Tuesday, October 6, 2015

My Dog and My Dental Saga

Wow! It has been awhile since I last posted - my how time flies!  Well, to keep you in the loop, since I'm sure you were on the edge of your seat, anxiously awaiting this post, I am still in the game!  Still in it to win it and all that.  I just have had some other priorities that have taken precedence over the blog. 

For example, one of my dogs (Coal - the black one) is having some health issues of late that have taken a bit of time and money and still haven't been resolved.  Nothing too serious we hope, but after over a year of chronic ear infections (which he eventually got over with the right meds), and a torn nail, he now has this problem with his eyes and if left alone, turn into these huge spiky balls growing next to his eyes.  The current solution is daily warm compresses to soften and remove anything before it can harden.  There are also some skin and nail issues we're dealing with and will probably end up going to a doggie dermatologist to figure it out.  Not an expense I am looking forward to nor one for which I had planned.  But he's my pal, so I'll do whatever I can for the little bubba-face...

This is Coal and Gabbie at the vet. 
He looks as scared of the vet as I am of the dentist!
I'm on the mend myself after having a dental procedure done about 3 months ago.  I don't know if you've read my post about my last dental visit (two years ago), but I decided I really wanted to be all-around healthy.  I don't just want to lose weight you see?  I also want good health in general.  I planned to get my teeth cleaned and then after that, go get a medical checkup.  Since it had been longer (by years) since I went to a dentist, I decided to do that first.  Now, keep in mind, I had ZERO dental problems (that I knew of) going in - all I wanted was a healthy mouth.  Well, I guess that was mistake number one.  I should've left well enough alone.  Don't fix it if it ain't broken and all that. 

I had my roots scaled and planed.  Now, maybe just maybe, if I had been a good dental patient and had regular checkups and cleanings, this wouldn't have been such a big deal.  You could definitely say that I brought this on myself and you wouldn't be wrong.  So, that said, if it has been a long while since your last cleaning, do that first and then keep up with your dental care by brushing and flossing daily for a good 6 months before having this procedure done. 

First off, I am a total freak about mouth pain.  I can't stand it!  I can take a lot of pain elsewhere, but not my mouth or head.  Besides the fact that I'm allowing this torture to occur while I sit there voluntarily, the poking and prodding of gums and tooth nerves freaking HURTS!  Anyway...

Since I don't tolerate this pain well, and since I will never go back if it hurts, I turned to sedation dentistry.  Good idea right?  Just get knocked out and all will be wonderful right?  Well, no.  No it won't be.  Not really.  Not right away.  If ever.

Not only did I need a deep cleaning, I needed several fillings.  I thought, why pay for sedation more than I need to?  It's mostly coming out of pocket anyway as insurance only pays for so much.  Let's do this all at once!  Is that possible?  Sure is.  So, I went in on a Monday morning at 9am and came out at 3. 

I have no memory of pain that day whatsoever.  Actually, I really don't have much of a memory of that day at all.  But for every day after that, I have been in pain.  It's not always been excruciating pain, though that happened often enough.  It's more of this deep ache in all my molars.  I also became extremely super sensitive to hot and cold, which really sucks as a coffee drinker and one who loves ice.  Chewing things like peanuts, crunchy fruit, salads, or any crunchy vegetable, steak, yogurt, or anything remotely cold, sweet or requiring extensive chewing is painful.  It feels like I'm chewing using a loose tooth.  Remember how that felt when you were about to lose a tooth as a kid and you bit down on something?  That's how all my molars feel right now.  And I am limited to room temperature or slightly warmer beverages only.  This procedure has blown my way of eating out of the water.  Fruit and veggies were a major part of my nutrition plan and to have them taken away was a huge blow.  Needless to say, I gained some weight in subbing all that healthy, crunchy stuff with easily chewable carbs.  Ramen and mac & cheese became my new friends. 

After a couple weeks, I talked myself into going back to the dentist because of the pain.  I was prescribed some pain meds (hydrocodone) and antibiotics.  He also "adjusted my bite" while I was there.  That was like THE WORST!  I know it shouldn't have hurt, but it did!  That stupid, loud, whirring, buzzing tool that,once it touches my tooth, sends awful, painful vibrations straight to the nerve and, oh my word, why I don't just get up and walk out right then is beyond me!  My teeth are so sensitive that the air from the tool hurts my teeth!  Why did I go back?  I still have problems remembering.  Oh yeah, I was in pain. 

Well, the drugs helped a bunch, but they ran out after only a few days.  Since then, I've just been dealing with it.  The dentist told me that sometimes it takes a while for the teeth to calm down after as much work as I had done.  Also, when under sedation, the bite doesn't always line up just right because, well, you're under sedation and you just aren't paying much attention or even caring that much.  After almost 3 months of an achy mouth, I did something that, in hindsight, may have ended up being a blessing...  I chewed gum.

Only 10 weeks after my procedure, I chewed a piece of Big Red chewing gum for like 5 hours.  I was hauling some stuff to a storage unit and chewing gum just seems to get me into a rhythm.  I hadn't done it since the procedure though.  There was no unusual pain, just the normal ache in my molars, so I didn't think anything of it.  The next day, everything I put in my mouth caused unbearable pain.  Luke warm coffee and food was all I could handle and even that hurt like crazy.  Even room temperature water hurt!  I couldn't imagine what I'd done.  I was in tears all night, the pain was so bad.  I took some naproxen (which usually helped) and that barely even touched it.  I started alternating acetaminophen with ibuprofen every two hours.  Again, almost no relief and I still couldn't eat.

Since a starvation diet is in no one's best interest, the next day (Wednesday), I called the dental office.  As much of a scaredy cat I am about the dentist, this was so much pain that I didn't care what they did if they could make it stop. They got me in that afternoon.  I got the "bite adjustment" again along with some pain meds - hydrocodone again - and was told to come back on Monday.  However, if the pain didn't go away, I'd probably need a root canal, so they had me call back on Thursday to see where I was with the pain.  The drugs helped SO much!  I was so happy to not be in pain that I could easily see how people get addicted to pain meds.  No pain is so sweet.

I hit sort of a snag on Thursday morning.  On my way to work (I was running late because of the meds helping me sleep), I grabbed a protein bar for a quick breakfast.  As I was driving, I took a bite of the bar and as I was chewing, switched sides of my mouth to the more sensitive side to see how things were going.  Suddenly I bit down on a chocolate chip and the pain the shot through the top back teeth almost made me wreck my car!  I immediately cried out and moved everything back to the left side and kept chewing.  There was nothing there!  I mean yes, there was a tiny piece of chocolate, but nothing to cause THAT kind of pain.  What the what?!?  It felt like those two back teeth were loose too!  Ughhhhh!  What next?

Fortunately, I still had pain meds and those helped everything immensely.  The regular pain that I was in before (how odd to call it that - "regular pain") had now subsided, but I didn't know if it was because the new pain was more painful.  You know how if you stub your toe, it hurts, but if someone were to punch you in the face, your toe wouldn't hurt anymore?  Like that, only bottom vs top teeth.  Well, I decided that if a root canal was on the line, I'd better know for sure if the bottom tooth pain was gone.  I stopped the pain meds and waited.  Whew!  It didn't come back as bad.  No root canal, just another appointment on Monday.
Can you believe I actually went back?  Another adjustment and another appointment for next Monday.  The pain is much less now.  My bite seems to be more aligned, especially on the right side.  I'm thinking the left side will need adjusting next, but we'll see.  So, lots of people asked how could chewing gum cause that pain?  Well, if your bite isn't aligned just right, the teeth get irritated and with irritation comes swelling and when swelling occurs inside a tooth, it can affect the nerve.  Sense one or more of my fillings come really close to a nerve, the pain is way more likely to occur.  Chewing gum all those hours irritated the teeth and  caused more inflammation than usual.  The "usual" being my normal day-to-day chewing and thereby my day-to-day deep achy pain for the last several weeks.  Hopefully, with a few more adjustments, I can be completely pain free again.  I can only hope at this point.

Well, if you've gotten this far, thanks for reading my saga.  I hadn't planned on sharing, but it feels good to get this off my mind.  Anybody else ever had this kind of thing happen after dental work?  Super sensitivity to cold?  Pain after fillings due to a misaligned bite?  I'm just curious if I'm the only one...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...