Oral Surgery and me

I have quite a history when it comes to surgery, procedures, and bad luck when it comes to my mouth.  It all started when I was a about 11 years old and had a very small underbite.  My parents wanted it corrected and my teeth straightened as any good parent would and I guess I didn’t mind the prospects of a nice smile either.  That day began the epic journey that my mouth would take for the next 13 years.

Nine or ten years ago, as part of the whole teeth moving process, my dentist sent me to an oral surgeon to have a tooth luxated (one of my back molars on the top).  For those unfamiliar with the term or the reason for having a tooth luxation, it’s basically there the tooth has attached itself to the jaw bone rather firmly.  Naturally this is a pain for the orthodontist because, if he can’t move it with wires, it fouls the whole process up.  So, this oral surgeon luxated my tooth by cracking it away from the jaw bone, allowing it to sit still connected with nerves in the gums, and hope all turns out well.  Well, later that week or day… it’s all become to blurry… I had to have it luxated again because the first time didn’t work.  After it was luxated a second time it finally decided to move and for several years all went well.  Long story short:  The tooth ended up needing to be pulled because it was dying or something.  Oh the irony.  It gets better.

A few months ago my orthodontist, during a regular checkup to see ensure his work still looks pristine, tells me that I need to have that tooth replaced because it will affect my jaw stability by not having a tooth there.  So I return to the same oral surgeon who I visited like 8 or 9 years ago and I get the whole once over from him.  Turns out the space is big enough now that I will need TWO teeth implants.  Lose one tooth… gain two… okay whatever.   After putting off the surgery for an entire semester (which is why I’m not in class this winter semester – to have this all done) – I went in yesterday to get it done.

It was quite an experience let me tell you… I’ll get slightly graphic here so just skip to the end where I talk about MMORPGs or something.  I thought having a tooth implant was no big deal.  They screw a titanium bar into place after cutting open your gums and you’re good to go… right?  Wrong!  I guess it’s my fault for opting to go local instead of general anesthesia, but it would be $800 more to go to sleep since my insurance has this “missing tooth clause” (look it up, yours probably does too).  Anyway, the procedure was an ordeal of epic proportion.  They cover me up so that only my mouth is showing (which makes me a little panic’y because being covered is scary, y’know?).  They begin with cutting and then they start using some form of saw or something because I feel my jaw bone being sawed open!  This goes on for some time and then the doctor tells me he wants to opt for using the mallet instead of going into the nasel cavety for something – no clue.  At this point he starts hammering inside my mouth what feels like a railroad spike!  My skull is vibrating as he hammers my jaw like a construction worker on the job.

Thirty minutes into the procedure my local begins to wear off as it normally does (I last about 30 min under this stuff) and I begin to feel throbbing and stinging.  “I’m going to give you a blocker” he tells me.  So he injects me a couple times (didn’t hurt at all even the first time when I wasn’t numb… he’s awesome at these injections) and then all of a sudden he shoots me with it somewhere that sends this rippling ice cold lava of my entire head through my nose, into my head, around my eye, and back down to my jaw causing me to sieze up and give an audible “Yip!”  “Damn, I got you good that time!” he said.  The right side of my face swelled and went 100% completely numb.. it was trippy.   After this point he finished the procedure with something that will probably haunt me forever.  After the cracking away and chiseling he tells the nurse to take out some big piecs of bone.  My eyes go wide.  “Wow, you have awesome bone here!”  or something likes that he says and at one point I hear him cleaning and scraping a piece across the room while saying “Man, you have so much bone in there you can donate some marrow to a cancer patient!”.   I’ll end the description there.

When I had my tooth luxated it hurt for days on end -  really, really badly.  Yesterday after the procedure it hurt a bit when the Vicadin wore off and I ended up taking it a couple times, but by the evening the pain had all but gone.  This morning I wake up  and I’m not in any pain at all.  It’s a little swollen and stuff which causes some discomfort, but other than that I’m completely fine!  I have it all stitched up and it’s uncomfortable having to eat pureed foods but I’m truly shocked that having bone removed, put back in, screws in my head, and hammering hasn’t caused more trauma to me.  Oh, and right as I got home from the surgery (I live about 30 min away) my doorbell rang and this really nice arrangement of flowers was delivered to me from the doctor.  Later last night at 9pm my phone rang and it was my doctor giving me a call to make sure that I was alright.   That’s one awesome doctor.

Just to tie this back into gaming, I’ll share where I was those many years ago when I had my tooth luxated.  I was a freshman in high school at the time.  My game of choice was Everquest!  I remember coming home from the procedure and after resting for a while I sat in my chair and logged in to South Karana where I joined a group to kill Treants.  Ohhh these were wonderful exp and money!  There would be waiting lists for hours just to get into this group.  Being in so much pain and in lala land from the Vicadin, I was home for an entire week where I did nothing but enjoy the simple things like killing treants and aviaks for hours on end.  Today I will be once again continue this tradition by logging into Warhammer Online to RvR.  I wonder where I’ll be next time I have something done…heaven forbid.

I hope you enjoyed peering through this little window into my RL adventures. 😉

  • I literally felt chills up and down my spine reading this.

    Excellent writing….I guess!

    And you’re right, that is a fantastic doctor.

  • I hope you did not get your teeth kicked in your favorite MMOs after that. This once happened to me while I tried playing to forget a still aching tooth…

    I had my appendix removed at New Year’s Eve, and the nurses and the doctor were so HAPPY and giggling that I got really scared… and then the surgeon laughed (!) and said “Don’t worry!”, and well, I hoped that I was only dreaming this… 😉

    Best wishes to you, Keen. 🙂

  • wow… and here I thought I had a bit of dental work done.

    Best of luck to you. I hope this will be the last of your dental ordeals !

  • I physically shuddered and twitched at the bone grinding portion. It always flips me out, but I love getting locals for that kind of stuff. Being able to watch this stuff done to you, but being disconnected from the physical sensations is always very cool to me.

  • Oh man, that is kind of freaky since my Oral Surgeon also wants to perform a luxation on one of my molars as well. I got hit in the face with a baseball when I was young and it stunted the growth of one of my molars. It eventally fused to the jaw bone. I had braces for several years and everything is all good alignment-wise but they still want to pull out that fused tooth and replace it with a crown to make sure my teeth don’t tip again.

    I think I’ll pass! 😛

  • Sounds like they want to do to you exactly what they’ve done to me haha. The luxations are a beast and the whole process of having a bone graft and an implant sounds horrid but it’s not been that bad.

  • Long time lurker here, but just had to add something after reading this post and remembering my (very minor compared to yours!) experience with oral sugery.

    The worst part is not knowing exactly what they’re going to do and then being surprised, imo. All I had done was get a root canal fixed. It had been done years before, and I apparently had a low-grade infection the entire time, unbeknowst to me. I went to a surgeon to have it done properly and when I went to open my mouth, he said “no, no – just keep your mouth closed.” Then to the student watching the procedure (oh does that add a fun amount of discussion to the procedure!) “yes – we’re going to cut here and here and fold the gum back and go in from the side – we have to be very careful or we can do some serious damage to the tooth and gum”. I started freaking out at that point and went to my happy place.

    Lesson from this for me was that if I had known ahead of time and been mentally prepared it wouldn’t have been nearly as bad as it turned out to be. I always ask for all details now.

    I can’t imagine how I would have reacted to the comments about all the bone, though…

  • Stories like this make me SO glad I have British teeth….. They are not perfectly straight but its hardly like the pictures from the Simpsons and I didn’t have to go through torture like this 🙂

  • sounds like you’ve found something that Im just realised, when drugged up for what ever reason (in my case its pain killers), the grind in MMO’s is fun, is this intended and not just a side effect of the meds?!? did the inventors of MMORPGS sit down and come up with a game style that is meant to be played drunk/drugged????

  • I just had my rear lower wisdom teeth pulled 3 days ago. And the night after the local anesthesia, i just distracted my self with WoW. It seem to do the trick. I’m not a fan of pain killers, and I dont think a wisdom teeth is anywhere close to ur ordeal. But i agree, that a few mindless instance runs is a great way to take u mind off bodily pain. Maybe this is also why ppl can play too long for their own good.

    Cause eventually the most irritating part of dental work, is having to watch what u eat for days after. I swear i’m really hungry right now.

  • He’s playing console games and being a complete slacker. People should hassle him to write more so that he’ll feel the pressure from someone other than me. 😉

  • i am so glad my teeth are naturally straight, and ps i would have paid the extra $800.. i am such a baby when it comes to that stuff.. glad you are feeling better btw

  • ow ow ow

    I’ve has a TON of oral work, but nothing like this.

    Glad your ok!! Enjoy your gaming week.

  • Sounds nasty. I thought I had bad teeth because I had to have 4 teeth out when I was about 5, then 2 more when I was 16. I feel a little inadequate now.

  • I know this is sort of off-topic, but Mythic/GoA just announced the future inclusion of a Darkness falls-like area! Woot!

  • Had a kick reading this since I am a dentist…lol. I even have a computer set up in my waiting room with both WoW and LOTRO on it for anyone to log in and play (sorry I stopped my WAR subscription as WAR seemed to be going nowhere fast).

    I don’t do implants in my general dentist office as it has become such a specialty. However, I have taken care of post-op patients and pretty much know the procedure you went through. I am glad he covered up the sinus area with a bone graft as you don’t want an implant going into the sinus….big problems with that.

    I am surprised he didn’t give you headphones or something to distract you. Maybe you wanted to “experience” this whole thing for future referencing. As far as the injection that made you go “yips”, he probably penetrated the nerve lining. About 98% of all injections go near a nerve or slide by it. Penetrating the lining can cause instant pain and numbness (both within seconds).

    As far as you feeling surprisingly good later, the mouth area has some quick healing properties. The blood and nerve supply to heal is close by and very efficient. Good for you, the worse is over. Just keep the area clean as the same bacteria that can cause gum disease can wipe out a bone graft over time.

  • I’m on an antibiotic (amoxacillin) and following the post-op stuff like rinsing my mouth with salt water and not using straws and all that good stuff.

    The next step in this process is to go back for a checkup on the 5th of Feb and then in a couple weeks after that I’m going back in so he can open it up just a bit to expose the titanium thing, I guess? Then after that it’s another couple weeks then I go to the actual Dentist who will put the teeth in.

    It’ll be a fun couple months.

  • Yeah…essentially you are waiting for the implant and the bone around it to become strong enough for the crown that will go over the “exposed” post.

    I am in a different part of L.A. than you, but if you need anything, or have a question, drop me an email.

  • Today and yesterday have been the worst so far. I’m not in a ton of pain but it’s this constant minor pain – a little throbbing. When I take a look at it in the mirror I think I can see the part where the gums were tied together and something that looks white sticking out… I think… and I have no idea what that might be.

  • In patients I have seen, the sutures (stitches) tend to be the most irritating after a few days. The white could be a few things….scar tissue, your post popping through, or the gum tissue right above the post (the gum tissue is pressing down on the post as it tries to heal and appears whitish due to that pressure…same as when you press your finger on the back of your hand and then let up).
    Overall…you are probably on schedule, but I would say if you feel it is getting worse, ask to be seen before the 5th of Feb.
    For any major procedure in the gums, or teeth, there is a “shock” period early on of no pain or discomfort. Then the body realizes “hey…what the hell just happened here” and it sends the immune system to “fix” it up. That activity is good for the surgery area, but can be discomforting and irritating for the patient.
    Hang in there…..keep it clean, but avoid hard and overly sticky food there.

  • Ive been avoiding all hard foods completely. I’m having yogurts, soup, refried beans, and that sort of thing. The white thing I saw is gone so it must have been something with the gums or tissue. I feel the sutures with my tongue and they feel like they’re in different spots every day – that could be due to healing and swelling going up and down.

    Yesterday felt a lot better. Today when I woke up there is a slight yellow bruise on my cheek – perhaps I slept on that side during the night or it’s just a natural occurrence from the procedure.

    Overall I think I’m doing good.

  • Good luck with your appt. tomorrow (Feb. 5th)….he will remove the suture for sure…and yes, it feels like it moves around due to the swelling going down.

  • Well written!! As a surgeon myself, it’s always good to hear good experiences. Seeing a board-certified Oral Surgeon makes all the difference in the world. Having a major oral surgery procedure performed by anyone else opens up the possibility of a poor experience and poor outcome. Good luck with the rest of your dental work! By the way, I have educational videos of many oral surgery procedures on my website, http://www.licoms.net.