Friday, July 29, 2011

Appointment #23, My 1st Crown and My 6 Month Anniversary At the Dental School.

Today...was a very special day. Little did anyone know it but before today's 1:00PM appointment and 4 hours at work that morning, I had spent nearly 6 hours straight working until after 5:00AM on a variety of Thank Yous for all of my student dentists and faculty who have made a difference in my life thus far in my journey. Today was also the day when I would finally get to see the first two new teeth created for me in the lab. I must admit, sitting on the blue context of my cast, they didn't look like they would seem quite right in my actual mouth! Something about the color or the size seemed off, it was weird. Maybe being upside down didn't help either?

Sorry #3, you are in timeout until I get another root canal. Go back to your little white box.
It seemed appropriate to me that the crowns came in a little box kind of like a wedding ring would come in. I couldn't help but think, what a great gift a crown or an implant would be if I had a fiance who truly loved me. Just as expensive as a wedding ring, something that would change my life, help my mental and physical health, ease my pain, and make eating more enjoyable. Frankly, a dentist puttign a new tooth in my mouth almost seems far MORE symbolic and certainly more tangibly able to affect my real life than any ring with a jewel unearthed by some poor, oppressed minority ever could be. I would rather sport a $2,000 implant from my wife anyday over a diamond and gold engagement ring. Would certainly make for an interesting pre-nup too, no doubt.
Me, awaiting my ringbearer, Rakhee. I guess I'm marrying all of you who donated?
We took the temporary crown off that Rakhee had fashioned and checked out the fit, also taking new X-rays. The look on her face as the first came up on the computer monitor made me a little nervous. It had been some time since we had last seen an X-ray of this tooth before the root canal, and it appeared as though the bone was considerably weak at the root or it was still infected, etc. at first glance. Uh-oh...
Upon a consultation and pulling up the X-ray from several months ago we would see that in fact, the bone was looking much BETTER and it was clarified that it was not uncommon to see a shadow such as that one with such a short amount of time passing since the root canal. DEEP sighs of relief. Proceed as planned. Let's get this show on the road!
For this magic marriage of tooth, cement and porcelain, the whole community came out. Rakhee had not one but two assistants to help with the perfect timing needed to manipulate the acid (?!) and cement and welcome my new tooth to its new home. Though it was a little shocking at first, it certainly looked far better and natural in my mouth than it did on my model.
We went to take another X-ray to make sure there was a visible line of cement along the whole seam where the tooth and the crown were joined to make sure it had adhered correctly.
Upon doing doing so and flossing Rakhee noticed there was a tiny bit of remaining glue, or flash remaining between my teeth, and since she was in fact doing this procedure for competency and just because she is awesome and a perfectionist, she made additonal refinements before a final X-ray. I signed off on the new tooth for color, shape, size, etc and gave it my approval, though I commented that "I don't even remember what it ever looked like before!" and "You guys should know better than me, right?" Also, that it was by far, the smoothest thing in my mouth. Can you tell?

This concluded the appointment, but it was still far from over for me. I still had to give out my "surprises!"
I will let these pictures tell the story:
I cut out over a dozen molar-shaped cards to personally thank many of the students and faculty who have helped and supported me in the 6 months since I first walked through those terrifying doors of Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health.

Upon doing so, the paper fragments leftover from my own form of artistry reminded me of the wreckage of so many days of bloody tool trays at the end of my appointments and I took this picture to show to my dentists to compare.

Here are all of the finished teeth and their envelopes, along with my original "Ask for help!" stencil and my gag gift for Rakhee.

I also made 4 dozen of my vegan, gluten-free, peanut butter chocolate chip cookies I regularly use for fundraising for everyone.

I wrote this 2 page letter addressing everyone and made copies for all, giving the original to Rakhee.

Page 2. I included a copy of this letter, a personalized hand-cut card and 2 of my blog promo cards in each envelope.

Everyone's stuff

Rakhee's stuff

Rakhee, of course, deserved a special card of her own.

This is what I wrote in her card. If she is okay with it, I will post her emailed response soon.

1 comment:

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