Saturday, April 01, 2006

What Is Wrong with My Teeth?

I dragged myself back to the dentist yesterday. Not the dental surgeon with the scary ditzy assistant, but my regular dentist, one Dr. Hill, who has very nice competent not-scary assistants.

I was all afraid Dr. Hill and his nice assistants were going to tell me that my teeth/jaw/nerves had been irrevocably damaged during my wisdom tooth extraction, or that I had some sort of raging super-bug infection that was going to require ten weeks of industrial-strength antibiotics taken by injection, or something.

But instead, after taking an x-ray and poking my mouth with various things, they told me the actual situation was that my gums hadn't healed properly or quickly enough on the lower-left side, and that consequently a small gap had formed between my gums and one of my teeth that was leaving a small portion of the root of my tooth exposed. The root is unprotected by enamel, and is therefore very sensitive to pressure and temperature changes. Which would be why I've been getting occasional random throbbing pains in my jaw, why it hurts when I chew things, and also why I've been wanting to scream every time I eat or drink anything cold.

Now, if you've been reading my blog over the past three weeks, you may recall that the oral surgeon who removed my wisdom teeth previously told me the reason I was still having pain on the lower left side was that the gum tissue in that area had healed TOO WELL, closing over the wound too quickly and trapping fluid inside, which lead to an infection. And so he took it upon himself to CUT MY GUMS BACK OPEN a week after my original surgery.

Who's right here? Did my gums heal "too well," and create an infection that caused this gap to form? Did my gums heal incorrectly, and did the oral surgeon therefore make this whole situation worse by cutting them open again?

I don't know.

All I know is that Dr. Hill says there is basically nothing he can do for me right now that wouldn't be likely to make the situation worse, and I will just have to put up pain and cold sensitivity, possibly for several more weeks, until the gap closes on its own. And also that I should keep brushing and flossing my teeth at least three times a day, irrigating my gums, and washing my mouth out with warm salt water every time I eat or drink anything, indefinitely.


On the upside, I am convinced I have the cleanest mouth in at least a 20-mile radius.

And I don't appear to need industrial-strength antibiotics, or a root canal.


Lisa said...

Oh wow. That really sucks. It is hard to tell who is right. Doesn't that drive you crazy? Uuuughhh.

MrsFortune said...

Dang. I definitely do NOT like it when folks mess with my mouth. Ouch. I'm sorry. Feel bettah, mouth!

Peter said...

my teeth hurt just from reading ... hope it gets better ...

Dawn said...

Could you eat off of those gums??

And I believe a punch to the face is due to someone in the dental profession

Andrea said...

Okay, now that I have finally gotten the courage to make my dentist appointment (tomorrow morning at 10:30), you have to go and post another extremely painful dental story. I'm really hoping this isn't a sign. And I really hope my new dentist (who I have only met one time) is more competent than your oral surgeon and his klutzy scissor-wielding assistant. Lots of good karma in my direction, please. I have a feeling I'm going to need it. That or a LOT of laughing gas.

Jaelithe said...

Oh, Andrea, I really hope your appoinment goes well! I didn't mean to scare you again! I am sure your dentist will be very nice. Dr. Hill is very nice. And also incidentally actually pretty hot for a dentist. Which is a calming distraction.

And to think, just for you I left out a graphic description of the part where they tested my cold sensitivity with a Q-tip bearing something resembling mint-flavored LIQUID NITROGEN.

(I edit because I love).

Andrea said...

My dentist appointment went okay, just got a cleaning. The cracks I thought were going to require crowns were superficial cracks and I saw the dentist for all of two seconds. My mouth is still sensitive (but I'm sure nothing compared to what you're going through, you poor thing) because of the Dental Tool Nazi who cleaned them. I never thought that mirror on the stick would actually hurt, but when she rammed it into the back of my mouth and attempted to unhinge my jaw like a snake's I was a bit uncomfortable.

I hope your wounds heal (but not too quickly) and that your pain goes away faster than you can blink, just so you can eat again. Hang in there. I ache in sympathy for you.