Cleft Lip and Palate · Comedy · Medical/Dental · Mental Health

Going Mental Over Dental

My therapist told me I had PTSD surrounding surgery and dental procedures. I guess today was living proof that was true. In a few days, I will be able to laugh it off with my parents, but right now it is just too much.

I went in to see the prosthodontist because I knew my “piece” was loose. Yes, I have a grill. Yes, sort of in the gansta’ sense, only the teeth are not gold; they are carefully matched to complement the color of my other teeth. Long story, short, it is one perfectly crafted grill built by a craftsman , who is now my general practitioner. (YAY!) When you look up meticulous in the book, this guy’s picture is there. That said, he can be a bit scary. A good pair of hands trumps scary. Alright, enough digressions. So I go in today and he has to take out my grill. The grill is glued into the studs (implants) that are embedded in the bone in my gums. (We’ll cover bone grafts and implants in another blog.) The oral surgeon told me, a few weeks ago, that the bone was great. No surgery needed. In the surgeon’s opinion, I would need some filing down of the bottom tooth that was hitting the grill the wrong way, and thus causing it to rock. (Which I noticed with my Adam Corrolla Patented “Hyper Vigilance” others may call it obsessiveness, or protection on your investment) The simple filing down is not what happened today. I had the entire 4-top-tooth grill removed, cleaned, studs cleaned and reglued into place. I knew it was going to be a possibility, but I didn’t buy completely into it. I was scared in that dental chair today. I really was. I sweat so much I probably left a flood behind. I was glad that I wore black with an eggplant cardigan today.

The worst part is always the initial smell when the piece is removed. Thankfully, I had an extraordinarily well trained assistant (that I remembered from my clinic days at Children’s Hospital. Boston) that wiped it down with my favorite pharmaceutical ever, Peridex. Tastes great and sanitizes. It’s ‘better-than-Febreeze’ for your mouth. Then, the really scary part took place with the prosthodontist armed with his high-speed burr. The high-speed burr cleans off the excess, old and grotey (sp?) super dental glue. At this point, I tensed up and began to sweat like a prostitute in church. Thankfully, the long sleeve tee and cardigan soaked it up. You cannot move a bit when that burr is in your mouth. Bad things will happen to good people. I put all my energy into NOT MOVING. The dentist caught my gum twice in the process, I did not need to be the cause for it to happen a third time. I held on tight. Closed my eyes tight. I was asked if I was okay and replied, “I’m nervous.” What I really wanted to say was, “I’ve had enough.” Later, they would ask AGAIN, with my cheeks filled with 1/4” inch gauze rounds, “Are you okay?” It was hard to say “F*&%ing Phenomenal” with gauze and no use of my tongue or lips. I just nodded, slightly, as the bright light and movement of my head caused those sparklers to go off in the corners of my eyes. After cleaning my studs with the usual electronic brush and stating his disapproval about my hygiene around the studs (hello, how do you clean under something in a place where you can’t see!) it was time to reglue my grill back in. The glue was quickly prepped by the assistant, the clean grill prepped and in it went. The dentist grabbed the grill hard, nearly dragging me out of the chair. I fought back pulling towards my feet, ever so slightly. I know how to counterbalance his effort, thanks to experience and lots of time spent at the gym. I was the yin to his yang in that moment. He held his pull for 2 minutes. Then took another 1/4” gauze roll and placed it under the frontispiece and told me to “Bite down.” He said I would hold it for 4 more minutes. As I waited and stared at the ceiling, he discussed scheduling for May/June with his assistant. I continued to sweat and try to breathe through my nose. I realized how much sweat had gathered in my khakis and hoped it would not show upon standing. I held for 4 minutes. Then more picking and prodding occurred. The excess glue had to be removed yet again. His explorer ran around the gums and into the food trap on the weak, left side where the gums are tender. Ouch. He poked me again, on the right side. Ouch. A parting blow. Poke. Poke. Prod. Prod. I brace myself for more pain. It doesn’t come. He asks me to bite down again. “How does it feel?” “Great,” I say. Of course, you built it. And I have come. And continue to keep coming to your field of dreams. “Good, good,” he says. “You are all set.” We reaffirm our plan to have him become my new general practitioner. He says that his hygienist will teach me how to clean the grill and studs better. I’m looking forward to it. Really. I am. I hate that I have kept my investment dirty. Does anyone want a dirty car? A dirty home? No. I don’t want that to happen to my teeth, either. I tell the assistant that I remember her from Children’s. I remember “her voice” I tell her. I do. She tells me to wear my mouth guard during the day and bring it in for an adjustment for my first cleaning. Done and Done.

I check out with the receptionist relieved. I get onto the street, sit on a park bench and call my mother. Whew it is over. I’m still humming on whatever adrenaline is left running through my system. I talk to her and explain that he will be my new general practitioner. I explain what happened, but without too much detail. She is faint of heart now, thankfully she was not in earlier years. Then again, she had no choice back in those days. She had to show strength and help run the show. I assure her I’m headed over for some “retail therapy” at some stores. I go to a boutique and buy some earrings. I’m tired now. I get in my car and go home. Call Mom, again, and then Dad. Dad and I talk while I drive home. I get home and crash. Crash.

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