Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Toothday check-up

Today was my post-operation check at the periodontist. It all went well, and things are healing normally. No, that's not true: Things aren’t just going well, they’re better than ever.

Today, the periodontist removed the last of the “packing”, a rigid kind of stuff they put on to protect the wound and keep food from getting stuck in the stitches, etc. Last time, a chunk fell out before the re-check, but this time only a relatively small piece did.

Once that was removed, he checked thoroughly and could see the healing is progressing well, and that the stitches are starting to dissolve, all according to plan. In general, I tend to respond well to medical treatments, so it wasn’t a surprise, but it’s always a relief, nevertheless.

After my surgery last week, he was checking that my molars lined up right, and my jaws were a bit shaky as I tried to close them, mostly from muscle fatigue due to keeping my jaws open for so long, two weeks in a row. I mentioned (in passing really) that my teeth actually didn’t close properly because of the front tooth that dropped (part of what started this whole journey). Today, he carefully ground the back of the tooth fractions of a millimetre at a time (can you talk about fractions and metric measurements in the same phrase?). The result is that for the first time since this all began, I can close my mouth properly, my upper and lower molars actually touching. It’s wonderful!

As a bonus, though I’m not certain, so far I think it may have also fixed part of the weird affect on my speech that I first noticed after he removed the frenulum hanging down between my front teeth. I’d noticed the change mainly on sibilants, but changing the shape of the back of a front tooth, ever so slightly, may have improved that, restoring something closer to the speech I used to have. Silly, maybe, but I’m quite happy about that.

Here’s the thing about the grinding that I noticed first: I didn’t mind it at all. That would be no unusual thing, except that before all this work, I would never have been able to stand him grinding that tooth. I think it’s a mark of how much things have improved.

I don’t go back until January, when I see the hygienist. He said I can go to the ordinary dentist in five weeks to have the work on the molars done. All of that is related to the periodontic side of things.

The periodontist also suggested that I could have them grind down the front tooth that’s too long by a millimetre or so, making it closer in size to the other one. Put another way, whatever cosmetic work I get done could start in a few weeks. Quite a turnaround, really.

And that’s the thing about today’s instalment of these Tooth Tales: The original problems are well under control, even fixed in some cases, and I’m also moving forward onto making things better than they were. It’s been expensive, sure, and it’s been time-consuming, and sometimes it’s even been painful, but what matters is how much better things are now, and how good they’re becoming.

I think all that’s worth celebrating—but maybe not with anything loaded with sugar. Got to look after my teeth, after all.

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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