Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Oh Joy

"Hey Doc, how ya doin?"

It was last Friday and I'd just walked into the back room of Doc Moreschini's office, and plopped my happy (read: well-drugged) butt down into the torture devi... er... dentist's chair.

"All right, how about you?"

"Oh pretty good, Doc, just a couple little annoyances. Bone spurs, one here on the side of my mouth and one in the roof. You know, where I had that sore on the roof of my mouth?"

"You just can't get them out, huh?"

"Well the one is attached to my jaw still, but it's coming through the gum. The one on the roof is weird though, I may have some growth on that one."

"Hmm... let me look at it."


"Well, it's not growth, it's just a dead flake of bone that's floating around up there. We'll pull it out just so that it for sure won't cause any problems."

"Whatever you say Doc." Bless you, makers of Diazepam.

I don't know about you, but when I hear the word "flake of bone" I'm thinking like a bone spur, a little sliver. Not something that requires an incision. And a good firm yank.

I am so glad I had figured on him actually having to do something really dentisty and had taken my happy pills. Otherwise, I might have hurt Doc.

Anyway, he got it yanked out and took care of the other little problem, and I was sitting there reeling, when he showed me the piece that he'd pulled out of the roof.

Yes, folks, that's a standard #2 pencil. And yes, that really came out of the roof of my mouth. The top picture is the side of the thing that was pointing down, with the top right corner of the thing being the portion I was actually feeling. You might be able to see the jagged protrusions on that side. The other side is smooth.

Anyway, Doc wandered off for a few minutes, made a slight adjustment on the denture, since the fit had obviously changed a tad, and then he dropped the bomb. He told me that he wanted me to go check in with the oral surgeon before I left town, and made a point of talking directly to the guy to make sure I got in.

Two hours in the waiting room at the oral surgeon's office, five minutes of face time with Dr. Day, and he tells me "I don't see any problems, it doesn't appear to go into the sinus cavity, so it should heal over just fine."

Whew. $95 later we were on our way.

That night, as I was performing my standard oral care, along with the oral care for open wounds that has become all too routine, I made a rather unpleasant discovery.

I couldn't spit.

I'd try to work up a good spit while brushing my teeth (the ones that don't come out) and I'd get a mouthful of air. Oh, I should explain. I take my denture out to brush my bottom teeth, because lets face it, it's easier. Besides, running my tongue over the roof of my mouth and my gums while I have a mouth full of tooth paste is an easy, effective way to clean and freshen up there.

I managed to spit out the mouth full of tooth paste, although it wasn't pretty, and I felt at the hole in the roof of my mouth with my tongue. Then I performed a little experiment.

I closed off the back of my mouth with my tongue and sealed my lips tight, and tried to open my jaws.

And lo and behold... I discovered a hole from my mouth into my sinus cavities.

Well crap, time to worry about infections a lot more.

So I made what seemed at the time to be one of the bigger mistakes of my life. I rinsed with Listerine.

You don't realize how little you think about what you're doing with your mouth until something forces your attention to it. I took a good rinsing swig of Listerine, and proceeded to half drown myself.

Do ya'll have any idea how much Listerine burns in your sinuses??? It's not pretty.

Saltwater rinses, while possibly less effective at killing the nasties, are, for the nonce, kinder to me myself and I than Listerine.

And, before you all start yelling at me to go back to the oral surgeon, I called his office yesterday, and he said that the soft tissues should heal back over and close the hole. If it doesn't close completely in a month, he wants to see me.

Other than that, I get to half drown myself every day trying to care for this... hole.

I am learning how to do it without winding up with salt water running out of my nostrils, but I still sputter to some extent every time.