Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A visit to the dentist

This morning the infection in my mouth (not an ulcer - the skin was red and swollen, but unbroken) was so painful I couldn't open my mouth very wide or chew and I had referred pain in my ear. I had yoghurt for breakfast - no chewing required, and no solid bits to lodge in my teeth to be dislodged by painful brushing.

I decided to ring the dentist to see if there was a vacant slot I could take and there was! The appointment was for 1.30 pm and in the meantime I did lots of warm salt water rinsing, with the result that when I finally saw the dentist I felt a bit of a fraud because it was no longer so painful. However, he thought it was serious enough to send me downstairs to the radiology clinic to have an X-ray taken of my entire set of choppers.

The X-ray was only slightly more comfortable than a mammogram. You stand with your teeth clamped on a protruding plastic piece (covered in plastic film, fortunately), with your head clamped on either side. You are required to take a step forward, then lean back at an angle, holding on to two handles for support. You have to maintain this position without moving for 25 seconds - which seems like a lifetime. I did move while the first picture was taken, so the entire procedure had to be repeated. Fortunately the second take was OK.

Back at the dentist's rooms he decided that the picture wasn't quite clear enough, so he did two more X-rays. These were the dentist type, where the plate is inserted into your mouth and everyone but you skedaddles out of range while the picture is taken. This was quite a painful procedure, what with having to open the mouth wide and the plate pressing on my swollen and painful gum.

And the result? The tooth where the infection is is my one and only remaining wisdom tooth. It sits up against the jaw hinge which makes it hard to clean properly and is no longer sound (dentist talk for rotting?). It will be the source of probably many more infections, so it needs to be removed. I am to make an appointment with an oral surgeon. The problem of course, is chemotherapy, so I have to consult with my oncologist first, which is 10 days from now. Plus there is an infected area on the roots of one of my other teeth which may also cause problems, though it is fine at the moment.

So more warm salt water rinsing. If the infected area doesn't clear up in three days I am to fill the script for antibiotics which I have from my last dentist visit. Oh joy!

Despite the fact that I had no appetite today for breakfast and lunch, I decided to make a pot of French Onion Soup. We had it for dinner tonight, complete with cheese covered bread that had been placed on top and cooked in the oven. It was yummy (once it cooled down) - the first thing I have really enjoyed for days. I hope this is the sign of better things to come.

1 comment:

  1. So glad you were able to eat something Joan.

    I had to have all of my top teeth removed as my upper gum held an infection that my body couldn't heal while fighting cancer. I was devastated but adjusted as always.....many of us who have or have had cancer has had infections in our teeth and gums, don't know why really.

    Keeping you in my heart and prayers.....:-)Hugs