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I'm a Minnesota Girl, living in the south. I tell my friends I try not to talk and think like a Yankee, but sometimes I slip up!

Saturday, September 22, 2012


I've just finished the 8 days from hell.... had periodontic surgery, this time with a skin graft to help shore up this poor, pitiful mouth of mine. Surgery was supplemented with a little nitrous, although I've always been hard core and just used novocaine before. This periodontist (my former moved back to Israel) is very high tech, southern, and just about as nice as can be. I have confidence in him. He found some additional deterioration in the two teeth next to the two teeth he was "doing", so, for the same price, he doubled the size of the skin graft for my gum. He is painstaking. When I left, I'd been there nearly 3 hours and had 17 stitches.

It was really not that unpleasant, however, the 7 days following were hell. The swelling, bruising and pain did not peak until day 4. And, while I have now interrupted the constant 6 hour refills of high-dose ibuprophen, I've never injested more in my normal diet is protein and salads or vegetables. Unfortunately, I've been on an endless bust of mashed potatoes, oatmeal, pudding and smooth soup. I have 3 more procedures to go, stretched out, thankfully, over the next year. I curse my genetics! Funny how this reminded me of a piece I did for Pearlsoup in 2003, listed below.... "I've Got New Teeth". (Subsequent to this piece, in 2004-2005, I had my first series of periodontic surgery). Because I have kept the vow of returning for a dental cleaning every 3 months I have really prevented even more deterioration. There are times, however, when I wish I could start over with a
new mouth!

I’VE GOT “NEW TEETH”! ~quidrock, 2003
I’ve got new teeth today! Well, they’re the same old teeth, but the dental community finally took me firmly by the hand and showed me the error of my ways. I saw a new dentist in January. My son and I had been in dental insurance limbo, and couldn’t find a dentist approved by my husband’s new plan that anyone would recommend! Most of the ones in the book were “dental clinics” where anonymous dentists roam from 3-6 cubicles and patients, performing simultaneous acts (of horror), Too busy for any bedside manner.
Well my son and I are both total wusses when it comes to the dentist. We sit paralyzed in the chair, and when it is time to go, you can watch us lift each of our hands, only to find little pools of perspiration on the arms of the chair. We cringe whenever the dentist approaches, and whine when he/she pronounces what work we have to have done. It is a form of modern-day torture for both of us. We definitely need bedside manner.
Finally, friend Joan recommended Dr. Claire Houston. Joan has teeth that require a lot of work, as well, and she is very exacting about dentists. Lo and behold, Dr. Houston was covered by our insurance. The doctor first looked over my son, pronounced that she found 11 cavities, and that his hygiene, while wearing his braces, was horrible! No tooth whitening for my “babe-conscious” young man until all the work was done. She opened my mouth, pushed back her plastic mask and said…”I suppose no one’s told you that you have GUM DISEASE???”… the death rattle began.
Well, I’ve been to the periodontist 4 times since then. I’ve learned a lot about what I have to do to keep the teeth I have. I also learned that its not just about how well I care for them (or if I don’t), but the fact that diabetes often leads, for whatever reason, to increased bacteria in the mouth, and the increase is what causes “perio-xxx” or “gum disease” or whatever foul condition it is where your gums start leaving and your teeth start loosening. So, I had my “pockets cleaned”…which means bacteria removal (not lint, or coins or the like) over the course of the last two months and I feel like my whole mouth is new!
I’ve taken a vow of what I call “toothity”
…to get them cleaned 4 times a year, (even though I hated it even once a year), to floss, to brush along the gumline, to use one of those sonic devices to brush, to stay away from popcorn (now that’s real penance!). Now this is not a happy ending, per se,…I still have one area that requires some cutting and surgery and some such. But at least, it’s not the whole mouth. I can’t tell you, insurance or no, how much all of this is going to cost, because it is quite the size of the national debt, but, in the meantime, at least I feel like: I’VE GOT “NEW TEETH”!


Marion said...

I feel your pain. I had that same surgery back in the late 1980's and I credit it with saving every tooth in my head. I now see my periodontist for cleanings every 3 months. I tell him I've paid for at least one of his children to get through college as I've been going to him for over 20 years. I'm a huge wussy. I tell them to turn up the nitrous as high as it'll go every time I get a cleaning. My quarterly escape from life. LOL! Didn't they give you any Percocet or Vicodin? I don't know how you can stand it without a real pain pill!! I hope you're all better soon. xo

Kelly said...

I'm so glad this round is over and done with for you! Dental work is NO FUN - as we both know!! I'm still recuperating from the two dental implants I had put in this past week and will be glad when my mouth has healed (it's taking longer than I expected)...only to go spend more time in the chair getting the implant sites crowned with my "new" teeth. *sigh* Maybe that will happen around the same time you have your next surgery. After all, misery love company and we can once again compare notes!

Serena said...

Oh, Lord, that sounds terrible! Pain in the mouth is some of the worst there is. Sure hope it's getting better with each passing day.:)

Anonymous said...

I am sorry that you experienced such agony. But I hope that you and Kelly
as well will both feel better. Raven

Debby said...

It was terrible, and I had the same surgery. I've also taken a vow to remain true to the care of my gums. Enough is enough!

Bob said...

I'm a bit behind on things . . . oh my, this makes me hurt just reading it! Hope you are well on the mend now! Nothing hurts like teeth/mouth/gums, etc.