}

Monday, May 09, 2016

Tooth Tales: Coronation preparation

Today was a big day: Preparations were completed for me to receive my first crown. Sure, I may seem like a prince, maybe a king, sometimes a queen, even, but we’re talking the dental kind of crown. After last week’s mishap, I really had no choice.

On Thursday of last week, I went to the dentist for repairs, and I was strangely nervous about it, probably because of all the unknowns. He could have attempted a temporary repair, but in order to give me a crown (which was a planned thing—eventually), he’d need to build up the tooth, anyway. So, he made a permanent, if not fully formed, repair. That was enough to instantly take away the pain the sharp tooth was causing me when my tongue scraped against it. When the anaesthetic wore off, the pain was gone.

Another big benefit was that I could stop worrying about breaking open what was left of the tooth and exposing the nerve. However, to be honest, the best part of it was that he didn’t charge for the repair since he had to do it, anyway, to get ready for the crown. However, I also found out he charges less than half what I thought a crown costs, and that was very good news.

So last week, before I saw the dentist, I was worried that the cost of the crown would put my braces plan on indefinite hold, but it seems it’ll only delay things by a few weeks.

At the moment, my appointment to have the permanent crown installed is May 26, but if the lab is late with the permanent crown, the dentist’s office will ring me to reschedule.

The actual work today wasn’t bad, though at about an hour and half, it did get a bit boring. As I’ve said a few times now, my dentist is so good with administering the anaesthetic that I barely felt it, and I didn’t feel any pain or discomfort during the grinding and such.

In fact, the worst part was that he needed to make moulds to send to the lab so they get a precision fit, and it takes four minutes for the stuff to set—if felt much longer than that—and when it was ready, it wasn’t easy to open my mouth again, almost as if it was glued shut. He made three moulds, so this was a long process. He made a fourth, simpler and less sticky mould to help them in case my temporary crown breaks before the permanent crown is installed (is that word?).

I was never happy about the idea of getting a crown. First, I’d been under the impression they cost a lot more than they do. That mattered to me especially because they think I need four crowns, so I thought it was going to cost me a small fortune, when, in fact, it’ll cost a smaller fortune.

The other thing that made me hesitate is that getting a crown seems like an old person thing to do—probably because it kinda is: Younger people generally don’t get them unless they have some major problem, like bad genes, or whatever. Still, I’ve been getting used to the idea that I really am getting older, whether I like or accept that fact or not, and that there are certain things that must be done because of that fact. Dental crowns are, for me, one of those things.

When the anaesthetic wore off this afternoon, I had a little discomfort—a sort of throbbing more than pain, though it was a bit sore from everything. So, I took a couple Maxigesic tablets and that took care of it really quickly and completely. I swear by that stuff for dental and gout pain in particular.

For the next couple weeks, I’ll need to be careful not to chew on the side with my temporary crown, so I’m planning a mostly soft food diet to make that easier (if I accidentally forget, softer foods are unlikely to break the temporary crown, which is just plastic (though the dentist did reinforce it a bit with some composite material—the white stuff they repair teeth with).

The only bad thing in this side alley in the Tooth Tales journey is that it was part of what turned out to be a very bad week for me last week: The mishap on Monday was depressing, sure, but I was more worried about the tooth breaking further before I was able to see the dentist on Thursday afternoon. So, two dental appointments, and the time and stress they included, along with a different, unrelated disappointment in between the two, made last week a terrible week for getting work done. As a result, I worked all this past weekend, and didn’t finish until around 4:15am last night—and I got back up at 9am this morning to give myself some extra time to get ready for my 10:30 appointment.

But even that turned out to be a good thing because it made me incredibly relaxed during the whole procedure. I wasn’t nervous or stressed at all, and lay there the whole hour and a half without complaint or needing a break (although, by the end, I really needed to pee—two cups of coffee in the morning before I left…).

So, something I was dreading turned out to be not so bad after all: Less costly, not at all painful, and I was mentally ready for it. This is all good.

The next step is a check up with the periodontist on Thursday, then back for the permanent crown on May 26. Sometime after that it’ll be back to the orthodontist. Put another way, while the road has been a bit more winding and looping than I expected, it’s still heading in the right direction. This isn’t just good—it’s also a relief.

But, no, I won’t be wearing sable and ermine when I get my crown.

The image above is a reproduction from the 20th US edition of Gray's Anatomy, and is in the public domain. It is available from Wikimedia Commons.

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