Thursday, May 29, 2008

My dental history

I am 24 years old, have had 2 root canals and as many crowns. I have a fair share of fillings and my jaw pops when I open my mouth wide enough.

When I was in grade school, it was decided that I needed braces. At the time I didn't think that my teeth were that bad, and I guess that it's up for debate as to if they were. I was in fifth grade, probably my most heious year in school, period. Not only did I think that it was a good idea to wear pajama pants (which my mother encouraged by making some for me), but my class of 20 all thought I was a lesbian and I had head and neck gear (which I did wear to school).

In more recent years I'm fairly convinced that my orthodontist was a bit on the sketchy side. I believe that he fairly took my parents' money and left my teeth straight, but my mouth and jaw in shambles. My dentist is on my side. He maintains that there the most likely reason why I had to get my first root canal was because my bite wasn't realigned after all my teeth were. Because of this, my teeth hit each other unevenly, and eventually a nerve in my number 2 molar became inflamed and was hell-bent on dying.

We decided to try and save the tooth.

This meant that I would go to the dentist every 4 weeks to get my bite re-adjusted and take the pressure off the tooth that was doing the best it could to let me know that it was not going to be saved. It did this by reacting to everything I ate on the left side of my face. It didn't like pressure. Or cold liquid. Or hot liquid. Basically I could eat wonder bread that was room temperature and not get a reaction.

Eventually I decided that a root canal was what needed to happen.


I went in, expecting the worst. My dentist even prescribed some anti-anxiety meds for me. I have a weird thing about surgery. The idea of opening up someone's body (yes, even if it's just a tooth), extracting or fixing something, closing you up and sending you on your way is sort of messed up in my mind. It's certainly become a lot safer and normalized, but if you really think about it, it's bizarre.

The root canal was fine. some opening up of the enamel, digging out the pulp, cauterizing the nerve, and filling it up with putty.

Then I got a gold crown- which just happened to be cheaper than ceramic. It's sort of a comforting thought that if I'm ever in dire straights that I will be able to pull one (or two) little chunks of gold out of their little hiding place and sell them to the highest bidder (or nearest pawn shop).

Besides having bling in my mouth, a perk of having a root canal when you are in somewhat chronic pain, is that only when it is gone do you realize how much pain you were in before, and especially how you body compensates to avoid said pain.

Lastly, a big hurrah to health care, without which, I would be in a great deal of debt.

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