Monday, June 07, 2010

The "easy" teeth

Today was my red letter day for tromping back to the dentist where she planned to work on the "easy teeth." This required drilling out the old silver filling in one tooth (not a problem), then drilling in to the recently refurbished tooth next to it to find out why it was turning gray.

Wow. So it turns out that when you drill into a tooth and it's healthy, it should be yellowish, which the first one was. Now, I'm no dentist, but I didn't need her to tell me that when she drilled two holes in the second one and I was looking at two black caverns, it wasn't good.

The dentist was very proud and pleased when I told her initially that I could skip anesthesia for the first tooth. It got a little sensitive toward the end, but I reminded myself that I have pushed babies out of me and that I could handle it. She told me the second tooth was deeper and more likely to hurt. I told her I'd give it a try. Again, proud and pleased.

To our surprise, it didn't hurt at all. I thought this was good. She informed me it wasn't. She was potentially going to have to drill a lot deeper to get all the black out. Then she launched into a long explanation of the various possibilities (dead nerve with cavity, dead nerve without, not dead nerve suddenly being touched by drill equaling pain, most of these options involving more money) which would follow. My main concern was, "So WHEN are you giving me anesthesia? Because all of this sounds really painful." Showing me what would happen on her little three dimensional tooth model did nothing to assuage my fears.

Finally she called in a colleague who spoke English. I have never, in all my 11 years in Asia, been so happy to find an English speaker. He went over all she'd said again. I realized I had mostly understood her (though she didn't think I did) but it felt so reassuring to hear it in my own language. I could have hugged him, but that might have been awkward.

In the end, I did get anesthesia (thankfully not up to my eyeball like the last time). She was able to get out all the black stuff without hitting the nerve, throw some disinfectant in there, and fill it with a temporary filling. She told me I can't eat off that side for the next two weeks or the filling will come out, which feels a bit like saying, "So only sneeze out of the right side of your nose for the next two weeks, ok?" but I'll try. Then I'll go back for her to replace it.

I am so not looking forward to the "hard teeth."

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