Other delightful surgery

January 19, 2010

So apart from being infertile, I also have problematic teeth. You may recall my visions after a recent dental appointment of being an an old, barren, toothless woman, batting around my empty house, dentures rattling, kicking up dustballs.


After several other diagnostic appointments since then, I am finally addressing the most problematic of the teeth tomorrow morning, when I will have the first of three procedures to extract and replace this tooth.

Basically, I clenched my jaw so much while sleeping that I cracked my bottom molar.  Lovely, yes. I did not realize this problem and ignored it for, oh, a year or so. (too busy dealing with infertility appointments to go to the dentist!) So now the tooth is irreparably harmed.  I will have it pulled out tomorrow and get a bone graft to replace the damaged jaw bone.

In a few months, they will put a tiny titanium rod in the newly restored jaw bone. My husband and I will be titanium rod buddies — he got a large one in his leg last year when he broke his femur.

Then about six months after the lil’ rod goes in, they will put a new toothlike thing on top, so that I can happily chew for the rest of my days.

Insurance doesn’t really pay for any of it. It’s awesome.

I am astounded by how much I may pay in the next year to restore this little tooth.  I am considering chickening out and just going toothless, but my dentist insists that such a reckless decision would endanger my other teeth. And I would miss the chewing.

So, on the downside: I have to have a surgery tomorrow that I do not want. It will hurt. I will have a gaping hole in my mouth. I might not be able to eat crunchy foods for a long time. I feel like a moral failure for having a messed up tooth — like I did not listen to the brushing and flossing campaigns enough.

I’ll get nitrous oxide, a.k.a. laughing gas, during the surgery. (I deemed full sedation too expensive.) Apparently, under nitrous oxide, I will be aware of what is going on, but I just won’t care. Sounds nice, eh? Maybe I can convince them to give me a take-home barrel for rough times at work.

The upside: As much as I am dreading this whole thing, I have to remember that I am so lucky to live in a country where people can put this much effort into restoring one little tooth. I mean, seriously! It’s almost embarassing, compared to the health care in other parts of the world. Not to mention  Haiti — who am I to complain about one little tooth? And I am very grateful to have the personal resources that I can fix it, even if it hurts my wallet.

But alas, I can’t help but to mourn a little. Farewell, tooth. It’s been a good 32.5 years. I will miss you.



  1. Good luck with the dental surgery! It is amazing what dentists can do these days!

  2. Oh I’m so sorry! I will be praying for you and offering up whatever I can. I really hope and pray that it is as painless as possible. I really, really hope you can catch a break soon. No more surgeries!

  3. Oh my…sounds like a very in-depth process for your tooth. I will pray that the surgery goes well and that recovery goes well too! God Bless!

  4. You poor thing! What a pain – in more ways than one. 😦
    I laughed out loud at the image of you taking a hit of laughing gas at work. Now that would be awesome.

  5. I’m so sorry….Gosh, it’s such a pain. 🙂 We can be rod sisters too! 🙂 I have a used car in my mouth as well, I fully understand the pain of the cost….

    Then also the pain of having it done. IT BLOWS!

  6. Sorry about the tooth surgery. I hope it’s as painless as possible.

  7. Wow. I don’t have a tooth story quite that dramatic (no titanium is involved), but I know when I finally go back to the dentist (after aaaaages), they’re going to want to take away a tooth I want to keep. And while that can’t be as awful as an HSG (even if it costs way more), I do not have the courage. I think IF and treatment takes every last bit I have. So, I salute you. Best of luck! Have lots of hummus and ice cream!

  8. Everytime something goes wrong with my teeth..I just remember to appreciate the good days…teeth are important…like my mother always told me “Diamonds”..hard to replace them. That is good that you are looking at the positives..lots of people in other countries never get to see a dentist..so they have horrible teeth.

    Besides that…you’ll be able to do your crunching on the other side of the mouth. I hope the surgery goes well!!!

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