Tag Archives: Teeth

Being (a) Patient: Heartbroken

Sometimes, when you are being put back together things don’t go the way you want or expect them to.  You believe you are going to make a giant step forward and are disappointed and pushed backward.  Such was the case with me yesterday.

Suffice it to say, I didn’t get what I expected and what I did get was unacceptable to me.  I feel like I have a cough drop stuck to the back of my front teeth that never dissolves.  It feels horrible.  I have no comfortable place to put my tongue.  I don’t like the way it looks either.  I am also lisping worse than I was with two teeth missing.  The good news is that it is only temporary.  The painfully frustrating part is I need to find a new prosthodontist.

 

In the meanwhile, I will regroup and hang with my favorite wellness practitioner, Chauncy.  No matter how hard life gets sometimes, Chauncy always make me feel grateful!

Chauncy always gives me a reason to be grateful!

Dr. Chauncy to the rescue!

Many blessings,

Cynthia

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justdragonfly

Being (a) Patient: Bye Bye Flipper

I am very grateful to have had my flipper for the last two years and four months (and the essex bridge for two months before that.).  Although it wasn’t fun tasting plastic all day, it definitely beat missing two front teeth.  I will be wearing it for the last time this morning because I am happy to share that by this evening, I will no longer need it!!!  I am getting two temporary crowns on my implants today.  Hooray!

Farewell my beat-up, well-used and discolored flipper!  Today, you will be granted an honorable discharge.  Your service has come to the end.  Thank you!

 

Many blessings,

Cynthia

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justdragonfly

Being (a) Patient: Tough Decisions and Temporary Solutions

I have avoided writing this blog post for almost five months. I actually did write one back in June; when I first found out I can’t yet afford to finish my dental reconstruction. The shame and frustration of admitting that reality were so raw I couldn’t bring myself to post it at the time.

Since then I have tried to save enough to get to the point where I could put most of the money down to get the eight crowns and two posts I need but I am not quite there yet. I have enough money to start the work but the large payments I would have to make in the months following, make me uneasy because I would essentially be eating Ramen noodles the whole time and living in terror of ANYthing that might go wrong.

If I have learned anything from this situation (actually…I’ve learned a lot,) unexpected things happen. As much as I would like to stick my head in the sand right now and throw all my money and credit cards at my prosthodontist and be done with this trial, it’s not financially responsible and there is no way I can justify it. Besides, I am way too into healthy eating to survive on processed, freeze-dried noodles!

I am, however, impatient to make some progress. I want all my teeth to stay in 24/7. I also want to break bread with other people. I haven’t shared a meal with another human being in over two and a half years.  (It can be kind of gross when you are missing two front teeth and have braces.) I want back those things that I took for granted before but now I won’t. I would be grateful to have that kind of functionality back.

I asked my prosthodontist last week if we could at least do temporary crowns on the two implants and bond my two worst teeth. He went to work, taking measurements and an initial mold. When I called yesterday, his office manager told me they need me to come back next week for more measurements because, “he is trying to get [me] the best deal on parts.” (Kind of makes me sound like a car, doesn’t it?)

I still don’t know how much this temporary solution is going to cost. Hopefully, it is feasible. The temps will have to be redone when I get all eight crowns. So, I already know that it will end up adding to my total cost in the long run but it will be worth it. I just can’t endure another year in braces and a plastic flipper! I really need to get out of limbo. Being able to share a meal with loved ones and smile without being self-conscious will be priceless! Sometimes, progress is more important than perfection.

Many Blessings,

Cynthia

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justdragonfly

Being (a) Patient: Patience Rewarded

Today- two years, one month and eight days after I fell, I reached a milestone in my dental reconstruction.  My dental implants have been implanted and my periodontist said they look beautiful!  I saw the x-ray and I have to agree (even though the local is wearing off and my mouth is throbbing with pain.  Don’t worry; I can handle it!)

Have I mentioned my periodontist before?  I had consults with six different periodontists.  SIX!  Only two felt confident that they could do what I wanted.  I wanted all separate teeth, to keep my own teeth and to avoid pink porcelain.  It seems reasonable enough, right?  It would have been if I hadn’t lost bone in my upper jaw when my right front tooth was knocked out.

The first periodontist I went to, tried to tell me my only option was an eight tooth bridge.  After I finished crying, I set out to find someone who could give me what I needed and I did find him.  Although, there are never any guarantees when bone grafts are involved, my periodontist believed it would be possible to restore the missing bone enough to place two side-by-side implants, giving me the separate teeth I wanted.  He delivered on that today.

It’s been a loooooong process.  I had to have a tooth super-erupted through orthodontics.  That took around six months.  Then I received a socket graft. That needed to heal for three months.  I had to have a frenectomy.  That needed to heal for about six weeks. Then I had the BIG bone graft!  That healed for six months.  Today, I took a giant leap forward toward having a beautiful smile again!

Whether I am able to dodge the  pink porcelain remains to be seen.  So far though, so good!  I’m so grateful!

Many blessings to all,

Cynthia

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justdragonfly

Naturally Veggie: Tortilla Lasagna

I love tortillas and salsa!  However, given my dental issues since I fell in 2013, I have to avoid crunchy, hard food.  I started making what I call Tortilla Lasagna as a way to indulge my love of tortilla chips… all Mexican food really.

Ingredients:

Tomato Sauce

Tortilla chips

Black Beans

Salsa (I added some real grape tomato slices here as well)

Vegan Cheese

Chopped Olives to garnish

Preheat oven to 350.

I am not  going to include measurements because I usually just make it for myself in a loaf pan.  You just layer in the ingredients to fill whatever pan you are using.  (Usually I only put in a layer of each item and then eat the whole pan.)

Put in the oven for twenty minutes and voila!

It’s quick, easy and delish!  Even after my teeth are finished, I will still be enjoying this dish.

Give it a try.  Let me know what you think.

Love and Many Blessings,

Cynthia

 

justdragonfly

 

Being (a) Patient: Progress Isn’t Always Pretty!

Five days from now,  I will go to my uber-talented prosthodontic clinician who will once again rebuild my much abused flipper.

What’s a flipper?  A flipper is a dental prosthesis that simulates teeth that are missing.  It’s used by damaged people like me and pint-sized beauty queens  who are in between their baby teeth and adult teeth.

I have not been able to wear my flipper for over a month, due to a complication with the augmentation bone graft, I had done in  September to restore the bone I lost when I fell.  Originally, my periodontist cut my flipper back to keep it away from the graft.  However, it was still cutting off the circulation to my gum.  So, I had to lose it to ensure the best possible result.

I have mixed feelings about wearing it again.  Physically, I am more comfortable without it.  It tastes like plastic.  It presses against my gum and hard palate all day.  It makes me gag.  It make me cough.  It makes me angry.  It reminds me to hold the handrail on stairs.  Emotionally though, it makes me feel safe.  It makes me feel like maybe people will think I just have adult braces.  It makes me feel less… vulnerable.  I don’t like to feel vulnerable.

I keep my top lip pulled down when talking to people.  When I laugh or even smile, my hand flies up to cover the gap left behind by my two missing front teeth.  I’ve realized since this has happened that a toothy grin can compensate for more than just physical insecurities though.  When you can’t flash a smile, tilt your head and toss your hair, your personality flaws become glaringly obvious.  When it comes to conversation, I’m not an artist.

I think, perhaps, writers are writers because it gives us a chance to express what we would have liked to have said in any given moment, if only we could have thought of it at the time.  If only…

I am determined to learn from this experience and be better for having gone through it.  I don’t know exactly what that looks like yet.  Habits form over decades; not all at once.  Change doesn’t happen all at once.  I hope that by the time this is all over that I can look back and see that I have taken one step at a time in the right direction.

Love and Many blessings to All,

Cynthia

justdragonfly

Being (A) Patient: The Next Step in My Dental Reconstruction

Tomorrow, I go to three of my dentists.  (I know, you must be so jealous!)  The next step in my dental reconstruction is demolition.  My lateral incisor (tooth next to the right front tooth…) is being extracted.  I have mixed feelings about this as you might imagine.

Of course, it’s nice to be making progress.  Every procedure puts me one step closer to a complete smile.  On the other hand, losing another tooth is a bummer.

I fought hard to keep my teeth after I fell.  Had the residents at the hospitals had their way, I ‘d be sporting plates and screws in my upper jaw and most of my front top teeth would have been… I can’t even write it.  Thankfully, my oral surgeon saved them all.  My lateral incisor though, every clinician agreed had to go.  Before it went though, it was put to work.  For the last eight months, my orthodontist has been slowly pulling it down with my braces.  The procedure is called a super eruption.  The tooth is helping to draw down bone, as it is slowly pulled out.  Any millimeters of bone growth I can gain will really help, as I am told it is difficult to grow vertical bone from a graft.

After my lateral is excised tomorrow, my periodontist will put in a socket graft.  Once that heals, I’ll be ready for the big one: ridge augmentation.  My perio will graft in the area where I lost jaw bone above where my right front tooth was knocked out.

I’m grateful to be moving forward.  And I’m grateful to this tooth.  I am also a little nervous.  I am hoping this is the end of the losses.  And things just get better and better from here.

Love and Blessings to All,

Cynthia

 

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justdragonfly

 

 

Being (a) Patient: A Moment of Gratitude

When you have been through as many dental consults as I have (six periodontal, four prosthodontic and two orthodontic) and several months of procedures with an oral surgeon, you can get pretty tired of going to dentists’ offices, especially when the actual dental reconstruction work hasn’t started yet.  It begins to feel endless before you even begin.  Then the blessing comes.

I had to have my broken bicuspid bonded in order to be able to have a brace put on it.  The entire front was missing. I am going to be in braces for over a year. So my prostho didn’t want to put a temporary crown on it for that long.  When he said he was going to bond it, I figured it would like a patch, similar to the blob of bonding material my oral surgeon put behind another tooth to save it.

So, you can imagine my surprise when he molded it to look like an actual tooth…  not just a tooth either, MY TOOTH.  I could barely talk when his assistant put the before and after photo up on the monitor. It looked like it had never been broken… like nothing at all had happened to it.  It looked perfect!

I know it’s just one tooth and a temporary solution at that.  I still have a looooooong way to go in this dental reconstruction but it’s hard to express how it good it felt to have that first little step be so beautiful!  I felt a little bit more like myself than I have in a long time.  Even with my appliance in, I felt uncomfortable smiling wide because I knew my broken tooth would still show.  Thursday night, I wore the widest, brightest (had a cleaning too) smile that I have had in almost six months when I showed his work to my family.

I knew the prosthodontist I had chosen was an artist.  …I can always spot one a mile away.  I wasn’t worried about whether he could do the work but it is awfully nice to see proof that I was right in my own mouth!

What was your big moment of gratitude this week?

Love and blessings to all.

Cynthia

 

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justdragonfly

Brussel Sprouts: A Former Hater finds…Like

I have always despised brussel sprouts.  As a vegetarian, I generally like all vegetables but not brussel sprouts.  I thought they were mean, nasty, little, bitter cabbages and I avoided them like the plague until today.

I’ve been doing research on nutrition that will support me having the best possible outcome from the dental reconstruction I will begin shortly. (I’ll get more into this in a future post.)  So, you can imagine my inner conflict when I discovered that brussel sprouts, those angry little wet balls of green slimy leaves, are loaded with vitamin K, essential to strong bones, and calcium… among many other health benefits.  Dammit!  Now, I was going to have to give those little suckers another try.

So, today with an open heart and mind, I opened a bag of fresh (well, you know, Trader Joe’s fresh) of brussel sprouts.  I dutifully cut off what remained of their little tails and split them in half.  (I learned it was good to split them in half because sometimes little creatures can be found amongst the leaves…ewwwl!)  Then I put them in a bowl full of water with three tablespoons of vinegar for ten minutes to clean them.  I rinsed them off and was ready to roast.

I figured, since I tend to like roasted veggies that, roasting might increase the odds I actually would find them edible.  I added a few tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.  Then I put the little green guys in the oven for about 25 minutes at 350 degrees.

When I checked on them, I was pleased to find them just starting to turn brown and tender but not slimy.  I cautiously put one in my mouth and began chewing.  While, I would say they definitely were mildly astringent but not at all bitter.  They were quite pleasant.  I couldn’t believe it.  I was actually enjoying brussel sprouts!

So, to any of you veggie avoiders out there (you know who you are!) you may want to give your detested dish another try.  I think prep is key when it comes to certain vegetables.  So, if you don’t like it the way your grandma made it; find a new recipe; mix it up; invent your own!  It might improve your health and make your world a little more interesting.

Love and blessings to all.

Cynthia

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justdragonfly

Letting Go: Sorting Through My STUFF

I just watched the last piece of my Nana’s cherry wood set get hauled away.  I dragged that set with me from home to home for the last fourteen years and today, I let it go to an appreciative young man who was probably furnishing his first apartment.

I moved out of my parents’ house over 19 years ago.  Hurricane Sandy brought me back here temporarily.  My dental reconstruction is keeping me here a while longer.  Deciding it was better to have funds available to pay my various dentists than for storage fees, I cleared out my POD this weekend.

I am a fiercely independent person.  I do not enjoy asking for help.  However, this situation has required that I learn how to accept it and I am definitely grateful for the help that has been extended to me by friends and family.  I’d be lying if I said I was excited about the idea of sorting through all my crap and deciding what stays and what goes.  It’s a perfect beach weekend and that is where I would rather be.

Rather than dwell on the loss of my independence (and a good beach weekend) though; I’ve decided to view this as an opportunity to let go of what I don’t need and welcome a fresh start.  While I was looking through one box, I found a baseball card album filled with Steve Sax cards.  My boyfriend in college gave it to me as a birthday present one year.  I had remarked that Steve Sax had a cute tush and he thought it would be funny to give me all his cards.  It was funny but not funny enough to keep toting around decades after we broke up; especially when I never really wanted it in the first place.

The baseball card album was one of his better gifts too.  One year he gave me a toolbox filled with tools.  I didn’t want that either.  The nicest things one of my friends at the time said about it was “tell him next year, you want a jewelry box and to fill that up too.”  The rising chorus from my friends was “dump him” and eventually I did.  So, why do I still have this little album all these years later?  Who the fuck knows… I am a sentimental person but I think this is a good time to reevaluate what I want to keep in my life and what NEEDS to go.

I also have this sense that letting go of unnecessary stuff will make room for new and better things, opportunities and experiences in my life.  I think I will do a mental overhaul while I am at it and let go of accumulated fears, pains, frustrations and insecurities… I’m sure I have a book on that in one of these damn boxes…

What do you need to let go of?  Have you had a positive experience after letting go of items you no longer needed?  I would love to hear from you!

Love and blessings to all,

Cynthia

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