Tag Archives: dentist

Another Snowfall, Another Spring Day

No sun today in my part of the USA. How is your weather?

We woke up here in Northern New Jersey to snow on the ground and snow drifting from the sky. It snowed all morning then switched to rain in the afternoon. I hear we’re going to have more snow tonight. That’s right. It’s Spring, but it’s Spring in New Jersey, the flaky weather state.

If I wasn’t so ready for Spring I would see the beauty in the snowfall.

The snow weighed down branches today; it's heavy and wet.

No lounging around outside today!

Maybe it’s because I went to the dentist today and had four fillings replaced; my face is lopsided and I’m drooling like a 6-month-old because the Novocain hasn’t worn off yet.

Hey! Did I make you twitch? Most folks just look at the tools (see the Novacaine needle on the far right?!)and feel dread! Bwahahaha!

Or maybe I’m just grouchy.

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Plaque Happens

And So Does Life

No! This is not my mouth!! Nor do I want it to be!!!

Yes, plaque happens and I don’t want it lingering on my teeth, beneath my gum lines or anywhere else near me. That’s why I visit my dentist, Dr. K., every six months. And with my son Max home for spring break I dragged him along for good measure. Many of you may remember Dr. K. from two previous posts in December 2009, “Queen for a Day” and “The Queen Lives.” He hasn’t changed, nor has his loyal office staff.

Max and I arrived, breathless, since every event seemed to conspire against us today: Tory slammed her left thumb in the car door getting out at school this morning. Result: She can’t put her softball glove on so she can’t throw, pitch or do much of anything softball-related. And this is tryouts week at her high school. Needless to say, with a black and throbbing thumb (not broken), she’s just not able. Big Drama.

I was late for everything today. Little drama.

It’s the second Monday of the month. My favorite!  My Garden Club had a most excellent speaker/demo today. Do you remember me mentioning Bartlett’s Greenhouse when I posted “NJ Flower Show – Setup Day?”  Well, Marietta and Nancy, the co-owners, gave an almost two-hour demo today at the club meeting. It was fabulous. And I brought my friend Renita with me to listen and learn (and maybe convince her to join). Only thing is with the demo going over the normal one hour, I had to leave for said dentist. To the rescue came my good friend Adelle. She offered to take Renita back to my house to pick up her car. With that arranged, I sprinted out to my car and headed uptown to pick up Max, fight the traffic on the highway east and got to Dr. K’s office a little late.

Who Draws the Short Straw the Most in Your House?

It’s always iffy in our family who pulls the short straw and goes first. Since I was late picking Max up, I bit the bullet and volunteered. I snuggled into the comfy seat and leaned back. The sunshine streamed in the western window and I actually began to relax! Maybe for the first time today!!

Dr. K’s trusty and cute, young assistant let me know today was the day for two bitewing x-rays. Okay! That’s easy. She plopped the heavy lead shield on me and prepped the little thingy that holds the x-ray cards in place. I obediently opened my mouth then bit down hard on the plastic holder. She stepped out and took the photo. With gag reflex coming on quickly, I helped her pop the little thingy out of my mouth. Whew. Relief. She efficiently x-rayed the other side and I, equally efficient, popped the little thingy out of my mouth for her.

“No damage. Good to go,“ I think.

Dr. K. rolled into the room. Smiling, he asked, “So how are you? Anything bothering you? Any problems?”

Smiling tightly I replied, “No. No. Everything is great.”

“Okay, then, let’s take a look.”

With that he plunged into my mouth and started the high speed teeth cleaning machine. Spit and water flew as he worked his way, slowly and carefully, from tooth to tooth, front and back. I pressed the drool-catcher paper towel clipped under my chin to my lips as he continued.

I heard the high pitch scree of the cleaning machine in my ear. The sound reverberated through my skull. I clenched and unclenched my fingers. Wringed my hands. Flapped my feet back and forth, back and forth. Anything to take my mind off the feeling and the sound.

Dr. K., after two passes, finished my top teeth, and we took a break. I swallowed the pooled spit in my mouth and braced for the bottom cleaning.

Off he went. The high-pitch scree. The reverb in my ear. The clenching. The wringing.

Then he was done.

He polished my teeth. It tickled and I laughed as he cleaned the inside edges of my top teeth.

“You laugh in exactly the same spot as your daughter,” he said.

Imagine that!

Relaxed and happy, I began to get out of the comfy chair and Dr. K, who had been gazing at the two bitewing x-rays, said, “Wait. I see something! Sit back down and let me check it out.”

I slumped back.

I hate the hook. What about YOU?!

Off he went with the hook thingy. Oh, how I hate the hook! He dug. He pried. He pulled. Finally. Finally, he was satisfied that I didn’t have one speck of plaque (or anything else) left for him to extract.

Score points for a dentist who cares!

P.S. My mouth is still aching.

And you? When was the last time you visited your dentist?

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The Queen Lives

Long Live the Crown!

She Lives!

Yes, after two MORE weeks of waiting, of chewing carefully and eating lots of soft food I am now the proud owner of a newly refurbished crown. 

Driving the 15 minutes to Dr. K’s office, I thought: New day; new approach. With my heart pounding in my ears (a sure sign the old blood pressure would burst the cuff if I had it strapped on right this moment) I take control as soon as I sit in the chair, “Okay, no drugs, no numbness today. I’m going all natural and be able to feel how well the tooth is placed. It’ll be faster this way.” 

And so it begins again. Dr. K and his lovely 18-year-old assistant cranked me back in the chair until my feet were higher than my head and my lunch began to roll around in my stomach. I was tough. His lovely assistant hung the spit sucker off the side of my mouth and Dr. K. removed my temporary crown and scraped around the inside of my mouth. Still, I was tough. Next, he smeared some awful tasting cleanser on what used to be my real tooth, then blew it dry with a blast of cold, cold air. As he explained, “The tooth underneath and the surrounding area have to be bone dry for the glue to take and hold tight”. . .a drop of the cleanser trickled down the back of my throat. Gag reflex (I take after my Dad). I shot up in the chair, ruining all of Dr. K’s careful work so far. He sighed and began from the beginning after I’d had a good hack. 

“If you have even a drop of saliva in the area,” he said “I have to start all over again.” This was my mouth’s cue to produce prodigious amounts of spit. I’m talking about the drool pooling in my mouth faster than the spit sucker could suction it out. By the time Dr. K turned around and had the prepped crown all ready to insert, he blinked, stared into my mouth and blinked again. “Suction, I need more suction here!” he barked. 

Next, he inserted two cotton rolls, which I now know can soak up 50 times their weight in spit, along my jaw line. This was his vain attempt to stave off the inevitable spit tide. He blew the area dry again and turned around to re-prep the tooth for insertion. With it well in hand he spun around, tooth poised, for the insertion, but was foiled again by my spit tide. After another aborted attempt he called in a second assistant. Working with split second timing, they finally glued the tooth into my mouth. 

Shaking his head, Dr. K said, “I have NEVER seen someone make saliva that fast. I think you can make money off that spit!” He told me how dental schools pay money, like $25 an ampule, for people to come in and drool so dental researchers can collect it and use it in their research. Who knew?! As I was leaving I heard him ask his assistant to flush out the saliva collector attached to the spit sucker; apparently it was full. Go figure.

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Queen for a Day

Getting My Crown

I don't think so. . .

I have two crowns in my mouth, on my molars. One cracked and has to be replaced. Five years. It lasted only five years. I have shoes that cost a lot less than these fake teeth but are lasting longer. After two weeks of waiting, of chewing carefully and eating lots of soft food I headed to the dentist to get my new crown. 

Dr. K, who’s maybe 40, unmarried and full of enthusiasm for his dentistry, proudly holds up the replacement tooth like it’s a precious jewel. He turns it this way and that, then hands it gently to me so I can admire it too. Resisting the urge to toss it in the air just to see him jump, I smile and hand it back. 

“Since I know you have a sensitive mouth,” he says, “I’ll just numb you before we begin.” After a short mental debate over the merits of rubber mouth over pain I open my mouth. He zooms in and inserts the l o n g needle filled with lidocaine, and as he does, a drop hits the side of my tongue producing an almost instantaneously numb tongue. Ouch! as the needle pricks the tender skin on the inside of my mouth. Ouch! as he wiggles it around, and I think frantically that the needle’s going to come out my cheek. Yoga breaths. 

In goes the crown for a test fit. Dr. K wiggles and presses it into place. He wiggles. He pulls. He turns my head and braces his arm on the side of my head and pulls some more. The fake tooth doesn’t move. It’s wedged in tight, too tight. 

“It’s not going to be a good day,” he says with a frown slanting a look at his assistant. 

No kidding. 

“Well, if I can’t get it out on the next try, you can go home and it will eventually work itself loose,” he says, “And then you can come back.” 

I don’t think so.  I am numb from my eyeball to my neck including my tongue, and I am not budging until that tooth is un-wedged, then re-placed in my mouth for good. 

In he goes for one last try and out pops the tooth. He shaves its side and puts it in again. “How does it feel? Is it too high?” he asks. 

I’m so numb I can’t feel my lips or gums and I’m supposed to gauge how comfortably a fake tooth fits? Why didn’t I remember this part from five years ago and refuse the lidocaine? Because five years ago I was a lot younger, and I can’t remember much from then. I mean I have sharp and vivid memories of my childhood and teens, and twenties, but they all begin to blur around the time I had the kids in my mid-30s. Duh. 

“It’s too high. It feels funny,” I reply, drooling onto the little bib they fastened around my neck. 

He takes the tooth out and I hear the burring sound of a high-speed buffer behind my right ear, then he re-fits the tooth in my mouth. I bite down on the tooth which he has now covered with a small piece of blue carbon paper. Supposedly, when you squinch your upper and lower teeth together the paper marks where the tooth is rubbing improperly. We repeat this process about 5 times. Finally, Dr. K, dentist extraordinaire, gives up, saying, “Sometimes the human body just won’t cooperate. Your upper tooth may have dropped down to accommodate the temporary cap we put it. I‘ll Fedex the crown back to the lab and have them take a look at what’s wrong. Come back in two weeks.” 

With that, I’m ushered out of the chair, numb from my eyeball to my neck, including my tongue, after exactly 28 minutes. Queen for a day? More like Court Jester as I feel the drool pooling in my mouth.

Nope. . .I am NOT letting you see THOSE crowns.

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