“What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? / The world would split open.”
Poet Muriel Rukeyser

Friday, April 13, 2007

RevGals Friday Five: Dental Edition, oh no....

From the RevGals site Reverend Mothers posts: Cheesehead and I are both laid up this week with various tooth maladies. This one's in honor of us:

1. Are you a regular patron of dentists' offices? Or, do you go
a) faithfully, as long as you have insurance, or
b) every few years or so, whether you need it or not, or
c) dentist? what is this "dentist" thing you speak of?

I am a regular patron at the dentist. Although recently I did go a long while without a visit - hey everything was fine, I thought. Then I ended up with a fractured tooth. The dentist tried to fix the fracture, which only made it worse, so the tooth was pulled, and then over the next 4 days a nasty infection set in. (I was not prescribed antibiotics)...The dentist, via phone consultation, was convinced that my intense pain was only TMJ. But no, it was an infection that moved into my jaw bone and up the side of my face. I was completely distorted as the right side of my face puffed out several inches. This required an 11 day stay in the hospital for IV antibiotic, surgery to drain the infection, a tracheotomy because the infection impacted by jaw muscles and I couldn't open my mouth to intebated, and drains in the side of my face to further facilitate the draining of the infection. Once released from the hospital (after having every test on earth, MRI, CAT scans, leg scans to rule out clots, etc. etc), I remained on home IV antibiotic therapy for five weeks, self administered 4 time a day. Then another MRI to make sure the infection was gone (apparently jaw bone, mouth infections are very risky for chronic repeat and hard to heal). Then two more weeks of oral antibiotics, just to make sure....

Now I have lingering numbness in my lip and mouth on the right side from nerve damage because of the infection. That is slowly clearing up, now, 6 months later. And I have a lovely three inch scar on my neck just below the jaw bone, and another scar from the trach. Oh, well. I had great doctors who really helped and a wonderful new dentist.

Moral of the story, don't let dental pain linger. Don't presume it is TMJ. Get antibiotics whenever you have oral surgery of any kind.

2. Whatever became of your wisdom teeth? Don't have wisdom teeth. Genetic mutation....I guess.

3. Favorite thing to eat that's BAAAAAD for your teeth. Jelly beans.

4. Ever had oral surgery? Commiserate with me. In addition to above I have had a root canal, four roots, not the usual three...

5. "I'd rather have a root canal than _________________." The root canal was pretty awful....but the infection was obviously worse.... Now, there is probably nothing worse for me than dental work. I will be anxious every time I have oral surgery...

Bonus: Does your dentist recommend Trident No. I've never had a dentist recommend Trident. Usually they recommend no gum at all....