Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Dental blog.

Remarkable what you can get used to. Because of a temporary filling I'll have until the day after tomorrow, I'm not using the left side of my mouth for chewing. Strange at first, but after a week I hardly think about it.

Last week, my brother Jay sent this message about root canals and other feats of endurance: "The advantage of root canals is that after you've had one, ordinary dental work is a snap. I've had two or three in the last 20-some years," he writes.

"The first root canal I remember clearly. It was to the rearmost non-wisdom molar on the lower right side. The adjacent wisdom tooth had erupted from the gum at a 45-degree angle, forming, with the molar, a nearly perfect trap for particles of decay-inducing food. Since I had managed to put off having my wisdom teeth extracted until I was 30 years old, the damage to the molar was profound. To save the tooth, a root canal and a crown were both necessary.

"The real problem with root canals, as you may yet find out, is that it's a length procedure. If it involves a back tooth, you have to keep your mouth open very wide for a very long time, well over an hour. Assuming the dentist is good with the needle, the drilling and excavation don't hurt all that much, but your jaw will be sore for days.

"Mother has all of her teeth, I think, though some are crowned and many have fillings. Her mother, of course, lost all of her teeth before she was 50. Her father, on the other hand, died at 72 with a complete set of teeth. According to one story, a new tooth even grew in to replace a permanent tooth lost in an accident."

One of my wisdom teeth grew nearly perpendicular to the next tooth, too. Even a layman like me looking at the x-ray of it could tell it wasn't right. I had that one and the other three out at one go, back when I was 25, also a fairly advanced age for it. A friend of mine picked me up afterwards and gave me a ride home, and she was surprised that the gas hadn't made me completely silly.


Post a Comment

<< Home