little shop of horrors

4 extra teeth?!

“Are you sure this is your x-ray? How old are you again?” “Wow, I’ve never seen anything quite like this.” “Well, would you look at that tooth!” These are all direct quotes from dentists that I have seen over the years.

Let me set the scene for you. At the age of 24 I had to have my wisdom teeth removed, so I went to see an oral surgeon. He took the requisite x-rays and discovered that in addition to my wisdom teeth, I also had 4 extra teeth that were still impacted in my lower jaw. I had no idea they were there. They weren’t bothering me. When he told me the process of what would take place to remove them and all the other work he wanted to do, I saw dollar signs flash before my eyes and then I politely declined. I figured I would take care of it later if it ever became an issue.

Fast-forward a bunch of years later and they started to become an issue. Apparently, there were five extra teeth, one had erupted and fused to another tooth, kind of resembling a piece of cauliflower. The other four remained below gum level. It wasn’t a major issue, but through a series of visits with a periodontist, my regular dentist, and an orthodontist, it became clear that they would need to finally be taken care of if I wanted to keep my own teeth for as long as humanly possible.

April of this year was when the process began. First was the surgery to remove the teeth. The only memory I have of that was the laughing gas before general anaesthesia and then the soft food diet and pain meds for the next two weeks. The oral surgeon was of course fascinated by the entire situation, and scheduled an extra post op visit for a month later just to satisfy his own curiosity.

Two weeks after the surgery came the braces. I never had braces as a kid, so I had no frame of reference as to what to expect. Because of alignment issues I had to get regular braces and couldn’t opt for the Invisalign.

Looking back on it, I can honestly say, had they told me what I was in for, I probably would have thought twice, maybe three times, before committing to this process. For another two weeks after the braces were put on, I was still on a soft’ish food diet. Not to mention the restrictions on what I could no longer eat. Did I mention that I really like bread? A good crusty bread, a nice piece of cheese, a good bagel, a nicely toasted panini, well you get the idea. These were all foods that I could no longer eat.

Now my trainer would tell you that cutting carbs, especially bread, is a good way to lose weight. I can say, that is true. Five months in now I have dropped 21 pounds. I also attribute part of that to eating smaller meals, because with the braces I have to cut everything into toddler-size pieces and it takes me twice as long to eat, so I tend to get full faster. But damn, I still miss bread. I’m pretty sure that will be the first thing I eat when the braces finally come off.

So here we are, five months into the process, a second surgery had to take place. It would seem that despite their best efforts, the oral surgeon missed a piece of tooth. Cue laughing gas and general anaesthesia again, followed by yet another soft food diet. Let me tell you, after a week of smoothies, soup, and yogurt, you really want something you can sink your teeth into. Oh yeah, still can’t do that yet, though. But it has been mutually agreed upon by both the surgeon and myself that we never want to see each other again and we parted on good terms.

And that tooth that looks like a piece of cauliflower? Well, that’s the next  item that is going to be addressed. An endodontist has now been introduced into the mix of dental practitioners that have a very close relationship with my mouth. I am waiting to hear back from him if the tooth is viable and can be reshaped and crowned to look like a normal tooth again, or if it will need to be extracted and have an implant instead.

So here I am today, I still have 19 more months to go based on the original estimate given by the orthodontist. I’m hoping that since I’m such a dental anomaly that maybe it will go faster, but I won’t hold my breath. And if you see someone cutting up a burger into toddler-sized bites with no toddler in sight, that’s probably me, because now I really want a burger. 🙂