Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Sweetest Words

It’s funny: if you are seriously hurt, treatment is all that matters.  That, and hearing someone say, “You’re going to be okay.”  They are the sweetest words.

I suppose “seriously” is an exaggeration of my injury, but damn, it is hard living without a front tooth.  By the time Sunday night rolled around, all I could think about is how awesome it was going to be to have a full set of teeth again.

Indeed, it is awesome!

Check Out My New Tooth!{Hi!}

You can see I’m all patched up now, new front tooth and all.  My smile has been restored.  Want to see a before and after?  Bam!  Check it out:

BeforeAfter July 2013_JPEG

The dental work was expensive—$1300 and counting! yikes!—but it was fairly pleasant, even interesting.  I was so, so lucky to get into the office on Monday morning, and by Monday afternoon I walked out with a new crown and a repaired lateral incisor.  My dentist, Dr. Kaiser, and his team were total professionals and very concerned about my comfort and restoring my smile to its former glory.  And did I mention that Dr. Kaiser called me back on Saturday, just an hour or so after the accident?  I think I did, but I’ll mention it again because it meant so much to me.  I was terrified that my tooth would become infected or that it was going to die on me, and I had no idea what to do.  His words of reassurance were priceless.

Have you ever had a crown put in your mouth?  For the curious, I’ll tell you my story.  First, my team took X-rays to check the location of the nerve and (I think) to assess the damage.  Fortunately, my tooth broke below the nerve, so the nerve is still alive in there.  Next, they sawed down the existing tooth into a tiny stump; my stump was scarier than the broken tooth!  They cautioned me not to look at it, but I was too curious and even popped into the waiting room to frighten Paul with my ghoulish tooth.

After prepping the existing tooth, they began making the crown.  Tooth color was assessed and discussed; my teeth are not uniform in color, but we ended up matching the two front incisors to each other.  From there, two crowns were made.  The first was a “test” crown to check any fit issues.  Dr. Kaiser and I adjusted the crown’s position so it wouldn’t stick so far out of my mouth into my lip.  The first crown was also a smidge too big, so the overall size was adjusted.  The second crown was perfect and was installed on top of my stump tooth.  And finally, Dr. Kaiser applied composite to the lateral incisor to repair the chip.

“You’re going to be okay.”  That’s what Paul kept saying to me on Saturday.  I felt pretty devastated by the accident—it was just so freaky and weird.  On the one hand, I’m lucky it wasn’t worse.  On the other hand, I fell down.  I didn’t get hit while riding my bike, or trip while running, or burn the heck out of my arm while cooking.  I fell down.  It makes me nervous to think that my body is so fragile now.  Or maybe we’re all fragile, and I hate being reminded of it in such a dramatic way.  As someone who occasionally runs into door frames, you can imagine I’m a bit less at ease at home.  I don’t often injure myself, but this one’s going to leave me feeling shaky for a while.

I may be nervous, but I’m also more grateful than I can say.  I paid for my medical care out of pocket, but I’m lucky I had access to the best care and the resources to pay for it.  Not everyone is so fortunate, though I hope we are haltingly, lurchingly moving toward better care for all, regardless of circumstances.  So here’s to feeling whole and happy again and to being able to eat carrots again!

(Next up: a discussion of inadequacy, real and imagined.  Sometimes timing is very strange and interesting!)

No comments: