Another Trip to the Dentist: “Lucky Duck”

I arrived late at my new dentist’s office this Wed. I was in no hurry to get my cavity filled. UGH! Right away I was ushered into the examination room, and within a couple of minutes the dentist arrived and took a look at the tiny cavity in one of my upper left molars. “You’re a lucky duck,” he stated matter-of-factly.

It took a minute for his comment to sink it. Whatever could he mean? His pointy metal stick was still inside my mouth, so I said nothing. Then he said it again. Lucky duck.

“Uh. How so?” I asked quietly once my mouth was free of foreign objects.

“Your pin-hole cavity has re-mineralized.”

“You mean I don’t need to have a filling?!!!”

“Yup. You’re a lucky duck. That fluoride treatment at your last cleaning must have done the trick.”

Now, I’ve never heard of such a thing, but it makes perfect sense to me when I think about it. I was elated.

Huh? ELATED, you say?! Isn’t that a bit overboard?

Yeh, well, I’d been feeling kinda sorry for myself earlier this week because I had an optometrist appointment on Tuesday and found out that my near vision is finally showing my age. The Doc said, “The end is near….though you’re ahead of the game, really. Most folks’ vision starts to go at around 39 1/2. You’ve got almost four years on those people. Of course, your being near-sighted helped stave off the inevitable. I’ll give you six months to a year. Then we’ll need to get you into some reading glasses.”

I’ve worn glasses or contacts since I was in high school. I’m used to having poor vision. But I always kinda took a sort of pleasure in the fact that I could at least see up close unaided. Now I felt as if I had been given six months to live! I know. I know. Ridiculous. But it hit me hard. Here I am trying so much this year to get my act together: losing weight, seeking balance, getting proper sleep. And it just seemed to me that it was all too little, too late.

Of course, this is absurd. I am healthy and doing fine for a 43 year old woman. Yes, I still need to deal with the regular exercise issue, but overall I’m in really good shape. That day at the eye doctor, however, I was inconsolable. Then I went to my dentist appointment the next day, and I thought, “Hey, I’m not in such bad shape after all. Maybe my body isn’t falling apart. Probably eventually I’ll have to get that filling, but for now, I’ve got a respite. And so what if six months from now I need reading glasses? What’s the difference? It’s not as if I don’t ALREADY wear glasses!”

Then the dentist said, “While you’re here, let’s take a look at that other molar that is giving you the sensitivity problems.” He poked around up there a bit and then suggested that I visit a specialist, an endodontist (what the heck is that, anyway) to check out that problem further. Before I left the office, the receptionist made an appointment for me at the new guy’s office for the next day. (Yikes, three medical appointments in a row — what a week!)

So, wouldn’t ya know it, that guy found out that I have not one but two cracked molars, which is why I have experienced extreme cold sensitivity and moderate achy pain on that side of my mouth for the last year and a half. Duh. Why didn’t my old doctor take me seriously when I brought up this problem in the first place? SO glad I found a new dentist!

The diagnosis: cracked tooth syndrome. Seriously. That’s what they call what’s wrong with me.

The treatment: two crowns for the cracks and if ALL — and the endodontist was very clear on this point — 100% of symptoms do not disappear after the temporary crowns are fitted, well, then it’s time for a root canal before the permanent crowns are attached.

Funny thing is I’m still happy. I may be getting a painful and expensive set of crowns because I grind my teeth from years of stress, but, heck, my pinhole cavity healed itself. I may be getting reading glasses in another six months, but at least I can still see.

I’m a lucky duck.


5 Responses

  1. Maybe your eyes will heal themselves too! πŸ™‚

    Don’t fear the root canal too much. I had one done and I think it was less painful than the shot they give for fillings!

    Funny post πŸ™‚

  2. Just last week I had to get glasses, too, WGB. One pair for distance and another for reading. I didn’t get bifocals both because it would be too disorienting and because the word “bifocals” just makes me feel old. (I’m forty-two). Congrats on that cavity filling it self- that IS something grateful for.

  3. Hey good luck with the dental work. Sounds like you’re in good hands, many of my endodontist peers will do the root canals then the crowns rather than the monitoring plan they’ve suggested for you. I’m all for conservative treattment.

  4. Yeh, these guys seem to know what they’re doing. Such a change from my old dentist. Yikes! I’m sure it’ll all turn out fine, and I’m really looking forward to easing the pain.

  5. Katie — Hy, you made my day. I’m not alone in this, I must remember. πŸ™‚

    Strugglingwriter: Really? Root canal just sounds so awful!! I’ll take your word for it, though. Better than dreading the whole thing.

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