Last Thursday I had to head out for the oral surgeons office. Like so many of you I have suffered the wrath of bad teeth my whole life but I never thought I would be LOSING one.
I mean before the age of 70.
The story is that somehow during my pregnancy I lost a filling of that back molar. Around my 7th month I went in and asked them to fix it. The dentist said no problem but that due to the filling being so large he was just going to cap the tooth. We set the appt and when I went in he went about shaving the tooth down for the cap. However when he got down to the base of the tooth he realized I didn’t need a filling but I needed a root canal. When you are pregnant you cant really get a root canal. It requires that you lie on your back for several hours and heavy sedation.
Unfortunately, this put me in the position of having a fully shaved down molar with no cap and no way to get a root canal.
At some point between the end of my pregnancy and several months after having Phoenyx (recovering from a C section) I fully broke the tooth. It’s not a surprise considering it was just a weak structure at that point, but I broke it all the way to the gum line. When I went into the endodontist he told me that “sure, he could perform a root canal just fine” but now the tooth was damaged beyond holding a cap at all.
Next stop? Oral surgeon.
I have spent the last several months fretting on what to do and avoiding the inevitable. I researched all sorts of routes on that tooth and have had nothing but more questions.
- Would I need to get an implant?
- Would I lose the top tooth that sits on it if I didn’t?
- Would all my teeth shift?
I started imagining myself with no teeth.
Of course the dentist and endodontist both support an implant solution. And minus the serious pain involved with that, it’s NOT covered by dental insurance at all and the price is no picnic. It’s cost is in the thousands. Thousands with an S. The price lands somewhere around $3K to replace that molar.
2 weeks ago I finally gathered up enough courage to go have “the talk” about my tooth fate.
Thankfully the oral surgeon made me feel better. He has no personal stake in that tooth and other than doing a bone graft should I want to put in an implant, no financial gain for me going that route. This is what he told me should anyone else be facing the same situation and a few pieces of valuable information:
- Teeth move forward, not backwards. Because it was my 1st molar, the ONLY tooth in danger of moving was my wisdom tooth (2nd molar).
- You don’t really need a 1st molar to eat. They are rarely used.
- The first molar has no cosmetic value.
- The opposing tooth CAN loosen but it takes a long time and isn’t as common as people have you think when you search the internet. He also said my wisdom tooth, which is fully in, partly supports my top molar so it does have an opposing tooth (score one for not taking it out!).
- If you fill that spot, you will only be doing it because you don’t like the space in your mouth in the back.
In the end, I opted to leave the space empty. I really could find better uses for $3,000, including focusing on keeping my other teeth healthy for the upcoming years.
The surgery? Well, they knocked me out. The doctor said that sometimes the pulling or tugging can scare you so it was my best option. That whole twilight sleep was something else.
It was like I was there…….and then I wasn’t.
The only thing I have left showing me that it really happened is this nasty little IV bruise.
Honestly I could have been abducted by aliens and I wouldn’t have known.
Recovery hasn’t been perfect. I have a high pain tolerance but I am knocking back Lortab like it’s candy and just got the oral surgeon to up me a second prescription yesterday. The first few days were fine but then it hit me like a ton of bricks. I finally feel like I am going in the right direction. I can exist on Tylenol or Bayer, but I look forward to the moment I don’t have any pain at all there. Ironically the tooth itself did NOT hurt prior so this wasn’t a relief other than getting the decision out of my life.
Have you ever had a tooth pulled? How has that space reacted?