Being (a) Patient: The Long and Bumpy Road

When you have an injury or illness that requires a long plan of treatment, you’re probably going to hit the wall more than once.  At least that’s been my experience thus far.

I have been having one of those weeks where I was starting to feel like the 10 steps I went forward in May to get my smile back…well, I fell back seven.  When you have 4 doctors (or in my case dentists: a periodontist, a prosthodontist, an orthodontist and an oral surgeon,) they aren’t always going to agree on everything.  I also found out it would be a miracle if I don’t end up with any pink porcelain (which is used to simulate gum tissue when there has been bone and/or gum tissue loss.)  And some of the people who are closest to me are sick of hearing about my teeth after four plus months and think I should stop seeking out the holy grail of treatment plans and just get on with the fuckin’ work already.

Can’t really blame ‘em there.  I am sick of it too.  I would love to just get on with the treatment already but I am also terrified.  I have felt like I have been putting a puzzle together in the dark since I fell.  Whenever I think I have all the pieces together, a light flashes on just long enough to reveal that something isn’t quite right yet.

I have made progress for sure.  I managed to avoid the plates and screws that the residents at the hospital wanted to put in my jaw.  I found a great oral surgeon who set my jaw and saved the other three teeth; they wanted to pull in the hospital.  I nixed the treatment plan that would have left me an 8 tooth bridge from upper premolar to premolar, as well as, the douche-bag perio who said it was my only option.  Thankfully, I’ve found a skilled team who can deliver on keeping me in all separate teeth.

So, what’s the problem then, right?  Four millimeters is the problem… four fuckin’ millimeters of vertical bone loss above my missing central incisor (or right front tooth to you and me.)  Between my body growing it and the bone graft(s), I need to gain 4mm (and have plenty of gum tissue) in order to avoid pink porcelain.  Is pink porcelain that big a deal?  Well, when you have a high smile line or a somewhat gummy smile like I do, it’s going to show.  I keep flashing on an image of a youngish Wayne Gretzky with his pink-topped crowns.  I couldn’t figure out why his upper gum looked like it had a squiggly dark line running through it at the time.  Now, I know it was pink porcelain.

My prosthodontist is an artist and I am sure even if pink porcelain is required that I won’t look like an ice hockey-player by the time he is done but, you know, I also will do everything in my power to make sure I gain those four fucking millimeters!

What experiences have you had as a patient?  How did you overcome them?  Is there anything you wish you had done differently looking back now?

Love and blessings to all,

Cynthia

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