Tuesday, 7 August 2012

The Lost Bone

It is not a horror story, but the truth, honest. It happened to me yesterday, but let us start at the beginning.

About six months ago I paid a visit to the dentist. I have to go every six months because I am a diabetes sufferer, not that I am on the needle, tablets do the trick nicely, but this does have a negative influence on dental health (so my dentist tells me). This was an extra visit because I felt a slight pain on the upper left side on a tooth. The dentist made an examination, tapping all of the teeth on that side of the mouth with a steel instrument (a hammer?)  asking where it hurt. As the teeth in question had the nerves removed a couple of years ago, he was mystified that I had pain and together we found that the pain was from the gum in between two teeth. He made an X-ray (another increase in the costs) and found nothing, saying it would probably go away after a couple of days, but if it did not, I should report back to the dentist - no problem (of course not, just more on the bill).

So this was the case history until the last week-end. Do not ask me why, but these things always happen at the week-end when dentists stay at home with their families and other emergencies may occur. Such as the fact that my oldest son had to go to the emergency in the hospital on Saturday evening. He is autistic and we were worried, but cut a long story short, everything was ok and after a visit to his doctor yesterday the problem has been solved.

So where was I, yes, my tooth which began to hurt again on Saturday, combined with a mysterious bump on top, white in colour with a small yellow point. My first thought - an abscess. Mr. Swiss had a look and found, yes, there was an infection. Coupled with the fact that my son had an emergency, I decided, like all mothers, to put my problem on one side. I had some pain but could live with it.

Next instalment was on Monday morning a telephone call to the dentist and an appointment was made at five in the evening. I arrived with mixed feelings, knowing that this would not be just an injection, a drill operation, stuff the tooth with the necessary medicine and seal it up. I was right. The dentist made an x-ray to see what was happening and was astonished to find that part of a bone had disappeared above the tooth in six months. At least that was the way he described it. My dentist is originally French, but speaks perfect Swiss German. I understand all these languages, but sometimes I would prefer a clear english explanation.

He was perplexed to see that part of a bone had disappeared within six months. I did ask where it had gone, and I think he said it probably just disintegrated, but me not being a dentist I did not really get the hang of all this. He did say that the infection was probably due to me being diabetic and all that. He then began to work, operate or whatever. First of all a few injections to make sure I would feel no pain and I did get the hang of things that he decided to do some cutting work around the gums. As my mouth was then open, filled with various instruments, I could not ask very much. This can get annoying when your nose starts to itch, or even an ear.

So then he decided to bore a bit, sort of sending vibrations through the head. I did realised that these must have been mini-borers, at super high speed. Suddenly there was a break in the work, where I could rinse out my mouth and take antibiotic tablets coupled with pain killers to reduce the swelling.  He then continued to bore. He did mention to the assistant at one point whether she could now see the infection, which is answered in the positive sense. Some time later he explained to another assistant (yes, three of them were working on the job) that we could now see the tissues surrounding the bone (he found a bone???) and he would now slice it partly to make a fold or lap or whatever etc. etc. etc. I did not understand very much more which I think was a good thing.

After a while he appeared with a strong thread and I suppose some sort of needle. That was when I managed to make sounds asking if he was doing a sewing job. "Oh yes" was the answer "I have to sew up the cut". Big deal I thought, although that was not so bad until he got behind the bit where the anaesthetic did not work so well, but he assured that was only a couple of seconds. I suppose he was right, but it hurt.

He now finished the job and his son arrived - also his partner in dental crime, where he explained about the disappearing bone. He told me he was able to save the tooth below the bone, which had disappeared, removing one root and part of the tooth. The tooth had three roots originally, so I still have two roots. The third of the removed tooth he took to examine under the microscope (perhaps still searching for the missing bone, but he said something about there perhaps being a hairline crack there). As a souvenir I asked for the removed part of the tooth, which I now have in a small plastic pouch to keep as a remembrance.

I have return to the scene of the crime next week to having the stitches removed and I was given packs to keep in the freezer for putting on the swelling when frozen. I also have a supply of antibiotic tables, one per day, and tablets for reducing the pain and swelling.

Mr. Swiss picked me up at the dentist as I was a bit dodgy on my legs afterwards and for a couple of hours afterwards I had a sort of one sided smile on my face. I was given a document saying I had had a surgical attack and how I should act afterwards. No alcohol (I don't drink), no coffee (I only drink the instant stuff in any case) and talking should be reduced, which Mr. Swiss found a positive thing, although I was not impressed. It also said no hard work for a day or so, which I am not unhappy about.

Today a day later I feel OK. I can hold an ice pack to  my face whilst on the computer and basically I feel OK, knowing that the necessary has been done and that things will take time to heal.

So now I have written this all down for eternity. Any remarks from a certain dentist I happen to know here would be appreciated.

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