My parents and I went to the dentist yesterday. We didn’t get our teeth cleaned, but we did get X-Rays. I’m proud to say that I don’t have any problems now that I didn’t (probably) have the last time I saw a dentist. That isn’t to say that I don’t have anything wrong.
In 1993 or 1994, I got sealants put on all my 12-year molars. In 1997 or 1998, the 12-year molar on my upper left side broke while I was eating lunch at school. After that, I had a root canal started by a dentist and finished by an endodontist before I got a crown put on it. I had to go to the endodontist because the dentist couldn’t find the 3rd part of the nerve. (He also had to block off too much time to look because my mouth got numb in an odd way–the opposite side would numb first and then it would take two to three times how long it should have taken before the left side would get numb.) The endodontist couldn’t find that part of the nerve either and declared that it just wasn’t there.
Yesterday, I found out that that tooth still had a cavity and the root has a lesion. I can either go through a new root canal, a new build-up, and a new crown OR I can have the tooth pulled. The latter is cheaper, so I may have to go with that. Either way, I have to have an endodontist consult.
The other problem is that the dental student who examined my teeth said that I need to have the braces done as soon as I can get them done. I told the student that I do have trouble chewing and she didn’t seem shocked that that was an issue after seeing my teeth. She was staring at my bite for a second during the exam, and, though I had something between my teeth, I told her that it was a crossbite and underbite, which means that my teeth don’t meet properly. My lower jaw is more prominent and my teeth cross in a funny way.
My teeth also point in an odd way because they try to meet properly. The top ones point forward, though this isn’t visible when you look at them. The bottom ones point backward, which is very visible. The student thought that braces alone might fix the issue, but the orthodontists and oral surgeons who I’ve seen before have been pretty clear that jaw surgery will be required. My maxilla will have to be broken around the mid-line and rotated down, while my mandible will have to be shortened and pushed back. I also have an openbite, which will be fixed at the same time. The consensus has been, in the past, that it will be about 18 months after the first set of braces before I’ll get the surgery, then a new set will be put on and about 6-12 months later they will be taken off. They’ll be top and bottom braces because both jaws have to be worked on. I tried to tell the student some of this, but she said that things may have changed and surgery might not be necessary. I figure that if it is serious enough that braces are no longer truly optional, that the need for surgery is probably still there. So, I’ll have an orthodontist consult there and I may be able to get them a lot cheaper at their braces clinic.
She wants me to get a new night guard, because sometimes, when I grind my teeth, my jaw hurts really bad. It has more to do with going to bed angry or in pain. I have to make sure to take Flexeril to relax my jaw enough so that I don’t grind them. I think she was so insistent on it because my jaw kept dislocating when she would have me open it. That seemed to weird her out a little.
So, I have to go back to Birmingham and get my teeth cleaned and have all this stuff done/checked out.