Friday, December 05, 2014

All I want for Christmas is a new front tooth

When I was about 9 or 10 years old, I was thrown from a swiftly moving golf cart, while laughing hysterically. Right up until the time my face made contact with the earth and the rest of my body came skidding along behind it. At that point, the fun and games pretty much seemed to have run their course. When I got to my feet, I was a bloody mess, with more than a few pieces of gravel embedded in my knee and a significant portion of my permanent (not-so-permanent) front tooth broken off and planted in my lower lip. A root canal followed sometime later, along with the building of a fake tooth. And, that was that.

Flash forward a few decades. You may remember that I had some "mysterious face pain" a little over a year ago. I convinced myself that I had a crazy sinus infection, and when the pain went away after a few days, I mentally patted myself on the back for having been right.

But then, about a month ago, I experienced a day of pretty intense pain in my front tooth, followed by two days of ridiculous celebrity-facelift-gone-wrong swelling in my lip and face. I made an appointment with the dentist. She recommended I see her husband, the oral surgeon, to discuss a procedure that seemed fantastically over-the-top to me. I politely made the appointment but cancelled it when I got home, because I was no longer experiencing pain and swelling, and it all just seemed like too much. I mean one day of pain a year didn't really seem like that big a deal compared to the very involved and expensive procedure she was suggesting.

And, then, three days ago, someone hit the replay button on the days of pain and swelling, and I realized things might be worse than I thought. I rescheduled my appointment with the oral surgeon for today. As he showed me the x-ray, he explained that I have a fractured root and diminishing bone. He continued by telling me the problem will only get worse, and I will have more and more days of pain and swelling unless the tooth comes out. But, since it's a front tooth, and since I'm rather vain, it's not enough to just take it out. It must be replaced with an implant, which requires a bone graft, which will require months of healing before the implant can even be placed. Throw in a serious time crunch because of an already-scheduled trip around the world, and you can see what an awesome situation this is.

So, long story short, in ten days, I will begin the process, with the tooth extraction and bone graft. We won't really know how the rest of the story looks until the doctor has a chance to see what the existing bone looks like. It wasn't exactly what I wanted for Christmas, but it is a gift that will keep on giving, so there's that.

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