Tuesday, January 27, 2015

My new German dentist...

Okay, so he's not actually German.  He's Dr. Blair, an American who lives in Germany and speaks the language fluently.  I chose him because he specializes in gums and implants.  I figured I'd have issues with both.

I've been having problems with a baby tooth for the past few months.  We finally went to the dentist today for a cleaning because we were waiting for insurance to kick in and it didn't until the New Year.  I didn't want to start something and have it be a "pre-existing condition".  Bill and I both went in for cleanings.  Let me first say the cleaning in and of itself was an experience.

First, the hygienist had me swish with mouthwash.  Next, she had me swish with this blue stuff-- same stuff they give to kids to show them where the plaque is.  I seem to be doing relatively well keeping my teeth clear of plaque and tartar, except between the teeth.  Then she put a mask over my face and used this sonic water and sand thing to blast all the crap off my teeth.  That was pretty intense.  It was like a Water-Pic on steroids... very high pressure with some kind of sandy stuff, too, which she "vacuumed" with that tool they use for sucking up saliva.  She also had me do a lot of rinsing, which American dentists don't seem to do so much anymore.

Next, she used a probe to clean around the gums, then polished, flossed, and gave me a flouride gel to swish around in my mouth.  When she was finished, she gave me a hot, wet, lemon scented towel.  The whole time, there was instrumental, progressive music in the background... I think at least some of it was the Alan Parson's Project.  That was the first time I was ever given a hot towel after a cleaning.  I must say, it was very nice.  I felt like I was in a spa.  They also had a cuspidor (spittoon), which I haven't seen in years.  American dentists don't use them anymore.

Then Dr. Blair came in and looked at my teeth.  I explained about my issues and he noted the fistula in my gum, which was draining a little bit of pus.  They took an x-ray, then called me in to the dentist's office to discuss what to do about my tooth.

I can try to have the tooth root-canaled, but Dr. Blair doesn't think that would be the best solution because it's a baby tooth.  He explained that the roots of baby teeth are flat, which makes them harder to work with, and mine appear to be short.  He also says my sinuses are "low", which could mean more of a challenge.  I could end up needing a "sinus lift", whatever the hell that is.  It appeared to Dr. Blair that the pulp chamber of my tooth was "obliterated".  I asked if that meant it was dead.  He said he couldn't really tell; then he showed me the canals on the tooth, one of which looked viable.  Anyway, the tooth is not loose at all and doesn't hurt much, except for when the gum swells up.  Because of the fistula, the infectious crap can drain before I am in agony.  Aside from having some infection, I'm not in an emergency situation.  But something does need to be done soon.

He said I could also have the tooth pulled and just live with the gap or get a flipper type thing, which he pronounced "a joke".  I have kind of been steeling myself for the prospect of an implant for some time, so this news isn't a surprise to me.  I just dread the process and the expense.  But I also want to be rid of this swollen gum.

I expressed concern about pain and being nervous.  He said, "We have Valium for that."  Okay then.  I asked Bill what Valium is like because I've never taken it.  He said it's like having a couple of drinks and jerking off...  as opposed to Xanax, which just makes you not care about anything.  His exact words were "Train coming?  Big deal."

I liked Dr. Blair and was impressed by the cleaning.  I'd rather spend the money for an implant on a trip, though.  Fortunately, for once, Bill didn't have any issues with his teeth.  

We'll get two bills... one from Dr. Blair and one from the hygienist.  Should be pricey.  Ugh.

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