The Crown – Part 1

I’ve been lucky in my life.  I’ve never needed any major dental work.  I floss and brush, and I take care of my teeth.

Unfortunately, I didn’t feel the same way about oral hygiene when I was a kid.  I have one or two pretty big silver fillings that are a good 15 years old now.  Some closer to 20!!  So is it really surprising that one finally caused problems?

I was eating avocado on toast.  Not hard crunchy toast, but barely toasted toast that was more like warm bread.  I’m not sure there’s much softer food unless I was eating pudding.  I felt a weird crunch and quickly spit it all out.  A big chunk of tooth went with it.

The first thing I felt was absolutely terrified.  I’m serious.  I stared at my chunk of tooth in the garbage and panic.  Holy crap, my teeth are falling out!!!  I quickly ran my tongue over it and got more freaked out at the big empty space I now have in my mouth.  I looked in the mirror and and saw what I already knew.  I was missing a chunk of tooth.

Well that became an ordeal.  Because the tooth had such a big old filling in it, this missing chunk really made there not much tooth left.  The only real option was a crown.  My first ever major dental procedure.  I’ve promised to give a faithful narrative of all things that happen to me, so here goes.

I was afraid to go to the dentist.  yup, afraid.  I had these horror stories of pain for days and aching headaches.  I walked in for my first of two appointments and boldly told my dentist ‘I’m super nervous!’  She smiled and joked with me about it, and assured me that it was a totally normal procedure.  For my benefit, she proceeded to go over exactly what they were going to do so that I had an idea of exactly what was going to happen.  Here’s what she told me.

They take an impression of the tooth first.  Then they freeze your mouth until half your head is practically frozen.  More than a normal filling just in case.  You won’t feel a thing.  Thin they use the horrible drill and shave away the tooth all the way around so that the outside of the tooth is gone.  Then they take another mold to send to the lab, and then fit you with a temporary crown.  This temp crown is quickly made in the back room and is not meant to be kept on much longer than a week.  A week later you come back and they take off the temp crown to put in the fancy, real tooth looking one from the lab.  The use a much stronger cement to put that one on so it’s very unlikely it will come off.

Here’s the catch.  That one week between the fake crown and the real crown can be nerve-wracking.  I’m not supposed to floss because it could remove the temp crown and the tooth beneath is can be very sensitive because they’ve shaved away so much.  I’m supposed to chew on the other side and stay away from anything too chewy or crunchy.  One week and I seriously can’t imagine going through that long being this freaked out.

That said, I am surprised how normal it feels in my mouth.  The first night, when the freezing came out, he part that hurt the most were my gums.  They had to push the gums down to take a proper mold, and they were super sensitive that night.  But the fake tooth feels like… nothing.  When I run my tongue over it, it’s rough, like there’s something coating the tooth.  But on it’s own, it doesn’t feel like nothing.  They said I could have a little sensitivity, but I don’t.  If the tooth comes off, just call them and go in right away, and they’ll fix it.

Let’s jump back to the first appointment, the longest of the two.  They drilled forever!!!  I mean think of getting a filling, and make it twice as long.  I hate that stupid drill.  It is the worst sound.  But other than the drilling, there was nothing really uncomfortable about any of it.  And what’s awesome is that a ton of the silver that was in my mouth is now gone. I’m one step closer to getting rid of all of it.

The only real negative thing I have to say is that stupid cheek protector they put in my mouth.  I don’t know if it was to big for me or what, but it cut up my upper gums like crazy!!  I kept flinching and saying it hurt, but apparently you really have to have it there.  I suffered through it, but two days later, it’s the only part that still hurts.  I’m going to mention it when I go back in and say not to use it anymore, or use a smaller one.  There must be one made for kids or something.

It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be in the end.  The main appointment where they do all the work sucked, but it wasn’t like I cried the rest of the night to try and get over the horror of it.  I’ll give another update after the second appointment.

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