It certainly feels good to be on the other side of that one. I am a complete baby when it comes to dental work, and so I rather feel like I deserve a medal for even going through with this. I thought that for the benefit of anyone who finds this post and is need of the same procedure, and for the amusement of all of us, I would chronicle my experience. Let us begin. :)
And so, now that I have actually gone through with this, I can say what I had done: a soft tissue graft.
Go ahead. Hide. After reading that hideous statement, I know you want to. Come back when your stomach feels ready. :0
Due to a lot of orthodontic work when I was a child, as an adult I developed a condition called recession of the gums in the lower front of my mouth. It was especially bad in front of my middle 3 teeth. If you leave this alone, you risk all sorts of horrifying stuff happening, including ultimately losing those teeth. Since I'm not yet 40, my teeth still have a long way to go, and my dentist encouraged me to see a periodontist (gum specialist) about what could be done.
I put this off for, oh...well over a year. Because seriously, who wants to see a *gum* specialist? NOBODY IN THEIR RIGHT MIND, that's who. But eventually, I went, albeit reluctantly.
He was nice, and let me tell you, that was his saving grace. :0 I don't have vile sounding procedures done by mean doctors, no sir. He explained that what can be done for gum recession is a grafting of tissue onto those exposed roots, usually taken from your own upper palate.
Go ahead, hide again, that's what I did.
Let's mercifully move on quickly, shall we? I can sum it up by saying that I didn't want to have this otherworldly awful thing done, but I knew that I needed it done. Sometimes, you just gotta suck it up.
So I did. Since the IV anesthesia was way out of my price range, I asked for a prescription for Vallium. I was hoping to feel nice and drunk long before Novocaine even came into play. I was instructed to take one the night before, and one an hour before the procedure. I followed the directions down to the letter.
Monday morning found me looking like I was being marched off to the guillotine. I swallowed my generic Vallium and prepared for battle. Then on my way into the office I realized that I had forgotten my iPod to listen to while the surgery was taking place and I started to cry. Starting off strong.
Mike and I arrive and I truculently filled out the necessary paperwork. I was called back and tearfully said goodbye to Mike like I may never see him again. The nurse (who is *super* nice and soothing, thankfully) peeked at my chart.
"Oh! I see that we gave you a prescription. Are you feeling nice and relaxed?"
She also seemed disappointed by this development. But it was true. I felt no different than usual. Which is to say ANXIOUS. Decidedly NOT loopy and drunk. What a huge let down. :0
Next thing I knew, she was swabbing that numbing stuff onto my gums to ease the Novocaine shots. This was all moving along a bit quickly for my taste. Why move onto cutting open my mouth when we could procrastinate longer?
The doctor came in, and he was just as nice as before, darn him. I could hazily see a gigantic needle appear before my eyes and I forced my body to not move a muscle lest his hand should slip, which I somehow seemed to think was very likely. I did a good job, too. Maybe that Vallium worked after all.
Soon we were underway, me moving my pink rosary beads along in my hands as they worked. It didn't seem like that much time passed, but I was back there for an hour and a half. I saw stitches being stitched, lots of hand movement, and not much else. When they were done, I felt numb, but fine. I was given a prescription for ibuprofen for the pain and instructed to come back in a week for a followup and suture removal.
So. Was it as bad as I feared? You know me, gentle reader, I will tell you like it is:
It was not. It really wasn't bad at all. Very similar to having a tooth extracted. And given how squeamish I am about dental work, that's really saying something.
When I got home I slept. Upon waking, the numbness had worn off. My mouth felt sore, but not bad. I have been keeping up with the ibuprofen, but the soreness is really quite manageable. I can eat as well. Yesterday, it was a bit uncomfortable, but today is fine although I don't have a huge appetite. I was worried about the wound on the top of my mouth, but honestly, I can't even *feel* it. I think I have a really good periodontist. The front of my mouth is definitely in healing mode (aka: GROSS), but I'm trying not to look at it. :0 My lower lip and jaw did swell today, unfortunately, but there is no bruising. It's pretty minor swelling, so I'm hoping that it will be looking better around Thursday.
All in all, I'm glad that I had this done and I would do it again. In fact, I have to. I have one more tooth that needs grafting after these three heal. I'm going to be seeing a lot of this periodontist. Perhaps I should knit him something. :)
At any rate, I'm home and healing. I've been swilling warm salt water and Listerine like there is no tomorrow. It feels super good.
So there you have it. More dental information than you could possibly want to know. It feels good to be back. :0