Friday, February 21, 2014

Toothy Update: Crowns

From tooth, once solid,
now splinters remain.  Within 
pink gums, a dark well. 

I thought the worst was over.  I thought getting crowns over my root canals would be no big deal.  I was wrong.   Tuesday, 8:30 AM I strolled serenely into the dentist office.  Tuesday, 1:30 PM, I left, shaken to my core.

Up until this point, a substance akin to cement covered the hole in my teeth.  It felt mildly painful and weirdly flat.  I'd run my tongue over it in the forlorn hope of eroding it with my spit.  When the dentist said she had to drill to get the temporary filling out, I thought it would take a few minutes at most.  Well, she drilled and she drilled and she drilled, all the while filling my mouth with ice cold water.  Her assistant attempted to suck it out with some sort of tube but didn't always suceed.  Some trickled into my throat and I'd gag.  The drill's buzz would come to a halt and I'd apologize for my movement.  Four or five times this happened, rubbing my nerves raw.

The worst part, though, was when the drilling stopped and I got to actually stick my tongue into the hole in my teeth.  That was about the time I realized they had taken out the nerve via root canal so that they could put in a new tooth.  It was sort of like finding most of your hair ripped out of your head, seeing that enoromous bald spot, and then having someone stitch extentions back into your scalp.  I felt weirdly deformed.  When the dentist filled my mouth with white powder to take pictures of the hole in my gums and then had me go to the bathroom to rinse the chalky stuff out, I took the opportunity to stare at the damage in the mirror.  The hole was every bit as bad as I imagined, and the powder made it worse by marking out the depth, like layers of limestone on a cavern wall.

I only got a glimpse of the crown before it went in my teeth, but it reminded me of a white mushroom, with a bulbous top and tapered stem.  Snap.  The dentist fit it in my gums like a puzzle piece.  X-rays were taken.  The crown was cemented in place.  Then more drilling, as the dentist customized the ridges in the top of my crowns so that I could bite down perfectly.  By the end, my gums were tender and my mouth tasted like chemicals.  The tooth felt bizarre in my mouth, like I'd been given some bionic implant.

Then the dentist told me I had five smaller cavities that I should take care of as soon as possible.  The receptionist was standing by to make an appointment.  I walked out of the dentist wondering if, after all was said and done, I'd have any teeth left!

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