Monday, February 11, 2013

diary of a newly resolved flosser

December 31, 2012:

This is it. This is the year for me. The year of better dental hygiene. Sure, I've always been lucky enough to have pretty great dental health, minus that one cavity in childhood. But ever since that cavity got a little hole and needed to be refilled this fall, I'm starting to think that my lucky stars are changing course. I've got to get better about doing what I know I'm supposed to be doing. The next time I go for my regularly scheduled appointment (every 6 months!), I'm going to be able to look that hygienist in the eye and answer confidently and truthfully, "Why yes. Yes, I have been flossing regularly! Every single day in fact!" Viva la New Year's ResoluciĆ³n!

January 7, 2013:

Woo-hoo! I made it through the first week-- seven straight days of conscientious flossing then brushing before heading into bed at night. One night, I even was all the way tucked in before I realized my mistake, and I hauled my lazy ass up and got to flossing. Yeah, go me! This just might be the new year's resolution that actually sticks.

January 14, 2013:

Okay, mildly freaking out since it's been determined that the filling replacement didn't work, and I need to get a crown on that tooth. I can't even get through a googled article about the procedure without dry heaving and feeling faint. Thankfully, the dentist remembers all too well my reactions during the filling replacement last fall, so he's given me some medicinal options for alleviating my anxiety. Let's hope they work. Anyway, other than my freakout about my first major dental work, the flossing is going wonderfully. In all honesty, there was a night that I passed out from exhaustion and didn't even realize that I'd missed my nightly dental routine until the next morning when I was brushing. Sigh. No one's perfect. 

January 21, 2013:

Today's the day. I've got the Ativan in me, and I'm looking forward to the gas mask that will take away all of my awareness of the drilling and shaving and other awful sounding action words that will be going on in my mouth this morning. I've got to remember, in all that drug-induced haze, to ask about how the crown will affect my new flossing routine!

January 31, 2013:

One month, baby! Okay, I missed two days total. I'll admit it, but otherwise, I'd consider this first month a raging success. I never could believe it when they used to say it to me all the time at the dentist's, but it does actually start to hurt less when you floss regularly. Imagine that! And, since the dentist told me that I could keep on flossing as normally even the day that the crown was put in, I've been going strong. Bring on month two! (Oh, and side note... I'm figuring that the soreness that comes and goes around that tooth will dissipate over time...)

February 6, 2013:

I'm getting a little worried that it's starting to hurt again to chew on the tooth with the crown, just like it did after the filling was replaced. I cannot emphasize how much I don't want to return to the dentist. 

February 8, 2013, lunchtime:

Ooh, this sandwich is good. Yummy rye bread, with just a few embedded seeds. But... they are a bit big, aren't they? And then. Goddammit! That one hurt when it crunched under the tooth. Bah. I can't deny it anymore. I've got to call the dentist again. Love that they're only open Monday through Thursday. That's convenient. Sigh. Guess I'll be on the phone at 8 am on Monday morning and then have to figure out some time off. Fun, fun.

February 8, 2013, bedtime:

La la la. Getting the floss out, getting the toothbrush ready. Oh, it's going to feel so good to lie down in bed tonight. The kids have friends here for a sleepover, and they're delightfully fun and gentle children who behave so much better than my own. It's been a fun night, so let's get this dental business done and then off to bed. La la la. Flossy flossy... uh... uhh... did that just move? Oh my god, what is happening... aaarrrr... blehhhhh... my crown fell out!! It's in my hand!! I just popped it off when it was loose there on my tooth!! I have a tiny little exposed tooth nub, and I'm freaking out!! Oh, there are the tears, there's the heart rate elevated in terror. What is this going to mean? Dammit dammit dammit.

February 11, 2013:

Well, it was quite a weekend, that's for sure. After conversations with the dentist, and attempts at temporarily cementing the crown back in myself (OUCH!!), the final decisions were made-- Monday appointment to reaffix the crown, unless there are signs of infection/inflammation, which will cause further dental actions to need to be taken which include words I don't want to record let alone think. In the meantime, I spent the weekend drinking my sustenance, in the form of Safeway knock-off Ensures (which seriously aren't bad at all), and chewing very small pieces of very soft foods on the other side of my mouth. Bottom line: I'm hungry as hell, and now I'm scared out of my wits, too. Thankfully, that initial script for Ativan still has a couple more pills, so one or two of those will be my anxiety-reducing friend today. The first emergency appointment that was available is at 11 am, so it's going to be a long morning of worry and empty-stomach hunger. Please, please, please... let the regluing work!

Lessons to be learned: 

  • Don't get cocky about your dental health even if you are finally getting into the best hygiene routine possible. 
  • Apparently, one can be accused of flossing too aggressively, even though I'm pretty sure I simply slip the floss in between teeth and then pull it out again, in the same exact manner as the hygienists have always demonstrated for me.
  • I'm trying not to take it out on the floss. He was just doing his job, in his minty-strip way. Don't worry, we'll still be tight, even though I haven't touched the stuff since Friday night when it knocked my crown out! We'll reconcile soon enough... for all my other teeth at least.
  • The jury is still out on the question of finding a new dentist. I'm not sure how common this all is, but I'm a little leery after the cavity refilling didn't "take," and then the crown falls out within 18 days... might be time to look for a new dentist. But, this guy is so conveniently located, and the kids' awesome pediatric dentist is in the same practice, so we can't leave altogether. Decisions, decisions. Let's see how today goes.

T-minus an hour and a half until I'm sitting in that damn chair again. Think clean reattachment thoughts for me, will ya?

I want to be sedated,

Post-script, two hours later. 

Good news: The crown popped out cleanly and could fit right back in. YAY!

Bad news: Even an Ativan is not going to keep me calm enough to not acknowledge the extreme stabbing pain that occurs when the solutions and materials touch the part of nerve that is exposed while trying to replace the crown. BAAA!

Good news: A little numbing action can take the bit off of that, just enough to where I can keep my crying to a slow stream and not a snuffling sob during the procedure.

Bad news: Even though the dentist is kind enough to wipe my eyes with my spit bib, I still feel ridiculously childish and ashamed. These tears are out of my control.

Good news: The dentist is optimistic. He said there were no overt signs of infection or inflammation, but I tell him about the effect that the first four antibiotics have had on the soreness in my gums, so he agrees that I should finish the round of amoxicillin. (I really don't like the idea of starting an antibiotic and not finishing its course.) He says that I can eat today, but should stick with soft things and relegate all chewing to the opposite side of my mouth still. By tomorrow late morning, I should be able to eat as normally, though I'm seriously reconsidering all food items based upon their crunchy levels... I may be somewhere below tortilla chips for a while now.

I hope I have no additional dental drama for quite a while. I know that I'm still insanely lucky that my experiences have only been of this scope, but I don't think I have the constitution for anything more serious. Fingers crossed!