Wednesday, March 21, 2012

(AF) Ills Sneak Up On You - Part 5 - Dental Visit

Since I was having to take so many meds to get through this dental appointment, and there was a high risk of the appointment and procedure further shooting my blood pressure up, plus, due to all of the above, a slight risk of hemorrhaging from the socket and/or choking on blood if it didn't clot correctly (also from all of the above), my wonderful Dave set aside everything he needed to be doing to come down here, take me to the dentist, sit through my appointment with me, and keep an eye on me through the night (My appointment was actually at 6pm. Never had one that late, didn't know dental appointments could be made that time of day.)

Blood pressure med before I left the house, left off the tylenol to reduce chance of thinning blood/excess bleeding, and we were on our way. Dave kept the conversation going so well, to help keep my mind distracted and off of my HUGE fear of the dentist. About halfway there I nibbled on my horseradish folded up in a slice of bread. About 45 minutes after we left my house, we were finally there. I rinsed my mouth out well with some filtered water and took my 1/4 of a Valium, along with some deep breaths.

Once inside, I signed in and barely had time to sit down before they called me back. I was so glad to see that they still had the same dentist! He is the best one I have ever been to. He can actually get me numb, and takes the time to explain everything to me as he goes, which eliminates 2 of my bigger worries behind seeing a dentist.

I kind of feel bad that I asked (practically begged) Dave to go back with me and stay through my appointment (I am sure it was hard to watch), but I sure needed him! Every time I got overly nervous, I just looked up and saw him sitting there and relaxed. I don't know how I would have gotten through it without him!

They (the dentist and his assistant) looked over the tooth in question and take an x-ray. Before they took the x-ray, they put this BIG ole, heavy, brown apron thingy over me. Hmmm... no dentist had ever done that before. Now, I have had a few x-rays done at a stand-up machine, and it may have had some kind of protection built in, I don't know. But the ones they take when you are in 'the chair', this was the first time I had ever had one of those things put over me. And I have had a LOT of dental x-rays over the years! Interesting (and not in a good way).

In no time, the dentist comes back in and says, "Good news! There isn't anything wrong with that tooth. You have a severe sinus infection, that tooth is in your sinus (he showed us on the x-ray) and that is what is causing it to hurt. Just stay on the antibiotics a little longer and you will be fine." He said that it wasn't impossible the tooth wasn't abscessing up under the crown, where he couldn't see it, but nothing showed up on the x-ray, just the sinus infection. Yay!!! No tooth pulling!

As I sat there I kept thinking that, despite what he said, I felt like crud .... my body felt like it does when I have an abscessed tooth. I remembered all those signs all too well. So I decided to ask him to look at another tooth, since I was already there. I had one on the other side (the side that I was having the mini strokes on and the swollen glands), that didn't hurt, but had a bump on the gum. That bump had been there, off and on, for years, and I was led to believe that it was from my sinus allergies draining. After a quick look, he drew back and immediately said, "Now that's an abscess! And it's an old abscess. It's been there a loooong time!" The bump was the abscess trying to beak through the gum. He called it a "draining abscess." Oh, my gosh! That tooth had had that bump above the gum, off and on for years, 6 to 10 years! I had been to the dentist sooo many times in that length of time, and not one dentist had caught it! Forget being afraid, I was furious! That tooth had been pumping toxins and poisons into my body for years and years, doing who knows what kind of damage throughout my system.

So, why had it not been noticed before? Well, I honestly don't know why the full scale dentist I use to go to didn't catch it. His prices were so high, I should have gotten a full look-see each time I went for something. But, then, to have found something, would have been to admit that previous work he had done on my teeth had gone bad.  But the dentist at the sliding scale, government funded clinics ..... they are only allowed to look at whichever tooth is hurting you. They aren't allowed to look over the rest of your teeth..... they aren't allowed to do any preventive work. Oh, no, they can't possibly be allowed to do anything that would save the patient and/or the tax payers, and/or the government any money. You have to wait until things are bad before anything can get done.

He (the dentist) said that he did not want to pull it. He said that I really needed to get a root canal done on that tooth, he strongly advised it. I asked him if he could do that. He said no, he was a last resort dentist, only. The tooth already had a crown on it, so it was going to be more complicated, and costly, too. We are talking enough money to pay my house payment and all of my utilities for the month, and then some. I said that there was no way I could afford that. He said I needed to... the tooth was too close to the front, and it being gone would also weaken the ones on either side of it. He explained about a place online where you can fill out a form for an interest-free dental loan if you met the income requirements (Is everything online now?! And, I am betting, that site/group is comprised of dentists to ensure they get their money, one way or another. But it is good something like that is available.). He added, "The crown doesn't have to be taken off. They just drill through it and go through the crown and tooth to do the root canal." Yep, the panic was beginning at just the mere thought. Then a thought hit me and I said, "Wait, one of those two teeth up there has had a root canal done... years ago."  He asked, "Are you sure?" I said yes, I remembered it all too well (they couldn't get it numb), but I wasn't sure if it was that one or the one next to it, so he told his assistant to take an x-ray of it, too.

We talked a little more while his assistant finished the x-ray, he left to go read it, then came back and asked, "Do you want that tooth out tonight, or do you want to make another appointment?" The tooth that I had already spent a fortune on (once upon a time I had a good income) ... had been abscessed, root canal done and crowned ... now had to come out!!! The root canal had apparently been done wrong. And then I was left to wonder, 'had the abscess ever been completely cleared up?' Well, I was there, I was already medicated to the hilt, and I didn't want to go through all that anxiety and fear again, so I said just do it now and get it over with. He got me numb quickly, I started to panic a little as I heard that drill come on and start to grind against my crown, he got a good grip on the tooth, rocked it a bit, and out it came, crown and all, NO digging, yea!!! What a relief! It was like having a huge splinter pulled out. And oddly enough, as he was pulling it out, the pressure shot across all of my top teeth and landed in the tooth that I had actually come in for, pain returning. Imagine, a tooth on the left side, causing pain in the right side!

With no nerve in the tooth, I never felt pain in that tooth. It 'tingled' from time to time, but, once again, I thought it was from my sinus allergies. Amazing how many things are connected to our sinuses, even back and shoulder pain can be related. And that tooth had been pumping toxins through my sinuses and body for a long, long time! I truly hope it hasn't done damage to my body beyond repair, my body fully heals, and I can soon start to feel better than I have in a long time, better than in years, maybe, even.

Less than an hour after our arrival, we were leaving. By then the tiny bit of Valium I had taken (I sure hope I don't have to take that stuff very often) was really kicking in good and I think I probably gave Dave a good chuckle or two, not sure, memory faded a bit at that point as I relaxed with the relief that it was all over, and depression from the reality that one of my "smiling" teeth is now gone, set in.

On the way home we stopped at a small Chinese restaurant and got soup for dinner (Okay, I got soup, Dave got a dinner with some substance), because I was in no shape to cook and was suppose to rest, and Dave had  to be tired from all that driving from town to town.  I rarely eat out any more, as it is all so loaded with chemicals it practically glows, but that night, we made an exception, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I embarrassed myself, drooling soup out of a semi-numb mouth, but it really hit the spot!

It's such a relief to have it over with. And I am hoping and praying I get my strength back soon, and everything in my body levels back out so that I can get off of the rest of these meds. But I still get extremely irate when I think about all the dental work I had over the years (including braces when I was a teenager), then several crowns, and now it is all having to be removed. Folks, don't ever mess around with an abscessed tooth. They can be very dangerous and reek havoc of all kinds, all throughout your body, even causing heart attacks, strokes, and even death due to brain infections. If you suspect you have one, get it properly taken care of IMMEDIATELY.

Now, to just hope and pray that that other tooth isn't abscessed up under the crown and I don't have to go through this all over again! It would be cheaper and less hassle for all involved if all of my teeth could be checked out and taken care of, rather than as each one becomes an emergency, but logical isn't how this kind of health care works.

Stay tuned for the final part - THE FOLLOW UP CHECK UP

Also Read:  Part 1        Part 2          Part 3         Part 4    Part 6  

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