Wednesday, February 1, 2012
I HATE dental work
After starting appointments a week late because of weather, I finally got into the UW cancer department, and am underway with treatment. It's an amazingly large process, and even just figuring out logistics is a bit of a nightmare.
My first real appointment was Monday and basically included a consultation with the doctor that I will be seeing. He described my treatment options, gave me as much information as he could and sent me on my way. I then had a dental appointment- something that I have been required to do due to the side effects of radiation in the area that I will be treated in.
The concern is that once I start radiation treatment, the bone along my jaw basically dies off. If I have any type of dental issues that would require a tooth extraction, or if the bone gets exposed in any way, I won't heal like I should. The dentists explained to me that just a simple removal of a tooth would include me spending half an hour a day for 50 days in a hyperbarric chamber.
Because of this, I was facing some pretty heavy duty dental work. Not only did they create a dental guard that sits in my mouth for 20-30 minutes every time I receive radiation (it's terrible- 4 to 4.5 inches long, pushes my tongue into an awkward position and really triggers a fantastic gag reflex), they decided they needed to address 8 different dental issues in my mouth, including replacing a few old fillings, putting a couple more in, performing a root canal and removing my last wisdom tooth.
Apparently these decisions did not come lightly- I was told that a team of 8 dentists met for about an hour and a half just discussing what to do with me. I was told that in most people, much of this would never have been any issue, including the wisdom tooth, but with me, well, it was a different story.
At least all of the dental work is done. It honestly is what I was looking forward to the least. I was under general anesthesia for the work, which was fantastic, remember none of it, was given some good painkillers, and even got a strawberry milkshake on the ride home.