Friday, 23 March 2018

The Process. Your Mileage May Vary.

So, my crown.  The dental one, that is.  (laugh track goes off)

I'd never had anything more than a filling before (and please please can we just keep it that way?) so I had no idea what to expect with this.  I asked a few people and no one had anything too terrible to say, but I thought I'd give a quick summary of my experience.

One of my front teeth showed a line on it a while ago.  Like, I literally have no idea when I first noticed it or what, so "a while".  Two cleanings ago (so a year or more) the hygenist was frustrated the line had picked up some discoloration so she cleaned it really carefully.  When I got home, I noticed that I could "feel" the line with my tongue (or finger nail) for the first time but I thought this was just a line/ridge that now had stuff cleaned out of it so no big deal.

Last cleaning, at the dentist check in time, the dentist sat up after his inspection and said, ok, we need to talk about that crack in your tooth.

I was like, what?  Because I thought it was just a ridge, like you get on your fingernails or something, it didn't look like, or feel like what I thought a "cracked tooth" would be. 

He told me that it wasn't currently causing any problems and might always remain that way, so we had a few choices... we could do nothing and hope that it never broke.  But that if it did break, it could break "well" and just need a simple crown, or it could break "badly" and need a root canal or bridge or something.

Well, I was pretty terrified of anything and everything and had been taken quite by surprise so I didn't really know what to say.  He said we could wait and see, or we could go in pro-actively and put a crown on the tooth now, therefore controlling any potential bad future breaks.

I was fairly stunned, so asked if I could make the appointments for the crown and then cancel if I changed my mind, so that's what we did.

I went home, cried for a bit, and then did some research.  I looked up things on the internet (never terribly helpful but a reasonable baseline I suppose) and I talked to my family members (all of whom have had a crown or more) and asked any friends.  As I said before, everyone said it was pretty much no big deal but that a bridge or a root canal sucked.  My brother said it wasn't much more uncomfortable than a filling so I figured even though I didn't want to, I'd go ahead and be proactive.  Ugh. 

So, then I had, something like five or six appointments.  (I know, right?)  First one was to take photos for my extended health insurance company.  I guess they wanted proof that there was a crack/whatever we're calling it.  Right.  Because I'd CHOOSE to go through this?  NOT!  So yeah, photos, where I had to grin like an idiot.

Then there was the appointment where they took molds of my teeths.  Like, metal trays with... uh, magic stuff in them and then a mold of my teeth... whatever.  

Then... oh, I suppose I should say if you're squeamish at all about the dentist to stop reading, but I'm assuming you stopped waaaay up there anyway.  (Not that it gets gross, just saying.)  Then there was the first "real" appointment.  That I dreaded.  I showed up and my dentist said "you know we don't have to do this" and I wanted to scream because NO.  I DON'T WANT TO, DON'T GIVE ME THE OPTION!  Ugh.  The area was frozen (which I always always hate the worst but he's so much better than my old dentist so it's not awful, just not great) and then, well, this wasn't terribly fun, but this is why you have music and earphones with you.  Then they drilled away at my poor tooth.  As in, they drilled it away.  Bye buddy... I miss you!  I didn't feel anything, but the noise isn't super awesome, and my dentist uses water...based instruments so I ended up having to pee (I always do!)  So there was a break time, and I went to pee and, well, yeah, I had to look!  So I looked and there was a nub of a tooth where my tooth used to be.  I tried to make it be funny, like arrrr I'm a pirate, but I was kind of sad too.  My tooth was gone, no turning back now.

There was actually a lot more of the tooth left than I would have thought.  For some reason, I expected like a little mini vampire fang, but it was more like a baby tooth size, or a pinky nail size, if that makes sense.  So yeah, I took a photo and sent it to a couple of people because damn that sucked... but I may as well try to laugh.  Or something.

They then stuck on a temporary crown... somehow molded to the size and shape my tooth was and told me to be mindful of flossing and biting, and that if it came off, to let them know ASAP to have it put back on.

And that evening/night kind of sucked, I'll be honest.  I think it was probably the "trauma" to the tooth of having so much of it worn away like that.  And then having something not quite perfect stuffed back in or something.  But I took lots of advil, and Jason cooked for me and I took it easy and felt sorry for myself but it wasn't the worst but it also wasn't the best.  No likey.

The temporary didn't look great to me either.  The size/shape was ok, but the colour to me was way off. 

Next appointment was at a specialty something or other place where they "colour matched" my other teeth.  That involved photos and more photos and them holding samples up and photos of that and was really quite fascinating.  They didn't seem to get my joke when I was having to hold my mouth open with these metal things that it was very "Clockwork Orange" but hey, I amused myself at least... again!

Next appointment I thought was going to be as rough as the first, so I planned to have myself the next day off, but it turned out it was a false alarm appointment.  I went in, they literally just pulled the temp crown off (WHAT?) and that felt weird.... and then they put in the new one, had me look at it, poked and prodded around or something, took more photos (for the lab place I think?) and then glued the old temporary back on!  ARGH!

So then I had to book my last last appointment.  I guess they had to have enough time to send the real one back for any final adjustments so I had the temp back for a few weeks and it was uncomfortable most of that time.  (I think probably the glue?)  So then the other week I went back in for my final appointment.

Freezing, pop the old one off, slide the new one in... adjust things (I have no idea), adjust more things.  Have me bite, bite, bite (with the bite check... things) grind away a bit of another tooth (so they don't grind each other), more checking, more bite checking, more... I don't know what.  But I didn't need my headphones so yay.  They did something to the tooth (to make the glue stick better I think?) and then they popped the new one on, flossed away any excess glue they could and... well, done.  The thing looks good, and they told me I didn't have to be cautious, that the glue was already set and, well, there you go.  The final appointment was so much easier than the first, it was a huge relief.  So all I dealt with (other than a huge bill, UGH!) was the discomfort from the needle and some gum soreness the next few days.

Oh, and I forgot my night guard, so I went back later that day and he adjusted it so there was no issue (and so I could sleep that night!  it's hard to fall asleep without it, I've had it so long now.)

The tooth doesn't feel "right".  They made it thicker to make it stronger and the thickness is weird.  It's driving my tongue absolutely bonkers and I really don't like it but I'll get used to it.  No other choice.  For the first couple of days, whenever I'd eat, my tongue would try to clear the "bunch of food" stuck behind my tooth, only for me to realize it was actually the new tooth.  Sigh.

I think my gums are still kind of annoyed... it's a new shape after all, and the tooth itself is very weirdly shaped at the back, and I don't like that, but I'm hoping I'll stop noticing after a while.  As I said, the tooth looks great.  (I swear it's a teeeeeeny tiny bit wider but no one but me would notice.. but I've stared at this tooth for all my adult life so... I notice!) But the colour is spot on... the texture of it feels great and, well, it certainly went a whole lot better than it might have had I left it and had it break on its own.

So yeah... my process of getting a dental crown was not too terrible.  It wasn't inexpensive, but dental stuff never is.  Here's to no more dental work for me ever.  Ok?  Please?  Pretty please?



Jason Langlois said...

Man, I'm glad that story ended on the up note.

I'm also glad your teeth are almost as good as new!

Victoria said...

Yep, all in all, a success for sure :)