Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Weird tooth/mouth stuff

This is long, so if yawners about personal health issues bore you, move along to the next post and ignore this one.

Remember back a couple of weeks ago when it looked like I was going to have to have a root canal? Well, I have a VERY weird follow-up to that tale.

I went to see my dentist in Sanger. She sat me down and x-rayed my mouth and tapped on my teeth and examined me as well as she could. The intense pain I felt whenever she tapped on one particular molar in my lower right jaw was enough to make me nearly come out of the chair. It had already been throbbing and aching for several days and I was miserable.

She noticed a small lesion on the inside of my gums near that tooth. "I first noticed it right after I had surgery, so I had just assumed it was some sort of abrasion related to all the anesthesia apparati that probably had to be crammed in there," I told her. My mouth is rather small, as are my teeth, in comparison to my gigantic head, so I could understand how there might not be room for tubes and masks and things during surgery. At any rate, I had noticed this "skinned place," as I termed it, but had also noticed that (unlike most mouth injuries) it had not healed up at all over the two weeks since my surgery.

The dentist and hygienist both postulated that it could be an opening through which an abscess on the root of that molar was draining. Yecch! Any-hoo, weighing all the facts as she had them, she said it was probable that I needed a root canal. Before she could perform such a task, however, I needed to have the infection cleared up, so she put me on a course of regular old penicillin for a week.

After a few days, Rick and I determined that there was no way we could afford $900 for a root canal, so I cancelled the appointment, but I finished the antibiotic regimen nonetheless. Of course, my tooth stopped hurting (thanks to the penicillin), so I was hoping I could at least hold out until my dental insurance kicked in before going back to have the deed done.

A couple of days later, the little abrasion thingy became a puffy little abscess that was quite painful in its own right (although the tooth itself didn't hurt anymore). I didn't mess with it for a week.

Finally yesterday I decided to lance the thing. THEN it got weird. It burst open and a good-sized shard of TOOTH emerged from it.

Wait, what?

You read that right. A triangular, sharp hunk of TOOTH came out of the abscessed place on the inside lower right side of my gums.


There are a couple of possibilities I can see here. First, since I noticed the abrasion right after surgery, it is conceivable that somehow during intubation a bit of one of my teeth got broken off and somehow jammed into my gums. You'd think, though, that if a section of tooth that big got broken off, I'd have noticed.

The other possibility is even weirder. That area is pretty close to where I had my wisdom teeth removed twenty years ago. What are the chances that a stray chunk of wisdom tooth (mine were completely facing the wrong way and a total mess when they took them out) got broken and then healed up inside the gums? And what are the chances that the broken chunk of tooth would eventually have to work its way out?

Anyway, the relief was literally IMMEDIATE. My tooth doesn't even hurt a little bit, and the abscessed place on my gums is GONE just one day later.

And I didn't have to have a root canal.

Here's hoping that was the whole problem and I really DON'T have to have major dental work now. It sure appears to be the case.

Thank you, Jesus. We seriously did NOT need that expense at this moment.

It's precisely at times like these that the Johnny Appleseed song comes to mind:

"Oh, the Lord is good to me,
And so I thank the Lord
For giving me the things I need
The sun and the rain and the apple seed
The Lord is good to me!"

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