I’ve always had awesome teeth growing up. The occlusal surface of my molars is such that I’ve had two fillings, but they were both “your teeth are wrinkly, and we’re doing this to make the surface less dynamic, which will prevent cavities in these teeth later on,” so I’ve never actually had a cavity. My teeth are just “special.”
When you develop an autoimmune disorder, things you used to take for granted kind of go to the dogs. I developed Sjogren’s with my Lyme, meaning the entire enzyme makeup of my mouth is different, and the dry environment is pretty much perfect for bacteria and yes, yeast, to become prolific and damaging. My enamel isn’t as strong as it should be, either, and I’ve developed a tooth sensitivity both from this and my bruxism (tooth-grinding). The last time I went to the dentist, a little over a year ago, it was said that my lower incisors looked really weird (um, thanks?) because the dentin was visible in the center of the enamel at the top of each tooth, as though the tip was just shaved down. Yep, that’s what happens when you’re anxiety-ridden, folks, even if you have an overbite like mine (my teeth technically fit together juuuuust fine, but my upper incisors are so much larger than the rest of my teeth that they kind of just took over my mouth, and my lower incisors actually hit the center of my upper incisors when my mouth is closed – it’s hard to explain unless you see them, but you can’t tell unless I actually show you, or you’re a dentist).
ANYWAY, last year I also got X-rays, and they showed three spots – all on the left side – that should have an eye kept on them. Until literally three minutes ago, I knew where the X-rays were, but apparently I was incorrect, but whatever, it’s not like the spots aren’t making themselves known, now: my #18 and #19 molars (look! a diagram!) are hurting like little bitches when I chew gum on that side of my mouth, and I’m not sure if it’s my imagination, but I’m fairly certain I can see a cavity, at least in #19. #18 might just be having “sympathy pain” – that’s happened before (have you ever bruised a tooth? I didn’t know it was possible, but I have, and three teeth in a row were hurting awfully when I was in middle school, all thanks to a giant jawbreaker that I had no patience with, because I’m a ginger, and we have no time for something as trivial as consuming candy properly), but #18 is DEFINITELY having issues.
I have a filling in my #15 molar…and probably in my #2 molar, as well (I remember having issues with them numbing that side of my face, giving up, and just doing the filling with me feeling pretty much all of it, because they maxed out the novocaine). My #1, #16, #17, and #32 teeth are gone, having been removed when I was 15 years old (wisdom teeth…and I woke up during the surgery, because another ginger trait is apparently your brain not caring about anesthesia and just processing it like Nyquil, though I have to say, the ceiling was moving, and it was pretty awesome scaring the crap out of my surgeon by saying “Hi!” to him before the speculum was placed…ahahah!), but they still count the teeth as though you have all of them, so whatever.
ANYWAY, again, because holy crap, I’m off-topic, I’ve got a dental appointment Wednesday morning at a dental school close to my house to get more X-rays and to get an exam to verify whether or not I’m correct in my assumption. For $25, an exam and X-rays are awesome. However (another tangent!), my bruxism has caused the muscles around my lower jaw, in particular, to be ridiculously large, so the little piece of plastic they use to hold the film in place while they take the images cuts into my gums, so that’ll be fun.
After I get those, if it’s decided I need cavities filled, I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to get into the UT clinic here in town (I don’t care that a dental student will be doing the filling, as long as it’s done, and I don’t have to pay $250 for it, which is approximately the price quoted to me by my childhood dentist when I called this afternoon…based on my assumption that I have two surfaces that may need work), but they have something like a 2-month turnaround, and I REALLY don’t want this to go into root-canal territory.
I enjoy chewing gun, it helps with the Sjogren’s by helping with saliva production, and without it the past day, I’ve been noticeably more irritable, and I actually scrubbed my shower with what essentially amounts to a toothbrush earlier because I got started cleaning the tub to take a bath, and the bits of grout mold elsewhere just suddenly got on my nerves. Without my gum, my OCD goes into overdrive. I mean, my shower is mostly clean (I didn’t move the shampoo caddy in the corner, but everywhere else is fine), but my arm feels like it’s going to fall off.
THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN MY ROUTINE IS INTERRUPTED.
I’m hopeful that the dental school appointment is routine, that I can get an appointment at the school (or at least that my dentist can cut me a break with pricing so that I don’t have to freak out over costs…I’ve literally only been to his office and the school I’m going to again on Wednesday), and that if I have cavities, they’re easy to deal with, because OUCH.
In conclusion, here’s a photo of me smiling with these horrible teeth (from Boomershoot 2009, because screw recent photos…and I’m kidding, I don’t hate my teeth). I’ve never had braces. Part of me feels like I should get them just from some superstition.