Pulling Teeth

One day four and some years ago, when I was going through emotional turbulence of the highest altitude, a tooth broke. It was December and I was shopping when I felt something crumble in my mouth.

I couldn’t figure out what it was; my consciousness and subconscious were both drowning in muck. Reality was a fog. Pain was the only thing crystal clear to me.

At that moment I was listlessly going through a rack of dresses. Pounds were melting off me and I needed a new wardrobe. I continued shuffling through hideous-looking garments till rock-hard fragments made their presence known to my frontal lobe.

I couldn’t believe it. Pieces of a tooth! I joked to a friend that I was so angry my teeth were self-destructing.

It was tooth #13, in dental parlance. It had broken as if it had been sliced in half lengthwise, the outside half still alive and well. My dentist gave me a temporary crown. Well, half of one. She said I had to do something permanent about it. Sure.

Last month that remaining half said goodbye and shortly thereafter so did the temporary half-crown. Thing is, the tooth had broken off, not fallen out. The root remained.

Lately, my rheumatologist has been on my case to start Fosamax. This tooth was a handy excuse not to start a med I truly hate. The dentist won’t touch me I said. And it was true.

Was true.

Because now my excuse is gone.

I was at risk for infection, I was told. After diddling around with the idea of an implant, one my dentist, a he now, he of bright, compassionate blue eyes, wanted me to seriously entertain. I did. Long enough to call the periodontist.

We start at $1,600 and go up to $2,500, she said. I already knew insurance wouldn’t cover a penny of it, but what really made my eyes bug out was the healing time. Four to six months, she said.


All that plus a metal screw drilled into my jaw?

I went to see Blue Eyes yesterday and he extracted what was left of #13. It took him approximately two minutes. I barely got the chance to enjoy the reggae station they had playing for me.

Unfortunately, I had to go back to him five hours later. It kept oozing, blood-tinged. Where I thought it was draining too much, he said it was “too dry.” He expected more blood to fill, occupy and seal the cavity. So he pulled out his needles again and sutured the site.

Strangely, I feel no pain. Just tenderness.

But then, tenderness is what was offered to me.

Free of charge.

8 thoughts on “Pulling Teeth

  1. carlascorner

    Ah, Irma. I hate that for you. I just recently lost a tooth (a molar on the other side from yours). I’m going the implant route to replace it, and you’re right, it’s going to take forever. Three to four months for the extraction site to fully heal, then another three to four to make sure the implant screw heals, then finally the “crown”. Fingers crossed this is a one-time occurrence for both of us! Sending “tender” thoughts your way.

    1. Irma

      Thank you, Carla. I pretty much decided to go with a bridge after all this is said and done. My dentist is so cute and caring. I got lucky. It makes the whole thing easier. Hope all goes well for you and yes, I hope it’s the one and only time!

  2. J.G. Chayko

    I had a tooth partially break – it’s such a shocking and horrible feeling. It was so hard to grasp seeing as I’m such a fanatic about taking care of my teeth. I ended with a crown that put a nice healthy dent into my pocketbook. I sure hope the procedure goes smoothly for you. My teeth are hurting in silent empathy. Hugs.

    1. Irma Post author

      Isn’t it a shock? Especially on a tooth that had no problems beforehand. I talked to my P. A. He said that dry mouth syndrome, along with dry eyes compliments of RA, can cause the teeth to decay faster. Thankfully I don’t have dry mouth problems, but all the more reason to be vigilant with dental care. Thanks, J. Take care.

  3. Fran Cherry

    Sounds horrendous. I really hope it heals sooner than 4-6 months. Will you have to wait that long before taking Fosamax? I avoided starting Actonel for osteoporosis because I hadn’t been to the dentist too but after seeing him, I’ve now been on it for several weeks (and it wasn’t as bad as I’d feared). All the best.

    1. Irma Post author

      Hi, Fran. I’m doing well, healing Ok, I think. I see my dentist tomorrow. Haven’t started Fosamax, even though it’s inevitable that I do so and soon. Take care.

  4. Wren

    Wow, Irma! I’m so sorry you’ve had to go through all of that–and more, very expensive unpleasantness to come. I hope it all goes easily and that you’ll heal quickly.

    1. Irma Post author

      Hi, Wren. Everything looks good so far. No added pain to my repertoire! And that’s what I’m most thankful for. Hope all is well with you.


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