Saturday, October 8, 2011

On Building Bridges: A brief overview many of my past several appointments

I believe since I last left off I was on the verge of receiving my final crown on tooth #3 and beginning my bridge on numbers 4-6. I don't have pictures of all of this and some of the details have escaped me over the past few months, but I will share with you the bits and pieces of the story I managed to capture.
Here is a picture from my 28th appointment showing the prep on teeth #4 and #6 at the start of the huge number of steps necessary for the completion of my first bridge which my student dentist was using for one of her numerous needed competencies.
Basically the outer surface of the teeth are removed to leave a "peg" of sorts which i kind of think of like a Lego that the final 3-tooth porcelain and metal bridge can be cemented onto. Note my FINALLY finished crown, post last-minute emergency root canal on my first (and only) molar behind them, tooth #3.
Here is a pic of the temporary crown Rakhee made and fitted that day to cover the exposed and sensitive inner tooth surface of my canine.
At my next appointment upon a consultation with my dentist's advising doctors, it was decided to slightly refine the prep on those teeth and drop the margin of tooth #6, or basically remove the surface of the tooth slightly deeper than the gumline so on the finished bridge you would have less of a chance to see the edges where the fake tooth meets the real tooth since it was in a more visible location.

Thank god today would also be one of the last times I would ever have to endure one of my biggest dental pet peaves, PACKING CORD, as you can see above in the blue lines of cord stuffed into the margins on teeth #4 and #6.
 Today we needed to take impressions again so the lab could have a record of the modifications made to my teeth in order to prep my final bridge, including the inner metal support that would first need to be tried in before the porcelain could be added around it.
In a weird way impressions always feel like 5-minute head hugs of sorts. A speechless internal reflection on all of mine and Rakhee's time together and how far we have come, like we just reached another landing in the skyscraper of babysteps we climb every day and at every appointment toward my finished smile. Every impression is a record of a new and improved me that she has created, and I adore she has like, a whole "shoebox" of models of my mouth. After spending much of my life always thinking that if I were to die in a flaming wreck that I would probably never be identified because I had no dental records, that is most certainly no longer the case.

After impressions I received a temporary bridge. Though a far cry from what my finished bridge could look like, this would be the first time I would see my mouth with a first premolar on the upper right side in years, and I couldn't help be be a little freaked out in once again seeing myself with one more tooth in my mouth after so many years without so many of them, and certainly so many others I was ashamed to look at.

Today's appointment also came a few days after my dentist's birthday, and I was up half the night before creating her present and card, which in the spirit of the open honest ways I am documenting most every aspect of this experience for the world to see, I wanted to share those words as well. I gave her a flash drive full of the nearly 4 gigs of pictures and videos I have taken since the beginning of this story from all my appointments, fundraisers and all aspects of my story that has, quite arguably, become her story as much as mine in my opinion. Here is my floss-shaped "card" I made her:

Over the next few appointments, X-rays, consultations and scheduling of MORE appointments, I was prescribed an extra strong toothpaste and encouraged to also use Listerine to help strengthen my roots and enamel. It occurred to me later while looking at my arsenal of tools and prescriptions I have used in relation to my mouth in comparison to the crappy old folding travel toothbrush and Tom's of Maine toothpaste I was using a year ago, that I have come a LOOONG way in how much care I try to take of my teeth.
At my 31st appointment I had my metal try-in of the internal support for my bridge. I couldn't help be be amused and feel like a cyborg. I am still wondering to what extent having implants may complicate my ability to pass through airport security when my teeth are finally finished.
I'm going to end this entry here and keep you in suspense to see my finished bridge I received on October 4th and read about how it has effected my life. More updates real soon!


  1. I would like to appreciate you the way you have shared the post with us. It is really hard to find the quality post, but you have done this job nicely man.Appointment Cards

  2. Wow you are so open with your experience, I think it is great that you shared your story. Your new smile looks good btw. :)