Long Live the Crown!
Yes, after two MORE weeks of waiting, of chewing carefully and eating lots of soft food I am now the proud owner of a newly refurbished crown.
Driving the 15 minutes to Dr. K’s office, I thought: New day; new approach. With my heart pounding in my ears (a sure sign the old blood pressure would burst the cuff if I had it strapped on right this moment) I take control as soon as I sit in the chair, “Okay, no drugs, no numbness today. I’m going all natural and be able to feel how well the tooth is placed. It’ll be faster this way.”
And so it begins again. Dr. K and his lovely 18-year-old assistant cranked me back in the chair until my feet were higher than my head and my lunch began to roll around in my stomach. I was tough. His lovely assistant hung the spit sucker off the side of my mouth and Dr. K. removed my temporary crown and scraped around the inside of my mouth. Still, I was tough. Next, he smeared some awful tasting cleanser on what used to be my real tooth, then blew it dry with a blast of cold, cold air. As he explained, “The tooth underneath and the surrounding area have to be bone dry for the glue to take and hold tight”. . .a drop of the cleanser trickled down the back of my throat. Gag reflex (I take after my Dad). I shot up in the chair, ruining all of Dr. K’s careful work so far. He sighed and began from the beginning after I’d had a good hack.
“If you have even a drop of saliva in the area,” he said “I have to start all over again.” This was my mouth’s cue to produce prodigious amounts of spit. I’m talking about the drool pooling in my mouth faster than the spit sucker could suction it out. By the time Dr. K turned around and had the prepped crown all ready to insert, he blinked, stared into my mouth and blinked again. “Suction, I need more suction here!” he barked.
Next, he inserted two cotton rolls, which I now know can soak up 50 times their weight in spit, along my jaw line. This was his vain attempt to stave off the inevitable spit tide. He blew the area dry again and turned around to re-prep the tooth for insertion. With it well in hand he spun around, tooth poised, for the insertion, but was foiled again by my spit tide. After another aborted attempt he called in a second assistant. Working with split second timing, they finally glued the tooth into my mouth.
Shaking his head, Dr. K said, “I have NEVER seen someone make saliva that fast. I think you can make money off that spit!” He told me how dental schools pay money, like $25 an ampule, for people to come in and drool so dental researchers can collect it and use it in their research. Who knew?! As I was leaving I heard him ask his assistant to flush out the saliva collector attached to the spit sucker; apparently it was full. Go figure.