Don’t miss your dentist appointment. My recent experience highlights just how important that visit can be to your overall health. How did my routine dentist appointment turn into an emergency oral surgery? The story is short and sweet as it all happened fast. And my story is important.
After dealing with what I thought was recurring sinus pain all through 2020, I planned to see an ENT (ear, nose and throat doctor) as soon as the pandemic numbers decreased. I also needed to get back to my dentist. Phoenix was a national hot spot last summer. Because my city was so infectious at that time, I delayed my dentist appointment. Thankfully, I decided to make my dentist appointment a priority this month so I decided to see my dentist before calling an ENT.
My dentist appointment with the wonderful, gentle and super sweet, Dr. Stacey Zittel was going very well thanks to my consistent flossing and good nutrition. However, when the awesome and also super sweet dental hygienist, Sandi Hale, reached my upper tooth in the far back of my mouth, I felt pain. She paid attention to that and asked me about it. I told her that I had been experiencing sinus pain on and off all year so I had planned to see an ENT soon. She told me that it may be that tooth giving me the sinus pain. Sure enough the Xray showed a fractured tooth with an infection! I was shocked because I wasn’t having any pain that week. Next my dentist told me that an appointment with an oral surgeon would be scheduled for me. How nice of them to do that, I thought to myself. A few minutes later as I checked out, the kind receptionist told me that my oral surgery would take place in three hours. What?? I had my phone calendar in hand ready to schedule sometime in the next two weeks. Nope! It was explained to me that it would be unwise to continue on with that active infection in my tooth. I knew she was right. Time to drop my plans for the day and get ready for oral surgery.
After grabbing a quick lunch with my daughter (who felt sorry for me so she met me last minute), I rushed to the oral surgeon’s office. I was treated by Randy Fitzgerald, DDS, MS with AZ Perio. Dr. Fitzgerald also did my pinhole gum grafting several years ago. That went well so I was happy to be back in his chair. In fact, that procedure, which I believe is better than traditional gum grafting is actually my #1 most read blog post ever. You can read that article here. Dr. Fitzgerald confirmed the fracture and infection and went to work. A team of three compassionate professionals wearing scrubs from head to toe greeted me, put a nice warm blanket over me, numbed my mouth and did the surgery. My mouth required a full tooth extraction since I had had two root canals done on the same troublesome tooth years before. My oral surgeon also scraped all the infection out and he did a bone graft. Two hours later I was done. I will have the tooth transplant and a sinus lift in four months. This gives the bone graft time to prepare for the tooth implant. None of it was fun, but I was kept comfortable and the procedure was painless.
After about a week of recovering, eating soft foods, taking a twice daily post gum surgery rinse and antibiotics, I was back to normal. I am also thankful.
If I had further delayed my dentist appointment that tooth infection could have become quite serious, especially since the tooth is so close to my sinus passages and brain.
So, take it from me and get yourself to your dentist appointment if you have been putting it off. Most of you won’t have a routine dentist appointment turn into emergency oral surgery. But if that happens, you will be thankful. I am!