Monday, January 12, 2009

Why I hate the dentist

Back in December, I finally got around to scheduling all my appointments that I had been putting off for almost two years. I got my physical, pap, mammogram and dermatological check (for moles). Everything came back normal so that was a huge relief.

After Christmas, I made an appointment for a dental cleaning and to check what I thought was a loose filling. That was last Thursday. Turns out I was sort of right about the filling. I have very few in the first place, but one of them on my back molar is cracked and coming up. And yes, I most likely caused this with my jaw clenching just prior to Christmas. So tomorrow I get to go in and have it replaced. I cannot tell you how much I hate having my teeth worked on. I know, I know, nobody loves the dentist (except for Master J, but he's a goofball). But I REALLY hate going.

About seventeen years ago, I had a horrible experience that nearly killed me and forever turned me off dentists. I am not exaggerating about that either. I ended up in emergency surgery to remove a rather large abscess that had formed in my throat and was slowly suffocating me. And before you ask, no, that is not why I am such an airhead. I've always been this way.

This whole situation was caused by an incompetent dentist that pulled an infected wisdom tooth and then "forgot" to treat the infection. My first indication of his incompetence was when he asked if I'd ever had the nitrous gas before and when I said "no" he replied that it was "just like smoking pot". Oh. My. God. Unfortunately, by the time I finished that thought, the mask was on my face and it was too late. Plus, the tooth hurt like hell and I really wanted it out. Bad choice. That pain was NOTHING compared to the pain that was to follow.

Once the Novocaine wore off, my tooth started throbbing. I was taking the recommended dose of Tylenol and, when that wasn't helping, I started taking Advil. By the end of the next day, I was still in such pain that I went back to the dentist where I was told that I had dry socket. He packed the hole with medicated gauze and sent me home. The next day it was worse so back I go again. He treats me again for the supposed dry socket and sends me home. Sometime that evening, around 10:00 pm, I was in really bad shape so my (now ex) husband called the dentist and he agreed to meet my husband in the parking lot to give him pain medication for me. That's right, 10:00 at night, in a parking lot. And the medicine he gave him? Percocet. With someone else's name on it. But at that point, I didn't care whose name was on it, I just wanted the pain to stop. The dosage was 1 pill every six hours. By the next day, I was taking two pills every four hours and it wasn't touching the pain. I wanted to die.

By now my jaw would not open. I had to stuff the pills through what little gap remained between my upper and lower jaw and chase it down with water through a straw. The next day, my husband decided that he'd had enough. Apparently, I had kept him up all the previous night, moaning in pain. First thing in the morning he made an appointment to have an oral surgeon look at me. His mom agreed to take me in since I was in no condition to drive.

I remember sitting in the chair and having them try to pry my jaw open. I remember more pain than I have ever had before or since and then just bits and pieces of the next 12 hours. They had an iv line in just in case they needed it so when they pried, and I screamed, they knocked me out. My mother in law, two rooms away heard me scream and came running. Once they got my jaw open and saw the abscess, they called the hospital that was right next door and told them they were bringing me in. They wheeled me through the parking lot, straight in to surgery where they removed the abscess and put a drain in my throat. I woke up some time that evening to the sound of my (then) brother in laws voice asking what would happen if they turned my bed around to face the wall. Other than being very confused as to where I was, I felt immensely better. My throat was a little sore from the surgery & the drain, but the pain was almost gone. I stayed in the hospital for two days on antibiotics and got sent home with a bag of medicine and instructions to do a bunch of jaw exercises until I could open my mouth normally again. I waited a full year before I had the other three wisdom teeth pulled and I've hated the dentist ever since. So tomorrow, before I go in for what should be a relatively minor repair, I get to take some medicine to help me relax. And that's just to get me into the office. Wish me luck.


K-Mom said...

YICK! What a terrible story! I hope all goes well this time. I'll say a little prayer for you!