Monday, May 09, 2011

A lost day

kw: local events, dentistry

It probably happens to thousands of people every day. But when it happened to me, that is personal. I broke a tooth on Mother's Day, at a church lunch.

At first I thought that there was a piece of bone in the piece of pizza I was eating, but when I retrieved it, there was some silver filling material attached, and a quick swipe with my tongue confirmed that a big hunk was gone out of a molar. That ended lunch for me. Luckily, the break hadn't gone through into the nerve, so I had no pain.

In the morning (today), I went to the office early and called the dentist to see if I could get an appointment right away. The scheduler called back before 8AM and asked if I could come right in. I got there in record time. Two quite uncomfortable hours later, I had a temporary crown, and a numb face.

It turns out I have an extra-long jawbone and the nerve enters way, way back there, so the dentist had to use a scarily long needle to reach it. He did a fine job of it, but it took a while. He and his assistant were very good about keeping me from biting my cheek or tongue as we went through the various exercises of shaping what was left of the tooth into a crown base, and making various impressions.

I was barely able to speak afterward, but I did discuss with him that I'd noticed how every few months I'd have the dental floss break when cleaning that group of teeth. He said it is common for a crack to take a year or two to work its way through a tooth until a piece just about falls off. In this case, the crack started at the end of a large filling that was installed more than forty years ago, perhaps closer to fifty. Pretty good life out of a silver filling of that era. But I have a mouth full of them...

At the dentist's advice, I rounded up my things at the office and went home to sleep off the anesthetic. He predicted it would last until about 1PM. It actually took until 4PM. And I did sleep. I hope I can sleep tonight. I helped my wife cook dinner, which we just finished. That and getting this little blog post written is all that keeps the day from being a total loss!

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