conscious about my teeth (as I mentioned, it's been over twenty years of problems), but now especially since I'm currently one tooth-less; wearing a mis-colored and mix-matched flipper (aka temporary tooth) and about to find out if this PERMANENT PROCEDURE will actually look good. It's been a year in the making and I'm scared to see the result....but the silver lining is: THIS IS THE LAST SURGERY!

Wish me luck!


Sara K. said...

Good Luck! I'll be thinking of you tomorrow! I'm sure you'll look fabulous with the permanent new tooth.


Pooh said...

I will be thinking of you, too, and hoping that you like your temporary better than you've liked your flipper :) And, of course, when you get your permanent restoration that dentist better make it stellar after twenty-plus years of waiting!

Shell said...

Just wanted you to know I was thinking about you today! Hope everything is going as planned. XOXO