A Dental Numpty

Teeth are funny things, and I don’t understand them at all!

About a month ago I blogged that I had tooth pain and had made an appointment at the dentist’s, but she was flying off to Peru to do voluntary work there, and I would have to wait.

The gum round a neighbouring tooth (which should have been healthy) was red, which was worrying, and there was inflammation in that area… but I brought it down myself with an array of home options: TCP dabbed on with tissue, Oraldene anti-bacterial mouthwash, a clove of raw garlic!

Bearing in mind that others with sore teeth might be reading this… the garlic burned the inside of my cheek but I liked the taste (ahem). It made me rabid to do more home cooking. TCP shouldn’t be swallowed, so one has to be careful with that option. Same with the mouthwash.

I ran a small fever, and then the inflammation came down, after which the fever quietly dissipated… so I have an unsettling feeling (while I’m patting myself on the back for my successful treatment of the tooth) that my body’s own infection-fighting system had a lot more to do with it.

After that I had no more trouble from the upper tooth, but a little while ago I got some pain from a lower tooth, which was even worse. The TCP didn’t seem to hit the spot, wherever that was, and the Oraldene would calm it down for about five minutes, and then it would start niggling again. There were tears in my eyes, so I ended up hitting it with everything I had…. brushed my teeth with a brand new toothbrush and Sensodyne toothpaste, Oraldene medicated mouthwash, cheapo paracetamol tablet (1p per caplet!)…. and another clove of garlic!

I shifted that garlic around this time so that it wouldn’t burn my mouth, but now I had a lightly burned throat! So I wasn’t in a hurry to take another.

But the tooth pain was gone. And it didn’t come back.

Finally got to the dentist yesterday, and told her I had two nagging teeth; one upper and the other lower. But I couldn’t quite remember which was the lower tooth with the problem as it felt so normal!

She told me my teeth were in wonderful shape for their age, and all she could recommend to do was remove an extra tooth I had, which was potential for future trouble (it wasn’t one of the offending teeth, but next door).

I had been worried about my agoraphobia (hatred of being trapped somewhere where other people are, which includes queues, waiting rooms and the chairs of hairdressers and dentists!) But I was very calm yesterday, which made me wonder why my heart was racing along. We were waiting for the local anaesthetic to take hold. I said to myself “it’s probably the anaesthetic. It’s just the anaesthetic. It’s the anaesthetic!” and took deep, slow breaths… and my heart actually slowed a little… then I lost my grasp of it, and it was off again.

I was wobbly after, but still calm. Eerie.

I sat up and reached for the mouthwash when the dentist finished, but there was none there. The assistant gave me a typed slip with post operation type instructions… it said not to wash out one’s mouth if one could avoid it. So presumably the mouthwash is only for people having their teeth cleaned.

Mum explained it later… that a ‘plug’ has to form in the gap, and if you wash it away so that there is no plug, you will get ‘dry socket’, which is very painful. She had it once because nobody warned her not to wash out her mouth. She also confirmed that the accelerated heart rate was due to the anaesthetic, or to something that was in with it (epinephrine).

When I got home I fell asleep, and then woke up with a nagging headache. Which explains why I wasn’t blogging yesterday.

So… I had a tooth removed which wasn’t one of the ones I was complaining about. (Scratches head). And I have a shamed feeling that the things I learned (about epinephrine and dry socket) have been known to most people since school age. But then they don’t have to switch off their hearing aids in the dentists’ chair (hearing aids squeal when you lie down or open your mouth wide. When I was younger I was actually put off laughing or grinning because it seemed that every time I laughed, the hearing aids squealed, and then I wanted to cry instead. Such a dampener).

To end on a more positive note, I was pleased that the dentist said my teeth were in such great shape. (She put it in writing!) My father was told by a dentist that he had exceptionally strong teeth… I’ve obviously inherited them. Perhaps Scottish islanders (my forebears) needed good teeth if the best dentists happened to be on the mainland. 😀

It makes sense in a weird way… if you had persistent trouble with your teeth, you probably lived near a good dentist, and didn’t hide yourself away on a storm-besieged island. Unless you had no choice.

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2 responses

  1. I’m jealous. My teeth are horrid – thin enamel and the inhalers I use for asthma make them worse…I have cavities and red gums all the time regardless of what I do. I’m due for another dentist trip – I’m sure I”ll have a bunch of fillings to contend with…joy.
    I’m glad the infections you had around your tooth(s) went away on their own…without antibiotics no less. Well done.
    The whole no rinsing thing is very true. Also try not to drink from straws for a bit if you can. Dry socket hurts. A lot…my Dad got it once after having a tooth pulled. He was very cranky indeed…

  2. Yow. I wonder how soon it will be before I can consider myself safe from dry socket?

    To be honest, I don’t think my teeth are as happy as the dentist makes out! I have a fine crack I will have to point out to her; maybe she can stop it splintering too soon…

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