Starting my journey...Posted: May 16, 2011 10:20 pm
Starting my journey...
Posted: May 16, 2011 10:20 pm
5. Starting my journey... by life-is-what-you-make-it
Posted: May 22, 2011 12:17 pm
Update #5: Well, it has been a bumpy weekend for me. Sometimes the pain goes away...then it's back with a vengeance. I broke down yesterday and bought some topical Orajel and that seems to help numb the pain when it kicks in. I also bought an actual Ice Bag b/c my Ziplock bags seems to leak water when the ice melted and I also bought a reusable hot/cold gel pack. I woke up twice last night and had to put ice on my right cheek. When I had my front root canals down back in '06, the dentist told me that I had an abcess above one of my back teeth...oddly enough, that is the spot that seems to be achy now. I wonder if the abcess is still there....or if my dentist just had a hard time getting the tooth out. The Orajel numbs the area nice and the pain goes away, so it's hard to tell if it's an inner or outer pain. I'll need to contact my dentist and see if the abcess showed on my original x-ray and see if he did indeed have trouble extracting that tooth.
With the bone fragment on my lower, left jaw: the area seems to be getting "whiter" and definitely feels pointy. I'm hoping it's just a bone sliver and will make it's way out...and not a protruding bone the dentist will need to grind down. It doesn't hurt if I don't mess with it, so I think I'm just going to let it run it's natural course. If nothing happens in a week, I'll make an appointment to have it looked at.
Now, for the not so good news: I ate out in public for the first time yesterday :( Let me tell ya....it's a hard thing to do with only 10 front teeth (6 top, 4 bottom). I wanted to do breakfast b/c that would be soft food that I knew I could handle. Well, it turned out to be a chore. By the time I ate about 10% of my food, my friend was just about done. I had to eat so slow, blow on my food so it wouldn't be too hot on my extraction holes and I really had to focus on chewing. Sadly, I broke into tears when I was eating my gravy b/c I was so angry that I couldn't function like I had before. I literally felt like I was helpless and that everyone was watching me. My friend assured me that it was fine and to take my time....then I broke into tears a 2nd time. By the time I was done, half of my $10 meal was still on my plate b/c my mouth/jaw were so tired and b/c I was so frustrated. Some say "those persons with bad teeth" take the easy way out by getting dentures...but they don't know what we go through to get to that point (the pain of never ending toothaches, the sleepless nights, the worry of what people will think about our smile, the financial burden it puts on us, etc, etc...). However, I don't think they realize that getting dentures really is a difficult and time consuming process; it's almost like we have to learn how to use our mouth all over again. Thankfully, a lot of stories turn out successful; but some don't and their problems continue on. It's definitely not an easy way out by any means!!!!!
I hope I don't appear whiny when I post on here. This board is like therapy for me b/c I really have no one to talk to except my mother & friend. Plus, I want to share my story in case there is someone else who has similar issues. When I first started researching getting full dentures, this is the kind of information I was looking for: a real-life, real-time, step-by-step story that could tell me what to expect. Those YouTube videos I mentioned in my original post were such an inspiration for me...I guess I kinda want to offer the same kind of help to someone else if I can. The best feeling in the world is to know that I'm not alone with this. I really had no idea that so many people had been down this same road with the same problems/issues. Every story, whether positive or negative, has been so helpful.
I am honestly having a pretty difficult time right now (mentally & physically) with this "getting full dentures" concept - but I need to keep my eye focused on the end result. I need to remain positive or I'll be absolutely miserable. So...here's hoping to a good week :)
4. Reply to Starting my journey... by life-is-what-you-make-it
Posted: May 21, 2011 7:23 am
Update #4: Well, it's day 4 after getting 9 of my back teeth extracted. The holes all seem to be healing nicely, but the pain seems to be lingering a bit. It's not a pain that makes me want to cry, it's just a nagging feeling (I assume it's mainly coming from the healing & shrinkage). I've found myself waking about 3 or 4 times during the night b/c of an uncomfortable sensation; but I fall back asleep soon after. However, I did have to get up and get an ice pack last night to put on my right cheek. Again, this type of pain is nothing compared to a horrid toothache...at least this is bearable and some ice or Tyelnol takes most of the edge off.
One issue I discovered last night is that I apparently have a bone fragment coming to the surface where my lower, left eye tooth was. On top of that, I have a small sore on the inside of my bottom lip that's close to that area. The combo of those two items so close together is not very pleasant. I did rinse with some warm, salt water a little bit ago, so I'll see if that helps the sore at all. I've read in quite a few places that the bone fragment issue is common...so I'll wait to see if it works itself out.
I'm going to the grocery today to see what I can eat comfortably. I was craving something salty at work all day yesterday; so I got some Cheez-its and broke them into tiny bits. They tasted SO good, but that was probably not a good idea b/c the roof of my mouth is a kinda sore today. So, nothing but soft, friendly food for a while. I am also a huge cereal eater - so I'm thinking about maybe some Rice Crispies or Fruity Pebbles; something that's small, will become soft after it sits in milk for a while and that I don't have to really chew. One lunch item that did go over well yesterday- I went to Wendy's and got a baked potato w/ cheese and a frosty. The potato gave me the hot food I was craving and the coolness of the frosty felt very good in my sore mouth.
I do have to say that it sucks not being able to eat the things I want. I am truely a meat & potatoes girl!!! All in good time :)
With the talking issue: I'm still struggling to say my S's properly. I feel like I'm back in 2nd grade when I had a slight speech impediment and couldn't say my S's. Again, if I slow down and take my time, I talk just fine...but I can still tell that I sound funny. Oh well, it's just temporary. Another small issue I've had all my life is that my mouth has always produced a lot of saliva. Now that I don't have my bottom, side teeth...I have to focus on constantly swallowing so that I don't drool everywhere. That's really not a major issue, but I had two small incidents at work when I was talking...I just laughed it off and blamed it on my recent dental work ;)
3. Reply to Starting my journey... by life-is-what-you-make-it
Posted: May 19, 2011 7:20 pm
Update #3: First day at work (with all my back teeth removed) went ok. I do have to say, though, that it was kinda tough talking b/c I no longer have my side, lower teeth to keep my tongue in check. I had a hard time saying words that start with "S" since I only have 4 lower teeth to push my tongue against ... but if I slowed myself down and concentrated, I could talk just fine. To me, when I look in the mirror, I can tell that most of my lower teeth are gone. I worry that my new speech impediment will draw more attention to my mouth, but I figure it will get better day by day. I have to admit that I'm counting down the days to July when I have a full set of teeth again.
As for eating, I did really well today. The 9 extraction holes are healing nicely and I've been able to eat soft food and ice cream just fine. The spots are still tender, so I do have to take it easy. For my 10 am snack, I usually have a pack of crackers w/ spreadable cheese. I thought maybe I could eat them by trying to keep the cracker in the center of my mouth and let it get soggy enough to eat...but it did not go so well. Definitely no hard or pointy foods (like chips or crackers). It's more like soft pasta, Soup-At-Hand cups, scrambled eggs, moistened cereal, etc... As my gums heal, I'm sure I'll be able to tackle some more "solid type" food.
On a scale of 1 to 10 for the extraction pain, I'd say it's teetering between a 1 to 3. If I keep my mouth closed, I have no pain. When I talk for long periods of time or smile, I feel just a tiny bit of pain (but nothing major). I only took 2 extra strength Tylenol once today...so I would say that's a really good sign.
Best part of my day: My dentist actually called me from home to check on me. His office is closed Thursday through Sunday and he wanted to see how I was feeling & wanted to know how I felt with the procedure yesterday. He said if I needed anything before they reopened on Monday - that I could reach him at that number. I was amazed to say the least!!!! Finding his practice was truely a blessing in disguise :)
2. Starting my journey... by life-is-what-you-make-it
Posted: May 19, 2011 6:47 am
Update #2: I went to the dentist yesterday and had 9 back teeth extracted. I was more scared of the IV sedation than anything else b/c I had never experienced it before. I have to say the whole IV part went very, very well. Here's what went down when I got there: First, I had to pay up front before anything was started. It was very difficult to write that HUGE check - but it was well worth it. I think the affordable places usually run anywhere from 3K to 4K ... I'm paying 7K. This amount covers everything and includes the appointments for the extractions, the impressions, the making & fitting of a full set of dentures and 2 reline appointments. Trust me, this is A LOT of money for me. I got divorced about a year ago and am one of those people who lives week to week on a paycheck (with just a very small amount in my savings). When I found out the total cost, I went to my credit union and took out the loan (they are taking out $50 a week w/ no penalty for a payoff). I could have gone the other route and did the affordable denture place...but this is very personal to me and I like the one-on-one attention and the pace that everything is going (b/c no one knows what's going on). I've known lots of people who've done the one day/immediate denture places and I've heard good things. I just chose to go this route b/c I like the confidentiality of it and the personal/long term care that comes with it.
Anyway, after I paid, they took me back to the room where my extractions would be done. The dental assistant was so sweet. When she asked me how I was doing, I immediately broke into tears. She asked if I was scared or just sad...and I replied pretty much just sad. She was by my side with a box of kleenex and told me everything would be ok. These were her exact words, "I know it's hard b/c this is a very tough loss. Just focus on the end and how beautiful you and your smile are going to be." After she calmed me down, she walked through everything step by step. I had a 101 questions about the sedation!!! She gave me the following rundown: 1) the dentist would come in and talk to me for a minute 2) he'd tap my arm to find a vein and insert the needle 3) after the medicine kicked in, he'd administer the shots 4) once numb, he'd start extracting the teeth 5) within an hour, he'd be done...the IV would be taken out...and I could go home. Well, everything went just like she said it would. The dentist was wonderful when he came in!!! He was so serious my other two appointments; yesterday he was a little more light hearted to lighten the mood. When he asked me if I had questions, I told him only about the sedation (I'm sure the assistant was like: REALLY???? AGAIN!!!) My question to him was: since I've never had these medicines before, what happens if I'm allergic...esp since they will be coursing through my veins? He told me that he's never seen anyone have a reaction, but that they do have something in the room that would reverse if something should go wrong. He then explained the process a little further. He said he'd be giving me two medicines through the IV - one for anxiety and one for pain. I then asked how soon after would he give me the shots. He said once they have ran through for a few minutes, he'd then start the shots. The IV went in great. First, water was just running through; then he added the medicines. Within seconds, I felt a little strange/light headed...but I still had my senses about me. Next, they covered my eyes with a paper towel like cover (the assistant said this was to help keep me calm if I opened my eyes and would also keep any debris from my face). Soon after, I got about 12 shots and I really didn't feel anything but a little pressure. Once he began the extractions, there were times I felt more pressure...but nothing major or hurtful at all. The only real problem I had was that he had an issue numbing my lower, right eye tooth. He had to give me 2 additional shots and wouldn't do anything until it was numb. Even though I was sedated, I was fully aware of what was going on - I was just REALLY relaxed. I had heard that some patients had dental amnesia and don't remember the situation, but I remember just about everything. It obviously was not a fun experience, but it wasn't bad at all. Afterwards, they let me sit in the chair for about 10 minutes to gain my bearings after the IV was removed. I had to use the restroom and thought I was feeling ok. The assistant helped me stand up....and boy did the room spin!!!! I was fine once I got moving, but I could tell something was definitely different. When I went into the restroom, I almost cried b/c my face was so swollen...but then I kinda laughed b/c I looked so funny :) When my mom saw me, she tried not to laugh...but she couldn't help herself (I looked like a chipmunk storing up for winter). Let me give you one word of advice: have at least one or two people to be your support system....I can't imagine doing this alone. I don't know what I'd do without my mom. She was very comforting the whole entire trip there....then was having fun with me afterwards to keep my spirits up. After the dentist put new gauze in my mouth, he prescribed me Tylenol 3 and told me he'd see me in July and we'd start finishing the process. I asked him how quickly the rest of the procedure would go and he said fairly fast. I'll go back in on July 6th for an evaluation and impressions, then go back on July 11th for some type of fitting and adjustments. After that, he said I'd be back in his office for 5 more appointments - about 3 to 10 days apart. He said it's really nothing but smooth sailing from now until he extracts the front teeth and puts in the dentures.
When I got home, I was feeling ok. I had to take the gauze out b/c it felt like it was poking into the extraction holes. Plus, my remaining front teeth were really sore (probably from the trauma that went on around them). I was also starving and thirsty b/c I couldn't have anything in my system 6 hours prior to my sedation. After I got home, I immediately drank some water and later ate some Spaghettios. I chose that food b/c I can eat it luke warm and it was a soft food that would fill me up. I could barely open my mouth due to the numbness, so I just had to take little spoon fulls at a time. I felt like a huge baby b/c I had no idea that I had the sauce running down my chin until I looked down at my shirt (that's how numb my chin was!). But, I successfully ate and drank with no problem. When the numbness started to wear off, I could feel the pain starting to set in. It wasn't horrible, but it did hurt. Stupid me thought I had some Ibuprofin at home and I did not (definitely make sure you have some type of pain medication at home). My mom had already left, so I called one of my friends to see if they could run to the store for me. I got some Tylenol Rapid Release and some Tylenol PM. Until my friend got there, I was using ice on my cheeks and that helped tremendously. When my friend made it over, I was so tired that I just took the Tylenol PM and went to bed....I slept GREAT (I highly recommend having that on hand if you can take it for a good night's rest).
When I woke up this morning, I didn't know if I'd want to go to work due to the swelling. When I looked in the mirror, the swelling did go down a little, but not much. It still hurts a little, but nothing major. I figure if I take my Tylenol with me and some ice, I should be able to work the whole day in the office. I will try to go today to get the Tylenol 3 - I imagine it's a little stronger than regular Tylenol. But, if what I have works - I may not deal with it b/c I really don't feel like dealing with all the people at WalMart (so we'll see).
Right now, I am attempting to drink a glass of milk and eat some cereal. The milk is ok (the cold feels really good), but the cereal is a challenge. I still can't open my mouth too wide and I definitely can't chew. I also have a fear that something could go down into one of the extraction holes; so I'm eating very cautiously and focusing on keeping the food in the center of my mouth. I've let the cereal get kind of soggy so it's easier to eat. Plus side to all this, I'm looking forward to losing a few pounds :)
Hopefully today will be an ok day at work!
1. Reply to Starting my journey... by life-is-what-you-make-it
Posted: May 18, 2011 5:25 am
Just a quick update: Well, I go today to get my back teeth extracted. Originally, the dentist wanted to pull all my lowers b/c you don't really see them too much when I talk to smile. I told him that was not an option; however, I did bargain with him since the bottom 2 eye teeth are kinda fat in shape and it'll offer a better fit if those spots are healed in a month. So, he'll pull everything except for the front 4. So, I'll have 6 upper/front and 4 lower/front when I walk out of his office today (just enough where no one will know what's going on). In about 1.5 to 2 months, I'll return to have the rest extracted and my permanent dentures put in.
I'm not at all nervous about having the teeth pulled b/c I had so many removed years ago. It's sad to say this, but dental work is almost like a walk in the park. The one thing I am nervous about is being IV sedated. Other than my mouth, I'm very fortunate & blessed to be healthy. I have never been to the hospital or had any type of medical procedure done (knock on wood) ... so the sedation part is brand new to me. I'm anxious to see how it goes so I'll know what to expect the next time. (in the future- I am a little scared about having my front ones pulled just b/c they are close to the sinus area and I've never had anything near the front pulled before.)
Wish me luck!!! I'll be one step closer to a new, beautiful smile :)