Tuesday, November 26, 2013

From Ex-troverted Hair to (hopefully not) Ex-tracted Tooth

Funny story (or not . . . ). For the past few months, I've been working around "sinus pain" -- that is, the left side of my face from lower cheekbone through to my mouth, and over towards my ear, would flare up for days at a time, hurting, feeling slightly swollen, although never anything that heat or ibuprofen couldn't handle. Occasionally, I would remember the one time, ten or so years ago, that I had a similar dance with sinus pain which eventually turned into a swollen face which nastily revealed itself to be not sinus at all. I was so disappointed when I heard that from the doctor -- who insisted I go quickly to my dentist. And that is the story of my last -- as in, most recent, not as in final, sadly -- abcess and subsequent root canal.

And you know what they say about those who ignore history being doomed to repeat it. . . .

Truthfully, I didn't so much ignore history as deny. deny. and deny. I hate tooth stuff, and my February check-up was fine, and, after all, I've been running 40 kilometres a week, 26 kilometres on my latest Really Long Run, so how could I have a serious infection. Right? Right?

Except.

So yesterday I rode the ferry from Vancouver, porpoises leaping alongside seeming to promise good things for the week. . . I'd booked the dental appointment almost six weeks ago, my schedule and the dental hygienist's not meshing well. In the back of my mind, I could hear something that sounded ominously like the music from Jaws, but far off, muffled . . . .

And now, I'm working my way through a prescription of antibiotics, and once the infection's banished, they're going in . . . . 2 1/2 hours in that chair next week, a week I was already despairing of how I would get marking done in time to hand back to students at their exam. But a root canal trumps deadlines, especially since my dentist (who I trust completely, who makes the whole process almost tolerable) says that if the decay makes any further inroads, he'll have to extract the tooth. . .

That's my preoccupation for now. I do want to talk introversion and hair with you soon, as promised (and wow! that Extroverted Hair post grabbed more clicks within 3 days of posting than almost anything else I've written -- I need to plan more catchy titles like that ;-). . . .And I'm also planning a few Sparkly Holiday Wear posts, plus I might have bought new boots that you need to see. . . .Also in the works, an update on my running/fitness progress -- including an exposé on what might be the most boring Workout Gear ever. . . .

Anyone have any delightfully cheery or amusing dental stories to distract me with? Horror stories not welcome. . . .In fact, we might choose to eschew dental narratives altogether and you can distract me with anything that pops into your mind. Sympathy comments welcome!

25 comments:

  1. Love this post with its promises of what's to come (blogwise not for your teeth!). I haven't commented for a while but it does interest me with the blogs I follow which posts attract high numbers of readers and OOTD, weightloss and style posts really seem to draw lots of comments. Extroverted hair was a very catchy line - who could resist a peep and am really interested to see how you'll tie it in with Quiet - a book I really enjoyed reading earlier this year. Good luck with the dental work. Iris H

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    1. It's true, it does seem that my OOTD posts, etc. seem to garner the most hits, although there are a few other topics that seem to attract some interest as well -- not sure whether Introversion will be one of those, but I guess I'll find out ;-)

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  2. Ugh to the dental work. And that's all I'll say.

    I'm looking out the window as I blog and the skies look heavy, almost like snow could be imminent. Alas, I doubt the temperature would support snow. Sigh. I'm hoping. Although not today since Tim went to Port Alberni this morning and will be driving back this afternoon.

    After reading your response to my comment on your hair post, I think I need to update my profile picture!

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    1. While I would have been glad enough of a snow day last week or the one before, I'd like to see my students through their essay submission and exam prep, then have the exams go as planned, before we settle in by the fireside to watch those dancing snowflakes. . . . I do hope I didn't offend you with my remark about your profile picture, but I do like your hair the length it was when we met. . .

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    2. No offense taken. At all. I'm very happy with my decision to grow out my hair at this age. (in spite of my mother's dislike of it)

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    3. Glad to hear that. (although too bad about your mother. . . ;-)

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  3. Ouch I dislike dental stuff too....my dentist is kind and gentle. It took me a good year to get the courage up to have two crowns done. I had to use my Yoga breathing for the 2 hour sessions in the chair. I empathize with you big time.
    Congratulations on the popular post, it feels like an affirmation when a post generates such interest.
    Hope all goes well mater.

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    1. I'm also lucky in having a very gentle dentist who has taken me through several root canals and crowns. I also tend to concentrate on breathing. . . thanks for the good wishes. . .

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  4. Gah, I ignored what transpired to be a molar crumbling from the inside, until it was at the 11th hour fixed with root canal, but the damage was so extensive (because I had ignored, ignored) that in the end root canal failed and the molar had to come out. My dentist was very blunt with me, as I (or any of us) age, we need all our teeth to give our jaw line and our faces definition and lift. A lack of teeth = a sagging, less attractive visage. Lesson duly learnt. (Yes I could fix the gap but via very expensive cosmetic dentistry and I keep finding other more interesting things to do with that money, like take my little family to Cuba on holiday. Plus opening my mouth and pointing dramatically to the gap is a living lesson in Why Dental Hygiene Matters for my suitably shocked and awed offspring).
    Lettys

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    1. I love being a living lesson - 2 tooth implants and a root canal and crown (which will probably become an implant in the the future) - the painful part was paying for them. I also had to have the top of my nose shaved off because of too many summers in the sun. Children and grandchildren are ardent brushers of teeth and sun-screen users!

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    2. My first root canal was in my mid-twenties, and similarly the result of avoidance and denial -- I was lucky in that I found a dentist who refused to extract the broken and decayed tooth, instead taking me through the root canal so solicitously that I began to trust in modern dentistry. I'm also lucky that we've generally had pretty decent dental plans. But I'm not sure that my "lessons" did my kids as much good as their father's genetics -- between the four of them AND my husband, they have less than 10 cavities together. I have that many in a single quadrant of my mouth, I suspect! But I do like your attitude, Ming -- we elders as cautionary tales! ;-)

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  5. Aside from paying for it, modern dentistry is one of the major advances in our lifetime. I have had this procedure twice, once without nitrous oxide (but with freezing) and one with. I highly recommend the nitrous; you are conscious but kind of floating above it all. (I, a person who does not take an Advil without being really desperate, am serious about the utility of the nitrous.)

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    1. I've had several (can't remember anymore -- 3? 4? plus crowns fitted to replace overly large ancient fillings) and haven't needed anything other than the anaesthetic although I did contemplate the Ativan my son seemed to enjoy as part of his wisdom teeth removal . . . I'll have to ask my dentist if he uses nitrous oxide, as he's never mentioned it.

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  6. I have never liked visiting the dentist as I have quite soft teeth and an overbite. Just before I retired, I contemplated having my jaw broken and getting braces. I chickened out and so live with my overbite.

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    1. Yikes, I couldn't go through a broken jaw and braces. I have crowded lower front teeth, adult braces were recommended at one point, but I just couldn't bear the thought -- plus I've watched my daughters' teeth drift back towards their starting points, years after their adolescent orthodontic expenses were completed. . .

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  7. Just had another crown added to the growing collection in my mouth. Duchesse is right about the wonders of modern dentistry. My suggestion is to grab an iPod and earplugs to block out the sounds. I listened to Ella and Louis for a blissful hour this time, but I've also found opera to be a wonderful opiate; all that drama going on in your ears is the perfect way to distract yourself from what is happening in your mouth.

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    1. I have been thinking I might bring my iPod in . . . I've also got quite a collection in my mouth, so I know that I'll get through this, but it's not one of my favourite ways to spend a few hours!

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  8. Four crowns and one a do-over and I (gasp, blush) fall asleep in the chair every time. I believe it's a form of self-hypnosis, as there is no gas involved - just the usual needle. I wish you as painless and stress-free an experience as possible.

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    1. Really? I do sometimes sense the possibility of falling asleep over the course of a long procedure, but I'm skeptical it could ever actually happen. But I will be concentrating on my breathing. . . Thanks for the good wishes!

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  9. Ok so now you all have me worried. I have had 3 visits to the dentist in the last month. Having put off going for 2 years (naughty I know). I still have to go back to have a crown done on one of my back molars. I need to schedual it in the next couple of weeks. I do keep putting it off. Readingthe comments, I'm concerned. I am a sook though when it comes to dentists. Mine is new and a young lady, who seems very good at her job. It hasn't hurt so far and my teeth are a lot better than before. My dentist has a television on the ceiling which I find distracting. Have to keep reminding myself to keep my mouth open.
    Good luck.
    Pearl

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    1. I should have learned my lesson by now, and at least I don't ever go more than, say, 9 months without seeing the dentist or hygienist (we're lucky to have a plan that covers that) . . . I think that TV would be a good idea, especially if there were movies to choose from and earbuds. . . .Good luck with your own dental adventures, Pearl, and thanks for commenting.

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  10. OK, just want to say that this is going to be FINE! They have good drugs! But I loathe the dentist, just on principle, so I completely understand why this is scary and totally miserable. Just to show you're not alone in the aches that you need to take seriously - I've been managing all kinds of things lately of the "lady" variety which will, I've recently learned, necessitate a series of procedures - some under local, and maybe one under general (though I'm aiming to avoid this). I can't say I'm feeling all thrilled about this - freaked is more like it. But I'm confident it will all go well. I'm just denying to think about it in advance! :-)

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    1. Oh dear! I'm not a fan of surgery nor general anaesthetic either, but sometimes needs must, right? And you have some great calming techniques and will do just fine. As will I . . . and soon all will be over, right?

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  11. Well, I do sympathise as am gong through something very similar myself and am practically living with my dentist at the moment! Am waiting to find out if the infection has cleared or not, if not back into the chair and all the stops out to save the tooth. Hope it works! Anyway, the last session was not as bad as I had expected, once the injection took hold - much better than it used to be 40 years or so ago when I had my first root canal. Good luck

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  12. All I can say is, good luck, and best wishes for a very quick recovery.

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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