Modern Dentistry

th (1)A while back over the course of a couple of years, I have had 5 teeth replaced to fill the gaps from previous extractions dating back many, many years. I had lived with the gaps in my teeth for so long that I thought it was normal, that is until one day, my Dentist at the time, Dr Weber, who incidentally had been my dentist for over 25 years, suggested that I get the teeth replaced. So we did continuing on into his retirement and me becoming a member of the new owner of his practice, Dr Francys Day who actually replaced the last two teeth.

There was even a third doctor involved in Dr Ferguson who did the drilling and setting of the implants which was followed up by first  Dr Weber and then Dr Day actually putting in the new teeth.

Long story short, on a routine cleaning and inspection the Oral Hygienist noticed a crack in the No 3 molar very close to the gum line which was confirmed by Dr Day. We discussed the situation and the fear was that if the tooth became abscessed or infected in any way, it would have an impact on the metal stud drilled into the jaw that held the previously replaced teeth. So I made arrangements to get the cracked tooth pulled and which would be followed by the replacement route to fill the gap.

Dr Day made arrangements with Dr Ferguson and a date was set somewhere in June which would give me plenty of time to get adjusted to the idea of having yet another tooth pulled. My previous memories go back several years and dentistry has come a long way since then. Even so, I viewed the upcoming surgery with some trepidation. Who wants to go to the dentist for gosh sake. One of the Dentists that I had the misfortune of going to  in England probably 60 or more years ago was very aptly named Dr Butcher. It was a very fitting name at that time for someone in the dentistry profession.

I received a call from Dr Ferguson’s office asking if I would like to come in a couple of weeks early as they had a cancellation and without giving myself time to think too much about it, as I had visions of pain and needles and the crunch when the tooth is pulled, I agreed. So, this morning, I had to join the Austin traffic because my appointment was for 9:30 am which meant travelling on the dreaded Loop 1 in its unfinished construction condition fighting along with those poor slobs that have to make this trip twice, every day.

Dr Ferguson was his usual cheery self as we chatted prior to his getting started. His nurse took and then commented on my blood pressure which was where it should be. I bemoaned the fact that I had a sore knee from hiking a couple of days ago and we started a whole new conversation on the merits of staying fit and healthy.

Finally, he got to work starting of course with the needles. I hate needles but in truth, Dr Ferguson is such an expert that I hardly felt a thing. I was expecting to have to sit and wait for 15 minutes as I had to years ago in order for the the  stuff to work but he started in immediately. He had explained prior to the surgery that the tooth had a double root and he would have to break it to get everything out. I didn’t really want to know those sort of details as I envisioned pain with every move on his part. He wiggled the tooth to loosen it and explained what and why he was doing it, he sawed the tooth with his drill and then warned me before he broke it off as it was a pretty loud “crack”. He fiddled around taking out the last of the root and then announced that the tooth was out.

Finally, he worked around doing something to the gum and then sewed everything up and he was all through. I’ll bet he didn’t take 20 minutes to do the whole thing and it was pain and discomfort free. Some of that was due to my sore knee which I couldn’t seem to get into a comfortable position and the ache it was giving me was far worse than anything the Dentist was doing to me.

This is just the first part of the procedure. I still have to go back for a follow up in two weeks and then back again in two more weeks after that to get the stitches removed. Then we will assess the replacement tooth and in close cooperation with Dr Day, will work on that replacement in 6 months time. Dr Ferguson is a firm believer in making sure that the gums have grown back in so that he will not run into any problems when he drills and installs the posts that will hold in the replacement tooth.

All in all, a not too uncomfortable morning and with the help of a couple of Tylenol, I will surely get through the evening and the night. Thank goodness for modern medicine and techniques which almost put to rest my fears of going to the Dentist.