When Zjabs was young (I'm guessing twelve years old?), he had an accident.
He was riding his bike. He had a jawbreaker candy in his mouth. Apparently, one of the other kids he was riding with hit the back tire of Zjabs' bike- all Zjabs knows is he went over the handlebars and broke off parts of two teeth (His lawsuit against Jawbreaker for being ineffective as it broke teeth, NOT jaws went nowhere).
For whatever reason, Zjabs' parents didn't worry a lot about dental care- Zjabs had horrible teeth growing up as they did a poor job putting caps on, and the teeth looked horrible- a gap etc. And they never invested the money to fix them.
Once Zjabs got a job, he began to get work done.
And it's not cheap (as a lot of it isn't covered by insurance). Zjabs had five root canals (four different teeth in the front and apparently they missed some the first time around on one tooth as they went in for a second time). It got to the point that Zjabs felt like he could do his own root canals.
They then pulled the front two teeth and gave him a bridge.
Apparently as it was a multiple tooth bridge, it then cracked one of the teeth it was attached to (over time).
So he started having that looked at- to be told that he had a very open bite- as the teeth were catching on his wisdom teeth.
They also had removed the bridge and Zjabs had a flipper (a temporary tooth plate)
So he ended up having all four wisdom teeth pulled one morning (great story, Zjabs has an allergy to Alleve. He was with his wife going to Wal-Mart for prescriptions after the surgery. He is missing four teeth in the front as he isn't wearing the flipper. He has bloody gauze in his mouth. He can't really talk. And the pharmacist asked 'any allergies' and my wife said 'no' thinking it was her prescription. So I start muttering like Frankenstein (afraid to open my mouth lest the bloody gauze come out) 'yeah yeah' until she realized I did have an allergy. We laugh to this day how she tried to kill me.)
After that healed up, the next step (which we are currently in the midst of) is to get implants (which has no coverage for insurance and is not cheap).
So a few weeks back, Zjabs went for the first treatment.
Zjabs is not a dentist so this isn't exactly what happened but this is my perception- they put the topical cream on the gums to numb them. Then I got four shots of novocaine.
Once that took effect, the dentist put some kind of guide in my mouth and went to work.
Basically they drilled into the bone (oh, I forgot to tell you, early in the process- six months or so ago, they had to do a procedure where they opened the tissue of my gums and put some kind of powder inside that would graft to the bone and simulate bone graft- so I was a bloody mess that day as well).
I guess they first did a little punch to set up a guide hole and then they drilled. Once the holes were there, they screwed in the anchors and then used a ratchet to do final tightening.
Now I was numb and there was no real pain (other than the jostling of the jaw as they tightened things).
But it was very very disconcerting as you realize you're part of a construction project, and all this drilling and ratcheting is going on INSIDE YOUR MOUTH.
The nice thing about it all though is that with all of this work going on, not once did Zjabs feel any real pain after the fact. They gave him various pain medications to use, and Zjabs never used them as there was no pain.
I'm sure the finished product will be worth it, but what a journey.
-Zjabs (Rochester's Official Columnist)
© 2017 Zjabs - 3/20/17