I turned thirty-nine yesterday. I don’t feel thirty-nine, but according to my birth certificate, I am. Thought you oughtta know. It started much like every other day… wake up, get on line, have something to drink or eat, get to work… I did a few extras. For one thing, I needed to pack for our trip out of town last night, so I started cleaning out our bedroom closet a bit while I worked. That was kind of important to me since I’ve been getting my room in shape again. About the time I had all of our clothes laid out and had planned to make a run to the store for the kids, I got a call.
“Mrs. Havig, can you come in today at 4:00 or 4:30. The guy from the lab wants to make sure that your bite mold is right.”
What am I going to say, no? I agreed, called Kevin, and stepped up the process. I had things to do. First on the list was getting those clothes in a duffel bag (which I could not find.) Then I wanted a shower so I could go shopping. My body on the other hand, decided it had other ideas which kept me house bound if you know what I mean. Sigh. I never did get to the store. By the time Braelyn had Kevin home from work, I was packed and ready to go… except for a bit of curl to my hair. Don’t want to freak them out, and I did have a nice Birthday dinner planned!
We hop in the car and toodle on down to Victorville. We arrived at three. So, I signed in, gave them my cell phone number, and told them to call me if they needed me before 4:30. Off we went to Big Lots where I found some cool beans things for paper crafting and a chair that Braelyn needs for her photography business. I bought the paper stuff… I’m still thinkin’ on the chair. About 95% sure I’ll get it if it’s still there when I go back. While we waited in line, I got a call from the office. “We’re ready for you.”
Off we went. Unlike most dental places, they really do get you in a room really quickly and usually start working on you in a reasonable amount of time. I find that unique to my dental experiences. I told her about the piece of bone I could feel and she assured me it was normal and if the oral surgeon thought it was too long, he’d file it down a bit. That’s what I assumed, but you never know. They fit the pieces in my mouth, checked the bite, decided it was perfect, but the assistant didn’t like how loose it was on the bottom left where we’d already extracted broken teeth. She was concerned that the gum had already shrunk so much that the plate would be too loose for starting. The dentist listened to her, felt around, checked it out, and agreed. They decided to take a new mold.
The last time they did the mold of my mouth, I had no trouble. But with fewer teeth to stop the stuff from squishing way back into my soft palate (and making mold of my tonsils too she said), this time I gagged a couple of times. I felt so claustrophobic. It was short-lived, however, so after maybe ten minutes, we were out of there. The nice thing about going in again was having the nurse tell me I could have a small cup of water around 4-5 am. I was determined to do it so my blood volume would be as high as I could get it. I have tiny veins deep beneath the surface. It’s hard to “find a vein.”
We left there and went straight to the hotel. That was fun. There were two shows on about girls and their “sweet sixteen” parties that we just howled over. The first girl didn’t seem to have much fun at her party. We all knew it was “all about her” including a brand new Audi, but she just didn’t seem happy or having fun. I don’t know if that was camera editing of if it’s the sign of a spoiled life. The second girl was also self-centered and a bit of a brat, but she was at least appreciative and she clearly had fun. I have no idea what the second mom paid for their party bt the first mom spent $180,000 to turn sixteen. Ouch. That’s triple what I paid for my house!
Finally, Kevin and I decided to go to dinner. I chose Outback because I knew Kevin wouldmore easily find something he wanted there, and I could get their tenderloin. I wanted BEEF in my system since I knew I wouldn’t be eating much for a few days. I had their tenderloin and stuffed shrimp and sweet potato. Mmm it was good. Very. Good. Mmmm… Afterwards, we strolled through the VictorValley Mall and bought candy at the Sweet Shoppe, a Hallmark Keepsake Ornament for me (cause I collect the bird series and I wanted it), and though we looked for a book I needed at Barnes & Noble, I didn’t get it. Bath & Body Works had this amazing perfume… something citrus… I almost bought it. It smelled so fresh and clean. I just loved that stuff. I kind of– no way, I really regret that now. If I feel up to it, when we go back on Tuesday, I might just get it. Then again, if I know me, I’ll just forget. Oh well.
After dinner, we went back to the hotel. Kevin, still nursing the same headache he’d had all day, went for a sit in the hot tub while I watched Clean House. Oh that show is startling! I also guzzled. G.U.Z.Z.L.E.D. I wanted all the fluids I could get in me before 1:30 a.m. hit. Turns out, I could have kept going until 3:30 a.m. but that story is coming.
The beds were amazingly comfortable, but neither of us slept very well. We finally decided it had to do with our being accustomed to a fan that sounds like an airplane engine. Our BRILLIANT white noise was gone. At five, Kevin woke me up to let me get my last dribbles of water. Alas, I could have had a little more than I did. Oh well. I got up around eight, puttered around getting dressed, put on my tennis shoes that I haven’t worn in 2 years, posted a facebook, HK, and WS prayer request, and off we went.
When we arrived, we found that they wouldn’t let Kevin leave to fill prescriptions. Next time, we’re going to demand them an hour before the proceedure is supposed to start so that we’re not riding around for half an hour waiting for them to be filled. We were early. My appointment was 9:30. We got there just after 9:00. No biggie. The gal told us that the lab said they’d arrive somewhere around 9:15 with my teeth.
9:15- No teeth. Staff apologetic.
9:30- No teeth. Staff very apologetic.
10:00- No teeth. Staff very apologetic and getting a little impatient.
10:30- No teeth. Staff extremely apologetic and getting very impatient.
11:00- No teeth. Staff is no longer apologizing… they know it just magnifies the wait by now. They are visibly agitated.
11:30- (or somewhere close) Staff calls me back.
Now here is what is interesting. They took my bloodpressure. It was 140/85!!! Mine is always around 110/60 or 110/70. That was so bizarre because I didn’t feel nervous at all, wasn’t even extremely excited. Actually, I was looking forward to laying back and resting. I was exhausted. The second one was lower making me think that maybe the first one registered while she was doing the IV stick. The gal was good. That’s all I’m sayin’. Good. Gal was great!
Then they gave me nitrous oxide. I didn’t quite understand that, but what the hey. I mean, General Anesthesia is on the way, so why the oxide? At some point, they must have given me novocaine too because I woke up to a 100% numb mouth. The last thing I remember before I slipped into oblivion was one gal asking the other, “What happened?” Ummmmmmmmm WHAT? Still don’t know what that was. I’ll have to ask.
I woke up with new teeth in my mouth, in a wheelchair, heading out the door. I’m sure they did other things to wake me up, but I don’t remember them. They said I fought the proceedure. Whatever. I don’t remember it. They said the dentures fit beautifully. I can feel that they fit well, but I do have questions. Such as
- Why is my mouth, which has always had varying degrees of an underbite (from mild to severe depending on how many teeth I did or didn’t have), suddenly have an overbite?
- Did I damage something when I changed the first gauze packs and discovered that my lower plate was sitting sideways on my gums? *eek!*
- Why did my biggest blast of pain come in the interim between full numbness from the novocaine and the novocaine being worn off completely. When I was fully numb, just soreness, no real pain. When it was wearing off but not gone, PAIN. Severe, I want to cry, pain. Once the novocaine was worn off, I was still sore, but the PAIN was gone. I think it’s weird and I want to know why.
Do I like my new teeth? Sure. They’re attractive enough, they’re not broken, rotted, yellowed, or likely to fall apart if I bite something too hard (although my gums might right now!) How do I feel about the process? I’m very grateful. I can’t imagine living in a time when this wasn’t possible. In the middle ages, I would have died by now from infection and who knows what. Do I have any doubts or regrets?
I don’t know if it’s the gauze packs (don’t think so because they’re gone now and I still see it), the swollen cheeks, neck, and jawline, the adjustment period, or what, but I don’t look like me. I’m not exactly a beautiful woman and I really am not exceptionally vain, but I look at myself in the mirror and I think, “Well, she does look a little related, but she doesn’t look like ME. (It’s not the actual teeth showing. This is with my mouth closed. Open just makes it that much more pronounced. And, I’ll be honest, I think aside from the obviousness that broken and decaying teeth are very unattractive, I looked better the other way. This gives me a very different face shape that I’m praying I don’t have to get used to.
The teeth are worth it. Regardless of whether or not I like how my face looks six months from now, I’ll LOVE my new teeth.
I’d just love to thank the Lord and my amazingly supportive husband for the gift of new teeth and I’ll work at being thankful for what may turn out to be a facelift as well. I took before pictures on the cell phone. Not sure how to get them off but when I do, I’ll post before and after.
Here are two afters… in all their unattractive glory. If I look whipped, miserable, and in need of a shower… it’s because I am. All three.