Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Another dentist = Another diagnosis

I was pretty freaked out going to see the endodonist this afternoon. Luckily I didn't have to wait very long in the waiting room. This very nice lady (a dental assistant or hygenist? not sure since she never told me) ushered me into a patient bay with a chair. I took a seat and she donned gloves, a face shield, and put a bib on me. As she prepared to take yet more x-rays of the tooth in question, I looked around and saw a syringe already loaded up with some clear liquid.

Oh Lord. Everyone had assured me that this would not involve needles or pain in any way. If there was to be no pain, why the syringe filled with drugs? Did they mean there would be no pain AFTER they jabbed me with the needle? I tried to think of what I was going to do if she came at me with that thing. I didn't want to look like a crazy patient, but as far as I knew I wasn't going to be getting shot up with anything.

She took the x-rays and it seemed like only minutes went by before she and the doc were back. He took a good look at my x-rays and then quizzed me about the tooth. Did it hurt? Was it sensitive to chewing or cold? Did it have a filling, crown, root canal, crack, or anything else? My answers were all no. He said that they were going to test to see if the tooth was alive.

I told him then that I was nervous about this, and he said that all he was going to do was apply cold to the tooth until I could feel it. He said he would explain everything to me before he did it, and that it would not be painful. Then he pinched a small amount of gauze or cotton in some forceps and cooled it down with some cooling spray. Then he touched it to a tooth, and I said "Uh huh" when I felt the cold. It didn't hurt, but it was cold. Then he did the same thing to the tooth in question and all the teeth around it.

Then he told me that the tooth was definately alive, so I didn't need a root canal. He also said he would not recommend a biopsy. He felt that the area on the x-ray was just a small abnormality that was normal for me. He said it wasn't a tumor, and was surprised that the oral surgeon thought it was. He seemed very disdainful of the oral surgeon, and clearly thought my tooth should have been tested by him a few weeks ago at the oral surgeon's office instead of waiting until today. Anyway, the bottom line is he thinks it's nothing. Just an odd formation of bone that's normal for me. I said, "So that's it? I'm done?" and he said "Yep! Not everyone who comes here gets to have a root canal."

And that syringe filled with mystery liquid? I got far away from that thing as fast as I could.

Of course, I was thrilled! I called Craig to tell him. While he was happy to hear the diagnosis, he was wary of just accepting it since we seemed to have two very different opinions - the oral surgeon who said biopsy if the tooth is alive, and the endodontist who says do not biopsy despite the fact the the tooth lives. Craig really wanted a second opinion to give him some peace of mind that we weren't missing something important.

I called my dad to give him an update, and he was actually going to the airport to pick up their good friends who were flying in for a visit. The husband of this couple used to be my dentist. My dad said that he'd ask the doc what he thought, and then call me back.

A few hours later I got a call from my dad. He gave the phone to the doc and we chatted about my situation. He said that he was amazed that the oral surgeon would even suggest a tumor so early in the diagnostic process. He thought the endodontist was correct in that we should not biopsy a tooth (or jaw around the tooth) that is having absolutely no symptoms. He suggested that I go back to either my general dentist or the endodontist in six months for another x-ray to see if it has changed. He said proper monitoring of the area is the best course of action, since a biopsy could cause me to lose that tooth, and possibly the teeth around it if the jaw bone were to become compromised.

This made both Craig and I feel much better. Espeically me, since I don't need a root canal or biopsy! Yay! A triumph for dental chickens everywhere!

Oh, and I went to the barn after my appointment. Let's just say it was an interesting ride. I'll dish that up tomorrow.


Mrs Mom said...

So very glad to read that all is well with your jaw! Just think of it as one more thing that makes you totally unique ;)

Rubs to Kaswyn from the Southland...

haffiegirl said...

Yeah! Good news!

Thanks for posting what happened... I was wondering how things went. One time when I went to the endodontist, they tested my tooth with hot water using a syringe. No needle, but they used it to spray the water on my tooth. Maybe that's what it was for if you couldn't feel the cold water?

Glad things went well :)

Katee said...

This is awesome. Just awesome. Whenever I'm given a bad option A and a bad option B I always hope that there is a secret option C I'd enjoy. It doesn't usually work out, but I'm glad it did for you. Plus, you've got a new cute dentist. Life is good.

Rising Rainbow said...

From one dental chicken to another, congratulations! You survived without anymore trauma! Can't wait to hear about your ride.

Lil Kate said...

Whew! Glad the prognosis is good. ;)

Wiola said...

Even reading about it gave me shivers! I'm scared silly too of anything to do with dental appointments. Glad to hear you don't need any needle jabbing

Header Image from Bangbouh @ Flickr