Looking Up with My Mouth Open

Isn’t that how turkeys drown, looking up with their mouths open in a rain storm? This isn’t about turkeys except I had a “fowl” experience…

In July I had my teeth cleaned and low and behold the dentist found a cavity. This makes the first cavity since 1975. I had to have those fillings replaced a few years ago which wasn’t too awful. I didn’t know it but fillings don’t last forever. The lifespan of an amalgam alloy filling is about 25-30 years. Mine lasted 35 years so that wasn’t too shabby. So back to this latest experience. My appointment was on last Tuesday. The cavity was on the occlusal surface of my last molar in the upper arcade on the right side. I have a small mouth. This required me to have my mouth cranked open to it’s maximum. I also have TMJ due to surgery (orthognactic to correct a congenital abnormality) which makes holding my mouth open for long periods of time problematic. I was a little nervous so my blood pressure was elevated to normal and my heart rate topped 75 bpm.

Anyway the assistant used a topical gel to numb my gum. Then the dentist came in to take a peek. He placed a hard rubber wedge (think door stop) between my teeth on the opposite side. It was uncomfortable but bearable. Then the Novocaine injections. Good grief! He made 3 injections and it caused me to rotate my feet in an effort to become air-borne. He was fairly fast and my feet didn’t unscrew themselves at the ankle. Then they all left. And I sat there with the door stop in my mouth unable to swallow, practically standing on my head, with my eyebrow to my collar bone going cold and numb. The actual drilling took maybe 5 minutes. Once he put the drill down he muttered incomprehensible instructions to the assistant and left! She cleaned the area around the tooth, applied some goop to the tooth, mixed the filling material, AND FILLED THE TOOTH!!! Yep. The dentist didn’t even do that part. Which in my mind is the more difficult part. She supposedly did a fantastic job according to the dentist who came in to give his blessing.

Now comes the really bad part. I was numb from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM. As the Novocaine wore off I developed a twitch in my eye. Yes, a little annoying but not life threatening. Then there was the swelling. My eye was puffy, my cheek was fat, and my jaw line lumpy. Even though I hadn’t eaten anything, I must have bit myself since I could now feel the inside of my cheek where it was sore and raw. The assistant told me that I would probably have some sensitivity to hot and cold in that tooth for a couple days. She also mentioned that I should be able to eat without any problem. Since my teeth are always sensitive to hot and cold I didn’t think that would be an issue. But my tooth is sensitive to pressure. Very sensitive as in not willing to chew on that side of my mouth. I have had a constant headache from the TMJ acting up. And when I lay my head on the pillow I dare not place that side of my face down. If I do I have a sharp pain that pierces my face and stabs me in the eye. I now understand the attraction to extraction!!

I am meeting saintvi to do some geocaching and then joining a planning session for the big geo-event at Fernwood in October. My tooth is still tender but my face doesn’t look puffy. I’m going to be swallowing more ibuprofen before I leave the house and carrying a few extra with me just in case…

42 thoughts on “Looking Up with My Mouth Open

    1. I think the scene was in the movie 10 with Dudley Moore but it doesn’t really matter – it was funny. Alas I don’t drink and the dentist didn’t prescribe any pain medication! Ibuprofen however worked well… I always had strong teeth and my cavities were a direct result of moving to a town that didn’t fluorinate the water. Anyway I suppose you are right – 44 years without a cavity is a nice run of luck.

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        1. He did do a movie titled Arthur… and it was a loooong time ago! I’m surprised I remembered. I always think of Tim Conway’s dentist skit with Harvey Korman. It still makes me laugh!

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    1. Yeah. The bill was a bit steep but would have been more if I had gotten the composite filling (that looks like natural tooth enamel). I had never had an assistant do anything like that. Even when I had the fillings replaced previously, the dentist did the work…

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  1. You are paying someone to “fix” something that actually profits by something being wrong. Kind of like a car mechanic. “Yes, sir, I know you came in for an oil change, but while we were under your hood we took the liberty of realizing you need a whole new engine”. A dentist NEEDS for your teeth to be broken, and by golly, he has the tools and the access to see that they are, indeed, broken.

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    1. My MIL has been told that she needs 3 teeth extracted because the roots are rotten. She’s never had any pain or discomfort. We are urging her to get a second opinion… At 86 she shouldn’t have them extracted if it isn’t necessary.

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    1. Yikes! According to the ADA amalgam fillings should last 10-15 years but my dentist told me 25 yrs… has to do with the quality of the materials used way back in 1975… They don’t make things to last anymore! We had to replace a 35 yr old refrigerator (it still worked but we were remodeling the kitchen) and the new one is only expected to last 5-10- years!!

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      1. I have chips on the bottom corners of both my front teeth — they have plastic fillings that periodically chip again as I eat normally. Each time they do, a little more tooth chips off, and my dentist told me that after a couple more times they will have to be capped! They’re not called incisors for nothing, but they do chip as they incise!

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        1. Wow. It seems that the dentist would have switched to a different material once they started chipping! Then again I’m sure the ones you have match your teeth which wouldn’t happen with gold or amalgam fillings… Hope you don’t have any additional problems!

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        1. I think we have the eternal AC unit. It was purchased from the campus procurement office as a used one at least 20 years ago. It is noisy as all get out but it works. We only paid $10 for it because it was so old!

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  2. Time to change dentists! My dentist has tiny hands (she’s barely tall enough to see into my mouth when I’m laid back in the chair); she has state of the art equipment including a chair that practically tips you upside down so she can see your upper choppers; she and her assistant see to my every comfort, lip emollient, blanket, massage chair; and a half a Valium if I express any trepidation. She’s not cheap by any standard and I’ve lost count of how many crowns she’s done (yeah, she’s a little crown crazy) but I have never experienced anything like what you described at her hands. My husband goes to her too and refuses Novocaine, even for a crown!

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    1. Hehe~ my father never had novocaine. I did it once but the next time the dentist insisted… I used to have a dentist with long skinny fingers. He retired and now I’m at this place. If my dental insurance worked other places I’d have left a long time ago!!

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        1. That seems to be a popular opinion. I guess it is the same as any profession – you have to have a level of trust… A good mechanic is worth their weight in gold and a good dentist is worth their weight in gold fillings! hehe!

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  3. All you girls take after your mother’s side when it comes to teeth! My first filling was done when I was 28 years old….a small place where wire from braces had damaged the enamel a bit. Glad you are recuperating nicely from the experience with the dentist and his hygienist.

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