3 years: that is the time it took me to make the decision to get braces and align the teeth. The fear of the pain, time that I would have to stay away from work and the feeling of metal in the mouth were reasons putting me off from getting the braces fixed.
An advertisement in the paper about a dental chain having an offer on Clear Aligners, a transparent plate to be worn, a new technology being introduced and me having a non-metal option got me excited. So off I went for a consultation. This doctor made me smile, bite, chew and more on the dental chair. He wanted to evaluate the results on the smile, the upper lip which was supported by the two teeth which would need to be extracted and more. I felt confident of getting the treatment done from him. There was a special offer running, I don’t remember why I let go!
Pictures were taken in the next few years which would make me conscious. I would think before I smiled. Looked in the mirror to teach myself to smile turning my head to one side!
January 2015, nearly two years later, I visited the dentist again with a more definite approach of wanting to start the braces treatment. This time, there was no special offer and a price of 2.1 times was quoted. So I took this as a sign that it is not meant to happen and came back yet again.
The story actually begins now!!!
My calendar says I visited the dentist on 25th May 2015. I knew this time I am going in for ceramic braces, no metal for me. I also knew I am not going ahead with clear aligners since the wires were required for the finishing of the treatment. Fortunately, they were running a discount! Not just that, I could pay via 6 EMIs. Works best for an entrepreneur who is yet to crack the growth hacking module.
After cancellations, reschedules, rethinking, discussions and more, my appointment for extraction was scheduled for Friday, 12th June at 4:00p.m. This was the 2nd week of the month and I had a holiday on Saturday, so it made perfect sense to rest the next day. My sister suggested watching a movie post extraction to distract my mind, however that did not happen and I leave that story for another day.
So off I go to the dentist directly from office. My crush of the moment wanted to ‘be there’, however, his boss wanted him there! So I was on my own. I met Dr.Prerna who was concerned because I was apprehensive. We went ahead none the less.
Keep your eyes closed while getting the extraction done is what I had been told. So I sat on the chair and closed my eyes. “I want you to open your eyes”, Dr.Prerna said. I need them open when I am giving you the injection. Okay!
The first shot she gave me, my right upper gum got me feeling dizzy. She asked me to lie down and followed that with a glass of glucose. The doctor had mentioned that the upper jaw or maxillaconnected to the orbital nerve, which is connected to the head. Therefore I felt the sense of dizziness.
They start with a lingo spray to the area after which they inject the outside and inside of the gum to make the area numb. She checked if the area was numb and started with the extraction. It took her about 30 mins during which she kept asking me if I am fine, told me that the tooth is strong, then it finally started moving and voila, some more pushing and pressure & it was out. The gap of the removed tooth was covered with a pack for the blood to clot.
I was feeling fine, checked my phone, saw missed calls from home, returned the call and gave updated them that 1 tooth was out.
I was then given anaesthesia on the lower gum. This time I did not feel the effect, therefore, the doctor had to inject some more. By now, every time I was given an injection, I was holding Neelam’s (the assistant) hand which helped me stay still. Neelam also held my head in place while the doc was pulling & pushing the tooth out.
Anaesthesia takes longer to act in the lower jaw because of the bone quality. The mandible or lower jaw bone is a dense cortical bone as compared to the maxilla. Hence it takes longer for the anaesthetic to infiltrate the nerve.
Since the first shot did not work, asecond shot of anaesthesia was given and we waited for my tongue to feel heavy. Dr.Prerna tried once more, there wasn’t pain this time and after about 30 minutes of trying, the 2ndtooth was out.
Against my wishes, they were not going to extract all 4 on 1 day!
As I stepped out, my Mum had come to pick me up. Her timing was perfect. I was grateful as I was advised not to speak and the heaviness of the anaesthesia wasn’t exactly comfortable.
On coming home, I applied a cold compress. I had ice cream after an hour of coming back. As the anaesthesia started wearing off, I began to feel sensation. My sister asked me to have ice. The cooling effect helped. I had planned to write postcards when I came back. That is exactly what I did.
And before I knew it, it was time to sleep. Antibiotics had been ordered, but I did not feel the need.
Next morning, there was discomfort, but not unbearable. I got back to returning work calls.
The smooth experience would not have been possible without Dr.Prerana and the assistant Poonam.
I relaxed for the rest of the Saturday, even did some writing & clearing. Sunday was just as relaxed, although a little pain did start. I noticed a white spot above the upper extraction.
Monday 15th June was my next extraction. The clinic called to tell me that Dr.Prerna is not there, postpone the same to Wed. I was in a rush though. So I insisted. A partial rickshaw strike on that day, so there was no ricks available. I took the car and it took me 20 mins to find parking. I was late for the appointment by over 30mins. I had not gone to the gym in the morning, was considering going in the evening. All signs telling me not to do it today. But I did not listen.
The next 2 extractions were a complete opposite of the first two.
Since Dr.Prerana was not there, another Doctor gave me anaesthesia. This time she anaesthetised both the upper & lower gums at the same time.
One feels a slight blockage in the nose and heaviness on the cheeks.
In between the extraction of the upper tooth, she says that the tooth is rotated and it is difficult to remove. Incase it breaks, she will call the oral surgeon! Seriously?!
I ask her to be slow and gentle, ensure not to break the tooth. I realise how powerful the mind is. Although I was scared myself, I had the foresight and thought to calm the doctor’s nerve.
This doctor was very confident at first that the extractions will be done in 15 mins each. Therefore, she asked me to call someone to pick me up in 40 mins. My father had come to pick me up when she had finished removing the upper tooth.
This time as well, for the lower tooth the anaesthesia wasn’t working. She tried giving me a shot 3 times, applied some gel as well, but to no avail. This time there was pain while she was pulling. I could feel it. My eyes were crunching in pain. I finally felt like I was getting my tooth extracted! Neelam kept massaging my forehead, making the pain easier to bear.
So I tolerated that for sometime after which both the doctor and I gave up.
She put me on Mox 500 and Enzoflam, frightened me to take them so as to ensure there is no swelling the next day. An oral surgeon had been called for the 4th extraction.
Everyone at home was worried, I was petrified. Remembering all the God’s and asking for their grace. I drove back with my Father with a cold pack for the extracted tooth.
I felt like I wasted 2 hours, missed the gym workout and did not get the both the teeth extracted either. I learnt a lesson that I must never ignore signs from the Universe.
After a sleepless night, I completed a work meeting at 9a.m. after which I went to the clinic at 10:30 as per the appointment. The Surgeon was late, but in 7 minutes by the clock tooth 4 was out. He used a larger instrument which looked scary. Also, the angle with which he placed the injection in the lower gum made me feel he will inject my lips, so I shook. He did not like that and asked me very sternly to stay still.
Done and dusted, off I came home with my Father who had come to pick me up.
Cold pack again, an entire set of instructions, 2nd dose of antibiotics in the day. Another day of blended food. A relief all the same. I was finally on my way to a straight set of teeth, there was no looking back now.
For a person who doesn’t like taking antibiotics, I was put on a heavy course to lessen the pain.
The next morning I woke up with 4 blisters!!! I went through the day with BComplex added to the list of medicines and gargles with yogurt & water thrice a day.
I understand the blisters could be because of multiple reasons, the side effect of the anti-biotics, the stress, the fact that I shook during the injection which may have caused a bruise.
No change on Thursday. This was coupled with a throbbing sensation on 2 teeth by turn. I decided to visit my homeopath who gave me pills as well a gel for the gums. The gel was relieving instantly, I still felt my mouth burn at times of the day.
Friday was a relief, both office & store were closed due to incessant rains. I was better only to have a shooting pain in the left upper gum which started at 11:30 at night, went on till morning. I have woken up 3 times to apply the gel and take the pills. Finally it subsided around 6 and I fell off to sleep.
A probable reason, the amount of cold things I had been having had an impact on the nerve endings.
Had a meeting in Ghatkopar on Saturday, travelled, was out most of the day, but I seemed to be settling in.
Sunday morning the blisters were active again. Gargled with yogurt and water every 2 hours and finally they seem to be receding. It reached a point where the tooth hurt because of the cold gargle but the blisters needed it.
After 5 days, the right hand side felt stronger. The left hand side, especially the space of the last extraction still felt weak. I was scared that the pain shouldn’t start again or the blisters shouldn’t relapse.
The extractions and the recovery thereafter were definitely more troublesome than I had imagined.
On a lighter note, all this felt worth it when I checked my weight. I lost 3kgs in less than 10 days!I couldn’t eat normal food. Everything was blended. The advantage being that there was no 2nd helping because who wants to go through the task of blending again!!!
It took me 3 weeks to get back to my fitness routine, ensure adequate nutrition and an undisturbed sleep at night.
I knew the next few months were not going to be a cake walk; hopefully by the end of the treatment, I will be ready to do a ramp walk!
P.S. It is nearing a year for the braces treatment. The results are looking good and it takes atleast 6 months to get accustomed to the braces. It does involve change in food habits. Keeping oneself busy and distracted is a sure way of removing the attention from the pain.