As I wrote earlier, I had been having some pain after having a temporary crown installed. It was annoying, but tolerable — and then….
As I was eating dinner two nights ago, my molar began to hurt more and more. Although I was drinking room temperature water with a straw stuck so far back in my throat that it was giving my gag reflex a workout, if a drop of liquid happened to touch it, my tooth screamed in pain. I was rubbing my cheek to try to relieve the pain and finally put my finger in my mouth to massage my gums to see if that would help (don’t judge – it seems to help teething infants!) Instead of the expected smooth tooth enamel and acrylic of my temporary crown, my finger encountered roughness – pebbly, poky roughness like the surface of a freshly hewn rock. I quickly went to the bathroom mirror and contorted my neck, attempting to get an angle that would let me see my back molars. But alas, my mouth would just not open far enough to see clearly – although I did see the flash of silver from my big-ass fillings – fillings that were supposed to be gone!
My son, the soon to be paramedic, fetched a flashlight and looked in my mouth for me. He looked confused as he told me that, yes, the big-ass fillings were still there and the very last molar looked half gone!
Do you ever have those dreams where your teeth break and start falling out of your mouth? Certainly I’m not the only one – am I? According to websites, broken teeth often symbolize something else that is breaking in your life – something is literally falling apart and needs your attention. Teeth falling out might mean you are anxious, that you feel powerless, and perhaps that you have a fear of getting older. Is it any wonder I have dreams about dental demise after the year I had? I hate those dreams! I wake up feeling creepy and scared – teeth breaking and falling out are probably one of my worst fears – and now it was coming true!
I grabbed my phone and called the on-call dentist, who proceeded to educate me on the tooth numbering system. The molar that was crowned was tooth #2. Since my dentist and I had discussed the molar with the big-ass filling, which was the second molar from the back, I assumed that was tooth #2. Not so – tooth #1 would be a wisdom tooth and mine had been removed long ago. So the tooth that had been crowned (tooth #2) was the one that now looked half gone (which was understandable, as it had been drilled down in preparation for the crown and apparently the temporary crown had fallen off). When did I lose the crown? Where? I had no fucking idea. For all I know, I swallowed the damn thing in my sleep. However, that didn’t answer the question – why hadn’t my tooth with the big-ass filling (apparently tooth #3) been crowned, as I thought we had agreed? The on-call dentist couldn’t help me further. He told me to take ibuprofen (already on it) and wait until morning, when the office would call me and set me up with an appointment with my dentist – who didn’t come in until noon.
When the office called this morning, the pain was still intense – if I inhaled through my mouth, the air brushing past my tooth made me catch my breath. I told the scheduler that I was not inclined to wait until noon. They agreed to fit me in with another dentist at the clinic and I arrived well in advance of my appointment time. Once in the chair, the dentist asked me where the temporary crown was. “I don’t know.” Well, when did it fall out? “I have no idea.” All I knew was that I was in pain – and had been in pain for some time. He took a look in my mouth and nodded in agreement, telling me that he could put on another temporary crown. He also told me that he had looked at the x-rays and notes from previous visits and it appeared that my dentist had intended to crown tooth #2 instead of tooth #3. Apparently, it was the one with a crack in the filling. “So, will I need another crown in the big-ass filling tooth?” I asked fearfully. Quite frankly, I don’t know if I can bring myself to ever have another crown. He admitted that he didn’t know and that I’d need to discuss it with my dentist when I came back for the permanent crown.
The temporary crown was fitted, taken out, filed down, fitted again, taken out, filed some more, fitted once more. By this time, I was fighting back the tears – this was unbearable! I had declined the offer of anesthesia earlier, as I thought the worst was over – but it seemed it would never be over and I was regretting my decision. When he finally filled the temporary crown with temporary cement and put it in place, I let out a little scream and kicked my feet against the chair – it was fucking excruciating! Clearly, I could never be a spy – I would spill my guts the first time the bad guys started to pull a tooth! The dentist looked a bit alarmed, but assured me that the pain would be gone in a moment.
It wasn’t. I heard him speak quietly to the nurse a few minutes later, “How far down did that crack in her filling go? Was the nerve compromised?” But to me, he just assured me the pain would diminish soon and he advised me to take ibuprofen in the meantime (Really? How much ibuprofen can a girl take? I’ve only got the one liver – maybe even less after the amount of drinking I did last Friday). He also advised me to call my regular dentist if the pain continued – evidently he wanted nothing more to do with this situation.
So, the story ends there – for the time being. I cried a bit on my way to work from the pain and frustration of it all. But ibuprofen and hot packs kept the pain to a somewhat tolerable level and I was hopeful my nerve would be less “excited” by the next day. I’m still waiting and hoping.
As for the tooth with the big-ass filling? That sucker better hold it together, because I’m never getting another crown again!
Are you fearful of dentists? Do you have dreams about teeth falling out or body parts falling off? Is this much pain just the status quo with a crown or am I just a huge baby?