zola: (RogerEyes)
[personal profile] zola
I'm still hanging in there, it's just that nothing very exciting is going on.

I was talking to [livejournal.com profile] madclarinet and [livejournal.com profile] babyghia last week, and I mentioned that the problem was that as far as stuff going on goes, it's either a) too private to share or b) too boring.

Then I was thinking about it and realized that one thing that is going on, while perhaps a bit embarrassing, actually can be discussed.

Those who have met me in person are aware that I have had a number of issues with my teeth. When I was young, I was frequently ill and on antibiotics, mainly tetracycline. This was before it was known that tetracycline given in childhood can result in badly stained teeth. I had a very bad case of it, my teeth looked very much like the second picture on the right.

It's always caused me a great deal of distress because quite frankly, people are unkind. I have been told to my face that my teeth wouldn't be so gray if I would only brush them. It has cost me opportunities because of the assumption most made that the cause was poor hygiene. They were so dark that when I needed a replacement tooth made (more on that in a moment), the man who made the tooth, who also happened to be my landlord said "If I didn't know you personally, I would have been positive that they had given me the wrong color, the shade was so dark."

There is some evidence to suggest that those who have the worst staining also have significantly weakened enamel, and this seems to be true in my case. As if that weren't enough, as one of my dentists told me, "your teeth are quite small, so what would be a small to medium cavity on an average person's tooth is an enormous pit on yours." To complicate matters even further, I'm one of those people who has extra roots on my teeth. I found this out after a root canal because my tooth kept causing me a great deal of pain, which the dentist I was seeing at the time brushed off.  A few years later, the tooth broke, and the new dentist I went to said "You have an extra root here, I can see the canal!" He hit the root directly with some novocaine and used something to kill it off so that it wouldn't cause me pain while we arranged to get it taken care of.

I ended up losing a front tooth due to one of those micro-roots. I had gotten a root canal, had the tooth capped, and a few years later it was abscessed. The dentist took it, because I'd already had an apicoectomy on it some years before, and here it was STILL abscessing! This was so unusual and the abscess so perfectly preserved when the dentist removed the tooth that we put it in a solution it so I could give it to my physical anthropology professor as an oddity.

Well, fast-forward to the present. As most of you know, we were in dire financial straits for several years, and a dentist was absolutely out of the question. By the time things improved enough for me to afford it, I had a number of broken teeth.

I would love to tell you that they broke because of my love of candy or whatever, but in reality, I would be eating a normal food item and suddenly I'd be spitting a chunk of tooth out of my mouth. I lost half a tooth when I was chewing on some Thanksgiving stuffing, for heaven's sake! They just crumbled away. They were so bad, in fact, that when I went to the dentist for a consultation, her exact words were "I'm very comfortable with removing all of these teeth."

So on Valentine's day (of all days, LOL!), I went to the oral surgeon and had the remaining 12 of my upper teeth removed. I've only had minor complications (bone chips because the teeth were in such poor condition), but I go back to the dentist to have those removed tomorrow and that won't be a big deal.

It's amazing the difference it has made already, within a couple of days of the removal, most of my sinus problems cleared up completely, and I feel so much better. I guess the bad teeth were making me sicker than I realized.

Next, of course, is getting a denture and taking care of the lower teeth, which are in better shape, so I will probably be posting about that after a while.

In other news, our cat Rydia has become effectively blind. This was not by any means unexpected as she is 17 and we've been aware of cataracts developing for at least a couple of years. At the beginning she wasn't dealing with it well, but we've gotten some really amazing things that help her a lot, which will be the subject of a later post.
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