Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The story of a tooth

Okay, for those of you who are around me daily - you can sit this post out. You have heard all the whining and belly aching you can possibly stand about a pre-molar tooth (tooth #12 to be exact) of mine.
Abscessed tooth - that is what my regular Dentist tells me on Tuesday, May 6th. What is an abscessed tooth? Here you go courtesy of WebMD.

Dental Health: Abscessed Tooth
An abscessed tooth is a painful infection at the root of a tooth or between the gum and a tooth. It's most commonly caused by severe tooth decay. Other causes of tooth abscess are trauma to the tooth, such as when it is broken or chipped, and gingivitis or gum disease.
These problems can cause openings in the tooth enamel, which allows bacteria to infect the center of the tooth (called the pulp). The infection may also spread from the root of the tooth to the bones supporting the tooth.
What Are the Symptoms of an Abscessed Tooth?
A toothache that is severe and continuous and results in gnawing or throbbing pain or sharp or shooting pain are common symptoms of an abscessed tooth. Other symptoms may include:
Pain when chewing
Sensitivity of the teeth to hot or cold
Bitter taste in the mouth
Foul smell to the breath
Swollen neck glands
General discomfort, uneasiness, or ill feeling
Redness and swelling of the gums
Swollen area of the upper or lower jaw
An open, draining sore on the side of the gum
If the root of the tooth dies as a result of infection, the toothache may stop. However, this doesn't mean the infection has healed; the infection remains active and continues to spread and destroy tissue. Therefore, if you experience any of the above listed symptoms, it is important to see a dentist even if the pain subsides.
How Is an Abscessed Tooth Diagnosed?
Your dentist will probe your teeth with a dental instrument. If you have an abscessed tooth, you will feel pain when the tooth is tapped by your dentist's probe. Your dentist will also ask you if your pain increases when you bite down or when you close your mouth tightly. In addition, your dentist may suspect an abscessed tooth because your gums may be swollen and red.
Your dentist may also take X-rays to look for erosion of the bone around the abscess.
How Is an Abscessed Tooth Treated?
Strategies to eliminate the infection, preserve the tooth, and prevent complications are the goals of treatment.
To eliminate infection, the abscess may need to be drained. Achieving drainage may be done through the tooth by a procedure known as a root canal. Root canal surgery may also be recommended to remove any diseased root tissue after the infection has subsided. Then, a crown may be placed over the tooth.
The tooth may also be extracted, allowing drainage through the socket.
Finally, a third way to drain the abscess would be by incision into the swollen gum tissue.
Antibiotics are prescribed to help fight the infection. To relieve the pain and discomfort associated with an abscessed tooth, warm salt-water rinses and over-the-counter pain-reducing medication like ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) can be used.
The inflammation and pain of abscesses can be relieved with a low-level laser, making the patient more comfortable to receive the injection in a more painless way.
Can an Abscessed Tooth Be Prevented?
Following good oral hygiene practices can reduce the risk of developing a tooth abscess. Also, if your teeth experience trauma (for example, become loosened or chipped), seek prompt dental attention.
Reviewed by the doctors at The Cleveland Clinic Department of Dentistry.

OK - so that is what it is and it sounds pretty nasty I must say. So I am forwarded to a Specialist to perform the root canal. Easy enough solution, right? WRONG - my luck (if it weren't for bad luck I'd have no luck at all...) shows up as always and the Specialist in Valdosta that I am referred to is moving his office. Yep, that's right. Moving his office - all of his dental chairs, numbing medicine, utensils, free toothbrushes and floss, waiting room magazines, posters of teeth....I guess you are getting my point right now. So, I wait. But realize I can't wait - my tooth hurts!!! I go see another General Dentist here in town. OH MY - he can do the root canal same day (Thursday, May 8th)- same appointment in fact. It can't be...this simply is not how my luck runs. Yaba Daba DOOOOO!!!!!
Hot dog - I am in high cotton now. The Dr says - whoa, you have had this abscessed tooth for a long time. There is a lot of infection and we can't close this up today. You will need to come back in 2 weeks. Keep taking your antibiotics and we will see you on May, 22nd. Hmmm...okay, things still seem pretty good at this point.
Monday, May, 19th approximately 7:15 AM - my tooth breaks off. Yes, lovely....all that is there is the funny colored "stuff" he pushed up into the shallow shell of my tooth on the 8th. Did it hurt? Ummm....yep. Does it hurt now? Ummmmmm...yep, yep.

So can it still be crowned?

We hope so. I'll know for sure at my appointment on Thursday.

If not, I may posting a story about a bottle of liquor, a pair of vice grips and a piece of Chicklet chewing gum. Ever seen the movie Dennis the Menace????


Becoming Me said...

So sorry to laugh at your pain, but that was a funny post! I hope you get this taken care of soon!

Amanda said...

Hope your get to feeling better soon!! Its still a funny story!