Sunday, February 7, 2010

mouthing off.

So this is a story…all about how…my mouth got twist, turned upside down….
Well…not upside down exactly.
Perhaps you recall that fateful event in October?  The concussion.  The chipped tooth.  The fractured too.  The sprained jaw. Yeaaah….
It was a good month before I could close my jaw all the way.  By that time it was obvious something wasn’t right.  My teeth didn’t line up the same way that they had.  I couldn’t chew bread or rice with my back teeth.  I couldn’t bite a hangnail with my front teeth.  So having gotten my chipped tooth repaired… having gotten multiple xrays to determine my roots thankfully hadn’t died (yet)…having decided there wasn’t much to do about the fractured tooth but deal with the sensitivity until it either went away gradually with time or got worse and became a dead root….Off to the dentist I went again. 
For 6 weeks I visited the dentist every week.  I was fitted with a deprogrammer that had to be adjusted each week.  It’s basically like a retainer you wear on the top of your mouth but the inside is built up so that it comes down below your front teeth and prevents you from being able to close your mouth all the way and have your teeth touch (yes, you need to take it out to eat).  This allows your jaw to relax and reestablish it’s natural bite.  Sometimes this fixes things.  Other times it just allows you to determine what needs to be done (from filing/restructuring a few teeth to full on orthodontics) to get that good bite again.  Well, it took a month before my jaw settled into a consistent relaxed position.  I went in for my final visit and was told that despite all efforts to stay as conservative as possible, I would need braces all the way across the top and bottom teeth and then some restructuring of my teeth as well. 
Not two days after scheduling my braces (which was a couple weeks out), I got a horrible pain in my mouth.  I could feel that there was a tooth now poking through at the back of my mouth.  Of course it was the weekend too.  So a few days of pain that refused to be calmed by anything and I was able to get in to the dentist again right away.  And here I’d been so excited to have a couple weeks off.  ;)   All it took was a look in my mouth and at some old xrays that the ortho had taken when I went in for a consult after the intial accident and it was pretty obvious what was going on… I had a wisdom tooth coming in.  You’re thinking:  You’re 28 and you still have your wisdom teeth?!  I know.  Well back when I went off to college I was 17 and had none.  Then I went to college and didn’t have dental insurance.  By the time I got myself some dental insurance I was continually pregnant (see the last 6 years of my life) and xrays were therefore out.  Thus I didn’t get an xray of my mouth done in nearly 10 years.  I knew I shouldn’t have listened to that dentist (a different one than my friend and childhood dentist that I switched to for all this madness) when he told me to just leave them be. 
So it was… A week after being told I needed braces in 2 weeks (a very painfulweek I might add)… I was at the oral surgeon’s office getting 3 wisdom teeth out.  Two were fully impacted.  One was partially.  I hate anesthesia (one of those love/hate things).  It makes me so nervous.  I was very grateful that my mom’s best friend (who thankfully withheld the story of her daughter’s near death anesthesia experience from the very day before until the second I came out of the anesthesia) was able to take me to the appointment and sit with me.  I was also grateful that the oral surgeon’s assistant was my mom’s other best friend (yes, I planned it), and she talked away to me about book club until the anesthesia had set it before I even realized it.  It’s always nice to have a familiar, friendly face around.  The surgeon told me there was a good chance I’d have some (temporary) nerve damage because of my age- my teeth had gotten so large that there was a greater chance of hitting a nerve during the extraction and I had one that the nerve sat abnormally high.  Thankfully I have had none of that. 
(You didn’t really think that was the end of the story did you?)  The surgery went fine.  I did, however, get 2 dry sockets.  Yup.  Both sides.  Turns out those are extremely painful.  I didn’t do anything about it for a while because I didn’t quite realize what was going on.  I couldn’t wear my deprogrammer for the few days after the surgery so I thought the pain I was feeling was the result of my bite being so off.  That was one blessing of the wisdom teeth coming out- those days without the deprogrammer were a painful reminder that I really did need the braces.  I was getting these horrible headaches and pain shooting up from my mouth to next to my eyes.  I took so much Ibuprofen I worried I was going to be addicted or something (can you get addicted to it?).  My surgery was on Thursday.  The pain started Sunday.  I should’ve called on Monday.  Instead I tried the deprogrammer.  It wasn’t until Wednesday that I called.  Oh how I should’ve called sooner!  I just didn’t want to go in again and inconvenience anyone.  What a relief it was when the medicated bandages kicked in!  So over the next week and a half I went in every few days to get the dressings changed.  The final day, when they put in the dissolving kind, being the day after my braces were put on.
I feel like my mouth has been a mess for 3 months and that I’ve just been living in pain for that whole time.  At first I was pretty upset about needing braces.  Not because they were braces- it’s kind of nice to have the prospect of a ‘perfect’ smile.  More because I saw them just as a daily and physical reminder of that awful week.  After all, it was the day before ‘the incident’ that I had my miscarriage and now I was going to think about that every time I saw my braces.  Well, I am happy to say that at this point I’m kinda over it.  Getting the braces on was nothing compared to all the pain I’d been in for so long.  Especially compared to the most recent pain of the last couple of weeks.  I was getting additional headaches from chewing (too much too soon I guess) so I was put back on a soft diet.  Now I’ve had the braces on for just over a week now.  Wow, my mouth feels better than it has in months!  Is it fun to have stuff in your mouth all the time or to not be able to bite down or chew whatever?  Not particularly.  But I’m pretty hopeful this will work out to be a good diet plan.  So, you’d better watch out because in a year when I get these babies off I’ll also have gotten all this baby fat off and I’ll be lookin like a whole new me!  

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