So I took an unplanned visit to the dentist this morning.
I had an oral surgery 5 days ago. I have had a tooth missing for over a year now, thankfully it is not a visible one, but the jaw is thinning out where it goes, and my bite is off because it is missing. With a change in dental insurance to cover it, I decided to get it fixed.
The surgeon put in a bone graft to build up the thinning part of my jaw and embedded a titanium post where I will be getting a tooth implanted in a few months. It went well with no complications. I took the following day off work and watched zombie movies. (Because the bone graft came from cadaver bone it seemed like the thing to do.)
Then yesterday I noticed that there was a big loose piece in my mouth where they operation was. I feared the worst – that the bone graft had come loose and the titanium post fell out. This was not the case.
The stitches holding the skin flap that covers where they worked had come out and the skin “door” was completely open. It was just flopping across my jaw. It was not painful, but it was very annoying, and I was worried that it would get infected.
Melody called the dentist and the surgeon. She described what she saw and what I was feeling. They agreed I should have it looked at.
The dentist was able to fit me in between other patients first thing in the morning on my way to work. When he looked at it, he saw that he needed to re-stitch it. The old stitches had already disolved and it hadn’t held, and so he decided it needed silk stitches. They won’t disolve and will have to be cut out next week.
He told me he would need to numb me up. I asked him if the shot was necessary, and he said “Well, I guess it would be two pokes instead of one without the anesthetic. I think we can do it without.”
“I am willing.” I said.
So they cleaned it out really well, and put in a stitch. It barely hurt at all. Being the optimist that I am, when all the fingers were out of my mouth and I could talk, I asked him if that meant the flesh was dead. He reassured me that there were not a lot of nerves where he was working and the flesh was alive and well.
Then he started on the second stitch. It was in the gums on the tongue side of the jaw, so there is no real flesh there – basically just mucosa. The stitch tore out almost as soon as he got it in. He tried several more times but the stitches wouldn’t hold.
By this time, the patient in the next chair needed him. He took a break from me and went to that patient for 10-15 minutes and then when he came back he was able to get a stitch in that held.
It ended up being a lot more than 2 pokes. But surprisingly it never was very painful. I am glad I didn’t get the numbing shot.
The dental assistant was new. She complimented me on holding still for the stitching.
I was impressed with Dr Bonnie’s patience with her and with my situation. Also with his ability and willingness to do the stitches without anesthesia. (He is not the oral surgeon who originally did the work and he doesn’t love to do stitches.)
All in all it was a good experience and I am at work only a little late and with my mouth feeling like it is held together again.