8.19.2011

Living Well Blog Hop: Week 3



After an unexpected hiatus, it's time again for the Living Well Blog Hop - an opportunity to share with others something you've found to be a help in "living well." So take a moment to read the directions (below) for the hop. Then jump on in with your own post and be sure to link it back here.
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Whether or not you're comfortable with fluoride in your toothpaste and drinking water, one thing is certain: oral health is important, a lesson I've learned the hard way in recent months.
Despite having minimal dental care as a child - with an overbite and crowding to prove it! - and the fact that I'd chosen for various reasons to avoid dental care for most of my adult life, my teeth had held out pretty well. But in January, one of my molars cracked while I was eating popcorn.
Even at that point, I tried to justify not finding a dentist; it didn't hurt, after all, and it was still in its socket. But common sense won out, and I made an appointment with a dentist who came recommended by a trusted friend.
The cracked tooth, of course, needed repair, and I agreed with the dentist about the need to replace my old metal fillings (amazingly, I'd only had four cavities throughout my childhood!) with new, porcelain ones - none of which was a terribly big deal and would be mostly covered by insurance.
However, it turned out that the tooth directly in front of the cracked one had a huge cavity - so deep that it was nearly touching the tooth's nerve! The dentist was shocked that I hadn't noticed it. But it was between the teeth and I happen to have a very high pain tolerance so I really didn't know it was there.
Despite the damage, we decided to try saving the tooth. And so, one day in February, I spent a significant amount of time having the cracked tooth repaired, my fillings on one side replaced, and the cavity filled. The dentist did a good job, but he advised me of the chance that I'd lose the decayed tooth anyway
Nevertheless, all seemed well...until April 29 - a date I'll always remember because I was planning to get up early to watch the Royal Wedding with my girls. Instead, I spent the wee hours experiencing excruciating pain within the bad tooth - worse than what I'd felt in labor! - at times wondering how I'd even make it through the night.
Then suddenly the pain ceased. I slept through much of the wedding because I'd been up with the pain, but everything felt fine at that point so I didn't call the dentist. In the weeks that followed, the tooth sometimes felt "weird" and wiggled a bit at times, but it never hurt again.
But then one day in July, I happened to notice a gray spot on the back of the tooth.
At first, the dentist thought that, perhaps, it was merely discoloration from the extensive filling he'd used. But, alas, tests proved that the tooth's nerve was dead - most certainly killed in the early morning hours of April 29. We could not have prevented it at that point; the cavity had simply been too deep to adequately protect the nerve.
So this week, I had the "joy" of going in to have the dead tooth extracted - to avoid possible infection that would necessitate a root canal or other more drastic steps. In two weeks, I'll get an InvisiLine-style appliance to wear at night so my teeth don't shift. And I should probably get an implant...but I don't know when that will be financially feasible.
Thus, here I sit with a gap in my teeth, feeling like an idiot because it was totally preventable. Thankfully, it's far enough back that it's not readily visible to others...but I know it's there and will, in all likelihood, be there a long time.
Of course, if I'd merely taken responsibility over the years for living well in terms of my oral health, the cavity would have been caught early-on in a routine check-up...and I wouldn't be feeling like a bad British stereotype.
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What about you? Do you have a healthy-living tip to share? If so, read on. I look forward to hearing your ideas.

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Welcome to the Living Well Blog Hop! We’d like to invite you to share a blog post about what you do to "live well." It could be a healthy recipe, exercise tips, ideas for relaxing or getting organized, lifestyle improvements – anything you feel makes your life better.
Your Living Well hosts for the week are:

Please abide by our Living Well Blog Hop guidelines:
  1. Please provide a link back to one of the Living Well host blogs in your post. And also grab the button below if you'd like;
  2. Please link to a specific post in your blog, not your blog’s home page;
  3. If you link a recipe, please use real foods and avoid highly processed ingredients;
  4. Be aware that the hosts of the blog hop reserve the right to remove any posts we deem inappropriate;
  5. If you don’t have a blog, please leave a comment to share what you’ve done to live well this week.

    Living Well Blog Hop

    Thanks for joining us in Living Well.



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