Friday, March 20, 2020

The Truth about the Tooth

I have thought long and hard about writing this blog post.  I feel it's something that needs to be talked about, but wasn't sure I had the guts to be the one to do it.  The more I thought about it, the more sick to my stomach I got, and the more I felt sick the more I felt like I needed to write it.  There is a stigma attached to this, and really there should not be.

So here goes..

In May of 2017, I was sitting at work one day and I realized that I could "spit" through my front teeth.  It was odd to me because I always had "tight teeth" as my dentist used to call them.  I noticed a slow progression over the next 9-12 months but didn't really stress over it.

In April of 2018, I had a back tooth get super loose to the point it had to be pulled.  From then on my teeth all just started getting loose and the space in between my front teeth got wider and wider. I legit thought they were loosening because of the one I had pulled and that they just had more space to move now.  Sounds legit, right?

So long natural teeth. Dad..sorry about the money you spent on braces!
 In the Spring of 2019, my mouth just started to hurt, all the time.  I felt terrible most of the time and as time went on I got to the point where I was barely able to eat or sleep due to pain.  On the plus side, I did lose about 15 lbs but not really sure it was worth it.

In October of 2019, I was in Columbus to spend some time with my sister, and go to a family wedding.  I had some time off the truck so I made an appointment to go see a dentist because I had (what I thought) was another back tooth that needed pulled.    BZZZZ, wrong answer.  Turns out I had such severe bone deterioration that all of  my teeth were barely hanging on. I had several pockets of infection, my gums were so receded that some of the roots were exposed and the only option I had was to have them all taken out and get dentures. I needed to talk to Mark about the good news and so I had molds made for my temporary plates and was sent on my way with an appointment scheduled for two days later to have the process started.

Now, let me say I was pretty clueless to this whole process, but my dentist, Dr. Piper at Capstone Dental in Clintonville and every one of her staff members were AMAZING.  I have always been terrified of the dentist but if you are in Columbus, and need a dentist, I CANNOT recommend them enough.  Dr. Piper and her dental assistant, Carlitta were super patient with me and they answered all of my questions and fears with so much care and concern.  I will never be able to say enough good about everyone there. BEST Dental office EVER

To say I was shocked and devastated was an understatement. After having some sticker shock at how much they cost (about $4800 in case you wondered) Mark and I decided we had no options.  So two days and some valium later, the deed was done, or was it just beginning? (said in my best Keith Morrison voice)

I honestly was most afraid of having all my teeth yanked at the same time but since they were barely hanging on anyway,  that was the easy part.  I think it took only about 30 minutes for each one of them to be plucked out.  I wanted to keep them but wasn't allowed. Lame.  As soon as they were out, Dr Piper put in my temporary dentures.  I was to keep those in for 48 hours.  Putting them in right away helped my gums to clot, and to help keep the swelling at bay.  Truthfully the pain was not as horrible I was thought it would be after either.   I went home and I think I slept for a little bit, and watched some Gossip Girl.  There was a lot of blood at first, as one might expect when getting your teeth ripped from your face.  I do recall freaking out and making my sister call the doctor because my temporary denture came loose in my mouth or something.  Pain meds and valium, oh yeah....

 In the days to follow most of the pain came from the typical rubbing of the temp dentures on my raw, traumatized gums.  After several quick trips into the dentist to have them adjusted they were just fine.  Well, the tops were.  The bottom took a lot more time to get used to.  The top plate suctions into your mouth and so it's much easier to adapt to them.  Talking, and eating with the bottom in was much more of a process.   I am told that eventually I will be able to eat small bites of just about anything I want.  Dr Piper did warn me about lettuce because its thin and hard to chew up good enough.  I guess I'll live..

The process of healing and getting to the final step was so much lengthier than I would have ever realized.  I would have to wait 5-6 months for my gums to completely heal before I could be molded for my permanent set.  In February I went back to the dentist and Dr Piper was thrilled at my healing and told me that she was ready to fit me for my permanent set. I was so happy!  However, that also was a process.  First, get new molds made to my healed,toothless gums.  Then those would be made into wax and fitted.  Then once the wax "gums" fit me, they would make wax teeth to my color/size desires and they would be seated and fit into the wax gums.  Then those would be checked for size and to make sure they look exactly what I wanted.  That's where I am currently at.  On Monday the 16th I went and had that step completed.  All that is left is for me to get my finals!  I cannot wait.  When I left the office, the plan was for me to go back on Thursday the 19th to pick them up.  But then...dun dun dunnnnn, Coronavirus stuck and all non-essential doctor and dentist appointments were to be cancelled.  UGH!!! Curse you COVID-19!  I just want to be done.

But wait, there's, Danielle from Capstone Dental called me to tell me that my teeth were done and that Dr. Piper would see me on Thursday to get me my final set! Praise Be!  I am so excited. 

So, some takeaways:

  • Dentures are not hinged at the back and do not chatter and move when you set them down
  • No matter what the reason is for having to get them, do it.  Unhealthy gums are VERY DANGEROUS to your health.  I had no idea all the nastiness that could have befallen me.
  • No matter how un-vain you think you are, having all your teeth yanked will certainly test that. Six months later I still have a hard time seeing myself with no teeth.  I just look so different.
  • It's emotional.  Like, really, really emotional. I honestly think I went through all the stages of grief during this process.  I told very few people because I just didn't really know how to talk about it.
  • Your bones shift.  I had bone spurs and bone fragments.  One of the fragments came out, over time the spurs settled down and melted back into my mouth. Good thing because the treatment for the spurs is to have your gums cut open and have the spurs ground down.  No thanks.
  • It's painful.  Some of the sores I got from rubbing and swelling were enormous.  But with a great dentist/dental assistant who adjusts whatever you need, it helps A LOT.
  • The things you eat, and the way you eat will be forever changed. Hope you like eggs and other soft fare.
  • When you sleep without teeth (because you should take them out and let your gums breathe) you drool a lot more.  And at least for me, every morning my tongue and lips feel swollen when I first wake up. 
  • It's REALLY had to talk with no teeth.  No wonder babies wait to talk until they are older. lol
  • All the pain and recovery aside, I feel 100% better after having my teeth taken out and having all the infection cleared up.  I had no idea how bad it was until I didn't have to deal with it anymore.
  • Oh yeah, my bone loss was due to Osteoporosis which I didn't even know I had at the time.

That was not really much fun.

Just a little swelling, and a lot of blood!

First pic of temp teeth

The next day.  Already looking better. but i am not sure why my forehead looks so enormous.

ewwwww, teeth holes



more sores

Three days after the yanking.

Yesterday (Thursday March 9th)  I had my appointment to get my permanent dentures.  Not going to lie, I was heartbroken and frustrated beyond belief when I popped those suckers in my mouth.  The looked and felt TOTALLY different than the ones I had been wearing and I was not a happy girl.  I repeatedly told Carlitta that I hated them.  She is so awesome and was so patient with me.  She did some filing and molding of the "gums" so they would fit more comfortably.  Dr Piper came in to talk to me and told me that everything I was feeling was completely normal and that the felt and looked different because they ARE different.  My temp set was made from a mold taken when I still had my teeth.  The final set was made from my gums the way they are now.  That made sense to me and I felt better. and stopped crying  She encouraged me to take them with me and if I hated them still after wearing them that they would take new molds and we could start again.

So, I left with them and hated them most of the day.  Today, I feel better about them and think aside from a few fitting tweaks that need made...they will do just fine.

It was a very long, arduous process but now that I am on the other side of it, I  am glad I did it.  I mean, I didn't really have a choice other than to just let them fall out one at a time on their own but I am fairly confident I would have liked that a lot less.

Midway through the journey Adam said to me that he was glad I did it because he was happy to see my smile again, and I had stopped smiling when my teeth were falling apart.  That made it ALL WORTH IT.

So, here you go, here is the final product.

Anyway, that's my story and I am sticking to it.  I hope this helps someone.  I'm nervous as heck about putting myself out there but YOLO, right?  I am happy to answer any questions if anyone has any.  Message me, email me or whatever.

Thanks for reading my tale.

Love you all bunches.


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  2. Kathy, thank you for being brave enough to share your story. I never knew it was such a process! And what are you doing about your bone loss? Love you. ❤

    1. Hey Karen, Thank you! I am on Fosamax for the osteo. Love you too!

  3. Thank you for helping people get the information they need. Great stuff as usual. Keep up the great work!!! bedliner