Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Getting My Fang Back and Dental Gore Escape

The dentist's office is practically everybody's least favorite nightmare. The nightmare began for me at the age of fourteen when a maxillofacial cyst appeared in my upper gum bone. For a hygiene freak like myself who has had the ace record of zero cavities, the dental surgery came as a shock. The damned thing was comfortably sitting in the roots of three of my teeth and had plans to spread. I have zero tolerance for damned specimen (inclusive of people), and so I took the surgery and had it removed. Problem solved! 

But just like toxic people leave a big mess behind them and when you toss them out of your heart and mind you have to mend the heartbreak and mental breakdown they have caused, this damned thing left me with damaged teeth roots and a huge space in my gum bone from where it was removed. My maxillofacial surgeon gave me three gorgeous root canals for the three impacted teeth. Root canals are metal fillings that are inserted through the middle of a tooth that has gone through a heartbreak and has lost its root. Some of the root still stays there. The root canals become the new support system - like a friend in need, a friend in deed. But wait! No friend comes without compromises. To hold a root canal tooth strong, the tooth needs to be cut half in size. And, since rockstars cannot function with half teeth, teeth cap need to be made. Think of false teeth but hollow inside that stick over the cut halved teeth. I had three teeth suffering the tragedy so a three piece bridge was made. 
Time flew by and tragedy struck again when I was 19 or so. The cyst had come back! We're talking SCREAM sequel, Ghostface returns! Well, the reason was the impacted root system inside that managed to provide refuge to some part of the cyst and then let it regrow again. The surgeon got into action and did the same procedure again - that is slitting my gum open, scooping out the cyst, and sewing it back! Little did he know that history had repeated itself and like a horror movie that keeps coming up with lame sequels, the root system had hid some portion of the cyst again! I was around 21 when the nightmare news was broken to me. What?! Another surgery! Uh-Oh! But since each time I was being put under general anesthesia (completely knocked out of my wits) I was taking it as an adventure! I am seriously crack in the head. My surgeon committed the same mistake of saving the teeth and not removing the one canine fang whose root was the sole cause of this cyst. He stitched me up and KAPOOT! in one month the infection showed up - telling everybody that it would become a cyst again. So, I went under the blade for the fourth time. THIS TIME! HE TOOK THE TOOTH OUT! GHOSTFACE WAS FINALLY KILLED!  
But nothing ever stays peaceful and calm in Abbiewood. It is the very Elm Street, the very Woodsboro, the very Rosewood of all creation! Years flew by and one of my fangs just chipped off one fine morning! Now, all the surgical gore I spoke about earlier happened back in Pakistan where my maxillofacial surgeon worked on me. In Maryland, I had my dentist on speed dial. She'd been x-raying me regularly and some funky-looking tissue had appeared at the site of the root canal in the films. She had kept me on monitoring for a root canal infection which is typical once the root canal begins to age. I had it put in when I was fourteen, and me turning twenty eight is not suiting the universe pretty well. So, I was already on watch! And then the fang came off!
Let me tell you, ladies, it ain't pretty waking up to this. I mean I have had teeth-falling-off (dental bridge falling off) nightmares ever since this horror story began, but THIS was horror personified. Fortunately, only a superficial slice of the fang had come off, and my dignity was preserved. I was saved the embarrassment of being toothless! My dentist was an angel to take a look at me ASAP that is the same day! I would have passed out in horror over the weekend otherwise. She told me she could re-do the fang and make perfect but then my bridge was coming loose and needed to be redone. Now, re-doing the bridge is no huge trauma but she wanted me to go check with a root canal specialist to evaluate the funky-looking area showing in the x-rays. This was a fingers-crossed situation for me!
My tooth cap was remolded. The doc simply put the broken shard back on the fang with some glue (dental grade of course!) and used a laser beam (pow!) to melt and fuse the porcelain together. She filed the rough edges as well. There was poking and pricking and whizzing of dental brushes that worked like sandpaper to smooth the fang. Bestie Sara was there throughout the procedure! She kept peeking in, taking those photos and her dancing dimples and big cartoon eyes kept telling me everything was going superb. It looked great! But there was the root canal specialist's visit fogging my brain.

I had a brave face on when I drove to another city to see a really good root canal specialist, but on the inside it was as bad as the lady screaming in the Count Duckula opening credits song. I had seen the funky-looking x-ray before and it was very similar to the Ghostface that visited me four times earlier in life. But, my dentist had hopes that it could only be a scar tissue from the previous butchery. You know, like the Joker had? Permanently!? Only these were inside my gums near the root canal - resembling an infection - and not on my cheeks extending to my ears! 
So the root canal specialist took a good look inside my mouth, poking, needling, hammering, and making me bite using the three damned teeth. I was supposed to shriek in pain had there been an infection, but I was as calm as a dead body. Odd! Of course, the bridge (dental term for the three fake teeth caps in my mouth) had become loose over time and my maxillofacial surgeon had possibly left a space while fitting it in as well that was now proving to be the bane of my existence. 
She went over my x-rays with me - pretty! - and mentioned that the spot did look funky. But, it was premature to call it Ghostface. If it was an infection, though, and Ghostface was trying to return then there would be a terribly gore-inflicting procedure called an apicoectomy. It would involve cutting my gum open, possibly drilling a hole in it too, and removing Ghostface, then stitching back up. Halloween wasn't just going to happen on the streets then, it would also happen in my mouth. And, I would be awake to witness and feel it all! 
I had to wait for a dreaded phone call from my dentist until the root canal specialist and her put their heads together to decided my fate. It took the entire weekend and two more super long days - the kind where the clock ticks like a bomb - to get a call from my dentist. 
Until then I had mentally drafted my Will in case I died during surgery. I had Googled apicoectomy and knew that it would be a bloodbath and I would be cut alive. That is very punk rock to hear but Casey Becker looks good on TV not when she is happening to you. 
The call came and my dentist gave me good news! They had decided that it was possibly scar tissue that was appearing like an infection in my x-ray considering that I have zero pain of a root canal infection. Brilliant! So, I am not very photogenic inside my gum, big deal. So, all I would go through is a non-surgical procedure to replace my bridge and get a new one. There can always be a possibility that one of my root canal teeth might have become loose over time and may need to be removed. They would then be replaced by implants, maybe? This means they'd be drilling in a false tooth containing a metallic splinter into my gum bone. That is another story then ... 

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