Monday, September 16, 2013

Thoughts after over three hours in the dentist's chair

I've always thought of myself as having very strong teeth.  Every dentist has told me that my teeth were unusually strong, "as hard as rocks" one said.  So, you can easily imagine my surprise on Friday the sixth when a piece of one of my upper rear teeth chipped off.  (For more, see this earlier blog entry.) 

I spent a good chunk of today and a rather large amount of money having the dentist repair the problem.  Now, I'm basically as good as new, though where the tooth was I now have about half a tooth and a crown.  In the course of those several hours with my dentist, I couldn't work anywhere near as much as I'd like, so quite a few thoughts crossed my mind. In no particular order...

As it turns out, one cusp of the tooth had broken off.  The second went flying away the moment the dentist began to grind the tooth smooth for the crown.  Apparently, this particular tooth had given up the ghost.  I find that annoying.  I wanted to tell my teeth to drop and give me twenty, then toughen the fuck up, but, of course, them dropping from my mouth would not be a good thing.

I really do have one of the world's worst gag reflexes.  I gagged at times they didn't think should bother me at all.  Still, I managed to make it through the entire process without throwing up on or biting anyone.  Go, me. 

Technology just keeps making dentistry better.  The dentist used an IR camera to take 3D photos of my tooth from many angles, fed those into a sort of dental CAD program, and created a model of the crown.  He then fed the model to a sort of 3D printer, which started with a block of some new, high-tech, tooth-like material and carved away all the parts it didn't want.  The result was a purplish crown that they fitted on my tooth, adjusted slightly, fitted again, and ultimately declared ready to go.  Off to an oven it went to bake.  About twenty minutes later, harder than a real tooth, it emerged.  The dentist fitted it, adjusted the bite, and so on, until he declared me ready to go.

The crown feels completely natural.  Even when I touch the tooth/crown combo, it feels like my tooth.  That's excellent. 

The amount of numbing agent it took to make sure I felt no pain at all--and I truly felt no pain--in that upper tooth was apparently enough that the whole left side of my face, from the outer edge of my eye to my lips, drooped a bit.  The injection even numbed my sinuses enough that I couldn't clear the left half of them.  I was really channeling my inner Stallone today. 

If the dentist had offered free Wi-Fi and let me bring my laptop, I could have stayed current on work, because at least a third of the time, and maybe a half, went to waiting.  Working on my phone, I just wasn't as productive.

The staff there found it odd that I worked on my phone at all breaks in the action and made several comments about it. I, predictably, thought it completely normal.

All in all, the experience was entirely better than I had feared, and the result is completely satisfactory.  If you live around here and are willing to pay a bit more than normal for dental care, I cannot help but recommend my dentist, Dr. Craig Williams

I'm still pissed at that tooth for giving up so easily.

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