Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Appointments 15, 16 & 17 (In Pictures) and some general updates

So as you may have guessed from the past couple of blog entries, it has been a rough few weeks. There are so many things I wish to add to my story, from omitted past details I feel are important in the grand scheme of how I got to be where I am right now in my life, to more recent occurrences and things that have been on my mind lately. I'm a little overwhelmed right now, but I wanted to make sure I got some updates in from my past three appointments before I get way behind. On May 17th I had my first root canal finished in tooth #7 which as you may recall we decided was worth saving, on the 19th I had a filling in tooth #29, and on the 27th we began prep for a crown on the only molar left in my mouth, tooth #3. My appointment on the 23rd was canceled due to me being in NY for my grandmother's funeral. I currently have five more appointments scheduled over the next two months, but am hoping to arrange to squeeze in five more. With my savings and donations, I am currently about $3,500 ahead of my appointments, and that is how many I can afford right now. Those next ten include additional prep and seating of two crowns, prep on four teeth for two three-tooth bridges, or possibly additional fillings or crowns and two implants instead. It also may include a metal post being placed in an incisor if necessary, and my remaining three incisor extractions and possible bone grafts if needed. On that day I will receive a six-tooth maxillary partial to restore function where I am missing upper teeth until the bridge and implant procedures are finished over the next several months. This Friday I also have a FREE appointment because Tyler, the student dentist who performed my first three extractions who has been following along with my progress realized that one of my teeth met the requirements for one of his board exam assignments and he is even going to arrange to have me chauffeured out there for the 26 mile ride to the dental school by his wife. Awesome! Once I bust through all these appointments as soon as I can, things are going to slow down a little because, drumroll..........all that's going to be left is putting teeth BACK in my mouth! And, well...that after all, is the expensive part. So I'm trying to focus on organizing some more fundraising opportunities on a local level, and also printing some tshirts and prints and things finally to sell online hopefully real soon. And on that note, here's a bunch of pictures!

From Appointment Number 15: Finishing my root canal on tooth #7
All prepped to drill out last week's plug in my 29.5mm hole to irrigate with the grossest tasting stuff ever, sodium hypochlorate I think it was, and "pack it up, pack it in" again. Sometimes I want to wear these crazy things in public and see how people treat me!

I wish I had a picture of this to scale, but if you can believe it, this finger-powered drill was practically all the way inside my tooth!

This crazy contraption was then used to pack in this plastic stuff (that Shane clarifies is more like what's in the center of golf balls?) inside the canal and keep melting it, providing the really strange sensation that your tooth is going to spontaneously combust. Notice the name of it. Can't help but wonder if there were other names in the running before Touch 'N Heat was decided upon, like Poke 'N Burn or something?

I practically know these little critters by name now. I bet I can almost tell by the feel of them sometimes, honestly. Freaky.

Whoah, I finally made it through a day without blood on my tray!

Okay, so it's far from "perfect," but it is one far cry from those first pictures I posted! Slow but steady. Honestly I can't even fathom what it is going to look or feel like once I get my partial in a few months. Going to have to retrain my mouth muscles to maneuver my lips into a smile shape!

Appointment Number 16 I unfortunately did not take any pictures of. It was just another quick filling around the posterior side of my second premolar, #29. It went so well I guess that I can barely even remember it, though I recall it was the first day I met Rakhee's new mentee Meyer, who has been assisting on the past two appointments. This was the last filling in my treatment plan after Tyler finishes the other side of that tooth where I didn't floss, which I don't even really understand the logistics of. I fear I may have to hang out with those annoying plastic wedge things for a few hours again, which every tooth in my mouth at this point knows, ruin the party!
I will however post one picture from the next appointment before my Dentrix Nintendomouth image was updated that shows the current status of all the work that had been done by the end of that appointment. If you will notice, blue is restorative, and red is all that remains to be done.

Appointment Number 17: Crown prep on tooth #3

About to have all the decay removed from my one molar.

I think it's hilariously misleading that Rakhee says she calls these clamps butterflies to the children she works on. I don't know if that would have conjured images of a heroic army of robot butterflies searching and destroying cavities in the mouths of children everywhere as they slept for me, or made me terrified of butterflies. I would probably describe them as "tooth-huggers," who unfortunately don't seem to know their own strength!

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That was a BIG cavity. The biggest of any of the teeth I actually got to keep. Soon to be fitted for its crown and to be the first King of my mouth's small yet very hardworking kingdom.

If you can believe it, I was totally falling asleep again. I actually did for a few seconds and kinda freaked myself out of it cuz I snapped out of it and lurched a little bit when there were instruments in my mouth.

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