Toothache

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(Here is an extremely rare picture of me smiling and showing my teeth. It takes a lot of movement from my mouth and lips just to show them. And yes, that is a cracked front left tooth.)

I’ll be the first to admit that I am not careful with my teeth as much as I should be.

From about middle school on, brushing teeth, to me, was a morning time-waster, and pushed back when it came to other more-visible appearance items such as combing my hair. I would only brush my teeth when I felt like I really needed to.

However, when it came to mouth rinse that was something I DID every day. I just needed to swish around to every nook and cranny of my teeth and soak from stuff from my tongue. My breath would be fresh, but my teeth weren’t all that great. I thought fresh breath was more important than how the teeth looked.

(And perhaps that’s a big factor in Cody’s biggest problem No. 1)

You’ll find it difficult to find a picture of me smiling and showing my teeth. That’s because I have naturally been able to hide my teeth behind my mouth while opening it. Well, the years have piled up, and there are holes and cracks at certain places in my mouth.

At the same time, please, PLEASE do not get the impression that my teeth are as bad as a Ren & Stimpy closeup shot! Because it’s really not.

My first dentist was an older guy, Mr. Smalley, from the Quad Cities. He was the one who put two crowns on my bicuspids sometime before I was 7 years old. Both have since fallen out, and here is a picture of one of them …

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Growing up, we never did go back often. Smalley had been retired at that point. I had a root canal done at some point in middle school, and other than a couple of cleanings, that was it for my childhood.

Only twice have I experienced complications in my adulthood, and both with my rear teeth, and both times I’ve used the County Health Department. The first time, around January of last year, I had pain in my bottom right molar area. The pain was really bad on the Friday night before the Martin Luther King holiday, meaning I couldn’t see a dentist for at least 4 days. So I went up to my preferred clinic, in Morrison, where they prescribed me some Amoxicillin.

Upon a look-see, the dentist I went to recommended it to be pulled right away, OR I could see a specialist to get a filling. I asked for some time (days) to consider it, due to money issues, and it wound up taking no action at all on it. The Amoxicillin killed the pain, and that was it.

This past month, I began to have problems with my upper right molar area. When the usual IBprofun wouldn’t work, I did the only run-around I knew. I went back to Morrison to see if I could get more Amoxicillin and ease the pain once more – only this time without going through the trouble of seeing a dentist, because the previous dentist visit wound up being moot. The doc there recommended that I see a dentist.

I was given Amoxicillin and Naproxen, but 3 days later the right side of my face was swollen, and I had problems opening up my right eye. So I went back and got Prednisone to ease the swelling – and once again was told to see a dentist.

So, alright, I might as well bite the bullet and see a dentist.

When I went in for my appointment, I was about halfway done with my medications. Asked to open my mouth, I couldn’t get it open wide enough because the swelling was still there. So they sent me home and rescheduled my appointment when my meds were all gone. What a waste of a trip!

While I was there, they had to take X-rays all over my mouth. The problem with getting this tooth pulled was because there is a wisdom tooth next to it. So they had to see if they had a dentist who could pull it, or refer me to the town’s oral surgeon. They would give me a call in a few days to inform me of their decision. Turns out, no oral surgeon, and my appointment stood.

I never had a tooth pulled before, so going to my appointment felt like a nervous death sentence – I know, I’m almost 30 and I still get these feelings, but that’s because of constant overthinking. I was asked if I could get my mouth open wide enough, so I opened as wide as I possibly could. Sure enough, there was room.

The dentist came in and did a lot of poking, spraying, and pushing. I got frighteningly nervous when the Novocain dripped down my mouth. With my mouth open like that, I had a difficult time breathing though my nose. However, he got the tooth to fall asleep and explained to me what he was going to do, using his hand on my shoulder to demonstrate. Pokes were going to now be slight pushes, and I would be hearing a cracking sound.

CRACK CRACK CRACK

“Alright, do you know the tooth is gone?”

In my mind I’m thinking, “That’s it?”

He gives me some gauze to block the bleeding. He then questioned me about similar situations regarding the other three corners of my mouth, and that I should consider getting those removed. Not wanting to turn the initial visit into something more drawn-out, I told him that when I had a problem that I’d come back. It probably isn’t the smartest thing to do, but I wanted to see how I could deal with the aftermath of this very-first tooth pull.

Talking to the receptionist and the pharmacist later on proved to be difficult with gauze on one side of my mouth. I figured the texture was going to bother me, and the only way I could deal with it was to take a long nap – which I woke up from about a couple of hours ago.

Nothing but soft foods – soup, chili, yogurt, applesauce and the like – for a while, and I topped off the rest of the Parkway soup that I had from earlier in the week. I had been eating only soft foods since the pain started anyway. I polished off the soup without seeing any blood, which was good to see.

In anticipation for this, I negotiated for some extra time off of work due to the pain. I’m in the middle of 3 days off from both jobs today, sitting out a soccer match tonight. I’ll be back at the newspaper Thursday for another soccer match, and back at Casey’s on Friday.

I just can’t wait until I can eat “real” food again.

Just not any fast food or pizza.