They Pulled a Tooth Yesterday

My first four teeth were pulled when I was in 4th grade when I got braces, to make room for the wisdom teeth to come.  The wisdom teeth were pulled when I was a freshman in college (nothing says spring break like sitting on the couch eating ice cream and watching soap operas).  That made 8 total, all planned.

Yesterday they pulled another one, but this was totally unexpected.  I’ve been having pain on the right side of my face, alternating between teeth and sinuses, for almost a year.  I went to the dentists 3-4 times last fall, had x-rays taken, and had my teeth poked and prodded but nothing was found.  They said it was a sinus infection because nothing showed up with the teeth.

I’ve had at least 3 courses of antibiotics  which helped but not for long, so my primary care doctor referred me for a CT scan of the sinuses and a visit to an ENT.  She didn’t find a single thing – the scan was clear.  But my cheeks hurt, my head ached, and my teeth started to hurt again when I was eating.  So it was back to the dentist.

They took more x-rays, which looked exactly like the ones in the fall (I saw them, too, and they looked like twins).  But this time the dentist saw something different in my mouth: part of my upper back left molar was wiggling when I bit down.  Just part, the rest of the tooth stayed put.  Not good.  Verdict: fractured tooth.

There was no way to tell how much was fractured but the plan was to pull the broken part and build up what’s left.  Unfortunately, the tooth had fractured right down the middle, hidden on x-rays by the filling, and there was no way to save the tooth at all.  So 20 minutes and lots of novocain later,  it was out in two pieces, and the roots showed signs of chronic infection. The hole will heal and I won’t be replacing the tooth.

The mouth feels better this morning but I’m making it a low-key day with Tessie, which works for both of us 🙂

Water Aerobics and the Dentist

Water aerobicsI ventured into new territory this week with an hour-long water aerobics class in the pool at my new gym. Never having taken one before, I of course looked up exercises online in advance so I’d know what to expect – I’m not big on surprises where body things are concerned.

We filled up our hour with 30 minutes of cardio and 30 minutes of strength training using these cute little yellow barbells with baffles on the end to grab water for more resistance. Yesterday we used those noodles with exercises, too. Let me just say that it’s a lot harder to make those behave than you’d think. The cardio work included pool lane walking forwards and backwards, jogging, hopping, marching, different versions of jumping jacks and other things I’ve already forgotten. But believe me, we were busy.

The group is small – five one night and four the other – and I’ve been told 10 is the biggest it gets. Which means we won’t be as likely to hit each other in the pool while we’re flailing around trying to stay balanced. Since we’re all blind at bats in the pool without our glasses, it helps to have people nearby to watch to figure out whatever we’re supposed to do next. The best part was hanging out in the very hot whirlpool after class for 10 minutes or so, getting warm and just chitchatting.

I was very aware yesterday that my right knee hurt while we were doing things. Not vicious, sharp pain but more a sense that it’s just not like the other one. I’ve been aware of it all week as I walked and did my regular life activities so it’s not surprising that I was aware of it in the pool, too. But it did reinforce that trying to do a serious workout is going have to happen in the water which is much easier on the joints than using weight machines or even the treadmill.

Another part of my body was also trying to get my attention: my mouth. I’ve had a low-grade toothache off and on almost since I got here, but I’d been checked out by the dentist in Boston before leaving so wasn’t inclined to go find a dentist. I hate having people put fingers in my mouth and inflict pain which pretty much describes a visit to the dentist.

ToothacheThings have been worse in the last week or so with the toothache accompanied by an earache; I even had two short dizzy spells which were a bit unnerving. Since I have a dental degree in addition to my other ones plus I have access to the web for research, I decided that everything was probably tied to a tooth infection of some kind, pressing on nerves and giving me the earache and vertigo.

The actual dentist, who I found by doing a Google search, decided something different. My teeth are newly cleaned and cavity-free, with healthy gums. But my back tooth is apparently moving and there’s a gap between it and the one next to it. Bottom line is that I need a new crown to replace an old one and build up some of the space to keep them touching so I don’t end up with periodontal disease. That’s very good incentive. I just wish crowns didn’t cost $1,500.

So I’ve been listening to my body. Putting it in the pool, feeding it healthy things, getting treatment when things weren’t quite right. I’m contemplating whether to see someone about the knee or just deal with it; I already know it has arthritis, degenerative joint disease, and very little padding between the bones. There’s not much they can do but I’m keeping my options open.