In 1982 a US Army dentist took out my top right wisdom tooth with a hammer and a chisel.
Fast forward to 2011, and I went to my dentist about a smell from my mouth expecting the worse, rotten teeth, Periodontitis, etc. only to be told that there was a “pocket” where the Army dentist had taken bone with the tooth, in 1982. That pocket was a perfect trap for everything, allowing bacteria to build up, and attack heathy tissues. Antibiotics cleared it up that time, and a few more times.
The battle continued, until 3 weeks ago, when the area started causing me pain. First it was hot and cold sensitive. Ok, a trip toe the dentist and more fluoride was added to the top of the area. That didn’t help much, but the pain did drop down to a constant throb. I thought it was just normal recovery, but it wouldn’t go away, so back to the dentist I went, 9 days later. He found what he thought was a crack, and we talked about bite guards, stress, and as a last resort he sent me for a CAT scan of my mouth.
The tooth next to the “pocket” was slowly being resorbed by my body. The 9 years of battling the infection had finally taken it’s toll. The reason the pain had abated is that the nerves in that tooth were dying, and the tooth was now a ticking time bomb. It wasn’t “if” it was going to abscess, but “when.”
I asked the standard question, “How long can I put this off?” and was advised to take care of it as soon as possible, because if it did go from bad, now, to worse, later, it could mean an emergency surgery to remove the tooth and surrounding tissues.
That was on Thursday. 30 minutes before my dentist closed his doors for the day, I mustered my courage and made the appointment for Monday morning. Here is the part that bothers me, none of this is covered by any of my three government insurances, (TriCare, Delta Dental and VA Dental), and I just can’t understand why there are some morons out there that still want “ObummerCare.”
Monday morning rolls around and I’m nervous. I’ve had my last wisdom tooth pulled just a few years ago, and I remembered the pain. I show up early, and refuse to be sedated, insisting that we do this with a local, leaving me to focus on what is going on around me. Numbed up, the oral surgeon goes to work. The tooth come out in parts. The infection sis scraped away, as it had actually started to abscess, and a bone graft was put in place.
I am looking at 28 days for the stitches to dissolve, and up to 6 months for bone fragments to quit poking through. Antibiotics, and anti-inflammatory medication to be taken until gone.
I keep running through my head about what could have been, and what should have been. I’m lucky that the dental crew kept looking when I said something didn’t feel right.