This is a bit of a break from the lighthearted, picture driven posts I usually make. I’ve been facing a decision lately that I really don’t want to deal with, but I’m putting on my big girl pants and dealing with it.
But first, a little back story:
In middle school I went through braces just like most awkward, coming of age preteens do. The difference, I had two bars on either side of my mouth, called a herbst appliance, put in along with full top and bottom braces at once. The goal was to bring my bottom jaw forward. I already had straight teeth, the braces were to keep them from moving around and to help with the jaw alignment we were shooting for. It was no fun. Talking was difficult for a while, eating was a chore, and the bars would cause my mouth to get stuck open at inconvenient times. A year later, the bars were taken out, and I had just the braces for a year and a half. The day I got my braces out, my orthodontist told me, “Your teeth will never be perfect.” I didn’t understand how much truth were in his words, but I was pleased to get rid of the metal.
In 2006, I went to get my wisdom teeth removed. I found out I had another crazy adventure to go through where my teeth were concerned. I had two normal wisdom teeth, a pocket of calcium that could turn into a tooth one day, and a monster wisdom tooth. The two normal ones were removed, or should I say chiseled and drilled out. The calcium deposit was removed, leaving a temporary hole to my nasal cavity. Feeling air pass between your mouth and nasal area when breathing with your mouth closed is interesting, but not as fun as trying not to sneeze for two weeks as the hole closed itself up.
The monster tooth was the main problem.
I have been missing a molar on the bottom left side of my jaw my entire life. It just never showed up to the party. That is a problem. Your top teeth and bottom teeth need life partners so when you chew or close your mouth, they have someone to hang out with. This prevents them from growing super long and creepy. With a missing molar, my top molar had no partner. Call in the monster wisdom tooth! (I call it a monster because it is huge. I like to think it absorbed the missing molar osmosis style.) The idea was to bring this wisdom tooth in to take the place of the missing molar. Problem solved! Or not…
They took jaw bone out to help the tooth come in. They also attached one side of a chain to the tooth (that was still in my gums) and the other side of the chain to the nearest molar. This way, they could pull the tooth in if needed. This means, before the tooth erupted, there was a creepy chain just coming out of my gums. It was painful, uncomfortable, and pretty terrible.
The wisdom tooth finally came in late 2010, the chain was removed, and most of the glue. There was much rejoicing, but it didn’t last long. In the past year, the tooth has continued to come in, but with pain on and off. The monster tooth has decided to come in a little sideways, as wisdom teeth do.
I finally decided to deal with the situation like an adult, and find out the best options to fix my problem, even though I’m not really okay with more braces or surgeries.
I got the opinion of a different orthodontist yesterday. I was not relieved. They used big words that I won’t even pretend that I know to tell my how my teeth aren’t perfect. From what I understand – those braces I had for two and a half years didn’t really do what they were meant to do and that wisdom tooth I’ve been dealing with for six years has been a waste of time and the pain I’ve dealt with was for nothing.
Personally, I don’t need perfect teeth. I did my time with braces, they did some good, but not enough. I can eat food, talk normally, and my teeth look fine; therefore, no braces for me. Especially since my gums show the trauma I went through with the first round. This means I need to fix not only the wisdom tooth, but my gums too.
At first I was enraged at my previous orthodontist for screwing everything up. But then I had to remember that I am just that difficult patient and he did his best. So, no more anger, just frustration and fear of what I need to do now.
I plan on getting the tooth removed or reshaped, extra tissue removed around the tooth area, and a gum graft. My goal is to accomplish these things in the next six months. Get it done and over with before anything super terrible happens. I would love to ignore it all and just pretend it wasn’t a problem, but the big girl pants are on (ironically I’m wearing a dress today, but that is besides the point). That would solve nothing and probably lead to more stress later on. Or you know, crazy zombie teeth. Whichever
Anyways, this little story time has been me trying to come to terms with my fear of surgery and intense dislike of pain, but the promise of good things when I get it all taken care of. There will be tears, fears, frustration, possible vomiting (I don’t handle pain meds super well), and hopefully lots of chocolate pudding.