Wednesday, February 28, 2007

A Trip to The Butcher

I may have shared with some of you that I clench my teeth in my sleep. Due to so many years of clenching, heredity, the shape of my bite, things beyond my control, I have suffered serious bone loss in my gums. I used to wake up with horrible headaches every morning for as long as I can remember and thought it was due to allergies or sinus infections. My dentist and I had no idea I was clenching until he began finding cracked fillings and fractured teeth nearly every visit. He made me a night guard and the headaches stopped immediately.

About six years ago I was referred to a periodontist, who is now known to me as THE BUTCHER, and had surgery on the lower left gum to repair damage to my teeth. It was the most awful, painful thing I have ever experienced. I had to take lots of pain pills, which I hate, for several days. (I don’t like being “not in control.”) I was a bad patient at home. Chase said I was mean to him and I fainted a lot.

This Christmas I noticed in almost all photos I look like I have black pepper between my front teeth. Well, it isn’t pepper, it is a gap. My teeth are moving. Bottom line is I had to visit THE BUTCHER again, and on Friday morning he will do surgery on my entire upper gum. As much I want to keep my teeth, I can’t tell you how much I dread going through this again. I have 6 prescriptions to take for up to a week afterward. I have already apologized to my family and friends for anything I may say or do while in my drugged state. Hopefully I will not be able to sit at the computer and leave weird comments on anyone’s blog.

What really sucks is I’ve had the flu for the past five days and have already been in bed most of that time. I’m totally afraid of not being able to regain all my energy. PLEASE, all you yoga practitioners and tea drinkers and amazingly healthy vegan chefs, advise me on how to recover as quickly as possible.

I will take this opportunity now to say thanks again to all of you who leave nice comments on my posts. It means so much coming from such creative and talented cooks. The vegan community is awesome and I have the best time learning from you all and about you all.

I know I’ve sounded pitiful, but I’m really going to miss crunching on broccoli and salads. So thanks for listening, and I’ll be back as soon as I can, I suppose with blurry pictures of mashed foods, canned soups, applesauce, pudding ….


Anonymous said...

Oh Diann, I can completely sympathize. I am also a teeth clencher - except I do it during the day while I'm completely conscious of it. I know I'm doing it and I know it's bad for me but I just can't stop. It's definitely an obsession or a compulsion. I am so scared that I'm causing serious long term damage. I've seen a number of dentists regarding this and you know they all just tell me the same thing. Stop doing it. Hmmmm...don't ya think if I could I would? Grrr. I probably need to see a psychiatrist for it. Anyway, enough about me.

I wish you a sucessful surgery and a speedy recovery.

Big Big Hugs!

bazu said...

I really wish you luck, Diann! I have a lot of teeth issues, and know exactly why you refer to the periodontist as the butcher! I recently had my wisdom teeth taken out and it was a nightmare. I missed solid food so much! Maybe you can use this as an opportunity to go crazy with broccoli- broccoli puree, juice, smoothie, sauce, anyone??

The drugs made me weird too- they made me too nice. I actually felt loving and peaceful, which is so not me! ;-) Just take the time you need to relax and HEAL. My dentist told me the people who didn't do so well are the ones who tried to get back to normal routines too fast.


scottishvegan said... poor wee soul... I hope you feel better soon and that your surgery goes well. Not being an expert in anything I can’t give you any real advice on how best to recover apart from as Bazu said give yourself a chance to relax and heal. Don’t rush in to anything until you are fully better. I will be thinking of you.
Take care {hugs}

Kati said...

Oh Diann, that's miserable having to have gum surgery while you're sick...the surgery alone would be bad enough - I hope you feel better quickly! I'm sensitive to pretty much all medication, so I know what you mean about acting goofy and grumpy.

As far as your recovery goes, I would recommend lots of deep breathing and maybe some neck stretches to relax the tension in your jaws. Above all else, get lots of rest and know that we're all wishing you a speedy recovery!

aTxVegn said...

Thanks for the well wishes, everyone.

Crystal - you MUST STOP NOW! I know I clench during the day too. I think I must have started due to stress and then it just turned into an awful habit. My nightguard fits over my 2 front teeth and is tiny, but when I wear it I feel like my mouth is wide open. You might consider having your dentist make you one; it's not very expensive, esp. compared to repair work.

Bazu - I remember when you had your wisdom teeth out, so I know you know what I'll be going through. Tonight I pureed a head of cauliflower and cooked some lentils to mush. I think I was mean the last surgery because I didn't like being told what to do - Put the icepack on now, take this pill now, go lay down now - ugh!

SV and Kati - I decided I must have gotten the flu so the surgery won't seem so bad. I'm still pretty weak, so rest shouldn't be a problem. And Kati, stretching sounds so good - I'm going to go do it right now!

Amey said...

Oh Diann,
I'm so sorry to hear about your surgery that is coming up! It sounds scary, and I'm sure that doesn't help.

First of all, I hope that you have some yummy mushy foods to eat: oatmeal, bananas, applesauce, pudding, etc...

As far as yogic approaches, I guess there are a few things that come to mind. First of all, the jaw and the hips are very closely related, and tensions in the jaw are generally very closely related to tensions in the hips. So, once you're healed, working with some long, deep hip openers (while breathing deeply) might serve you well. I'd be happy to give you some suggestions once you're better.

In the meantime, deep breathing would be a good idea! If you aren't too stuffy from your flu (ugh!), breathing through the nose is highly preferable. Breathing through the nose stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which is calming (think of sleeping). Breathing through the mouth is stimulating for the sympathetic nervous system, which is agitating (think "fight or flight", or hyperventilating).

Breathing slowly and deeply can help you feel calm, keep the blood pressure & heart beat down, and also gives you something to focus on beside your pain and misery.

In general, part of the physical yoga practice is learning to distinguish between discomfort and pain, and between pain and suffering. Keeping awareness on the breath helps stay in the moment, rather than rehashing the past or rehearsing for the future. And that's a bit uncomfortable when the present moment involves healing from mouth surgery. So deep breaths are useful!

Also, I don't want to presume anything... but when I had a big surgery a few years ago, I struggled with forgiving myself for deciding to have the surgery, and for taking the medicines... so if that's an issue for you - I understand!

Surgery is scary and so is being scared. So helping yourself relax (music, breathing, foot rubs, favorite magazines, etc) will be nice.

Lastly, on a somewhat hilariously non-yogic suggestion! A few years ago I had surgery for a deviated septum in my nose. It was an all-round horrible experience, but one of the drags was that it was very painful to smile for about a week. Once I was able to watch TV again, I had to find something that would hold my attention without making me laugh, or cry (who needs that when you're trying to heal!?). We ended up watching a LOT of James Bond movies, and they are great healing movies. Silly, not important if you space out or fall asleep for a few minutes, generally entertaining... ha ha.

I'll be thinking of you.
lots of love,

Amey said...

ugh! what a long message! Sorry!

Twisted Cinderella said...

I am so sorry. I am living with TMJ and it looks like at some point, surgery is going to have to be done if I want to get rid of the pain. I am terrified of this idea! So far, I have taken the chicken route and just decided to live with the pain. Biting apples are over-rated anyway, right?

laura k said...

Diann, I have to wear a nightguard too--I grind my teeth in my sleep, and I have TMJ. I dread the day that I may have to have jaw surgery or gum surgery to correct it. I'm sorry to hear about your upcoming surgery, but at least you will get to take it easy for a few days! I hope you have a speedy and healthy recovery. As for your flu, drink green tea with ginger, and eat gypsy soup. Anytime I've gotten sick, the combination of those things has seemed to help. I hope you feel better very soon! You take care of yourself!

Emmy said...

Diann, You'll be in my thoughts on Friday while you have your gum surgery. I hope everything goes well. That's awful you've been suffering from the flu too. Feel better soon :)

Anonymous said...

so sorry to hear about your surgery that is coming up!, please rest a lot, i now you will be in a lot of pain. i personally now how much pain oral surgery can give. you will be in my mine and hearth,
i wish you the best!

Mikaela said...

I have no advice, just lots of love and good vibes on their way to you and the fam :)

Jody from VegChic said...

Croikie. I really hope that you recover quickly.

You know, I was feeling like I was coming down with something the other day. You know when your head is stuffed up, your throat feels a little raw, and you've got a monster of a headache, but you know you aren't sick yet?

My friends gave me some Airborne and I also bought some Zicam. Between the two, I woke up almost fine the next day. It was amazing. Usually I just take vitamin C and echinacea which helps, but nothing like those two together. My sister is still sick with the same cold and she hasn't taken anything.

If you get your hands on Airborne and Zicam, I bet they will really help you get your energy back before seeing the butcher.

BTW - Those cupcake mountains look amazing!

Sending healing vibes your way. Take care!

JENNA said...

good luck and feel better soon!! i know someone who is going through a similar thing with her teeth and it's just awful for her.

here's to a speedy recovery!


Anonymous said...

lots of fresh pineapple or pineapple in its own juice will help control the bleeding Best to you

urban vegan said...

Poor you....(((hugs)))). I hate dentists. I hate being sick.

Well, at least there are smoothies. This would be a good time to work on a Liquid Vegan cookbook.

Feel better!

Tofu Mom (AKA Tofu-n-Sprouts) said...

We'll post pictures of smoothies just for you for a few days...

Ugh - I can SO SO SO sympathize. Been there, done that.

Sending you lots of good wishes and thoughts. (And like someone else said, fresh pineapple helps with bleeding, though it can sting a bit too)

Stay hydrated with liquids, whatever sounds good to you and don't get too busy and active too soon!

Candi said...

I hope the recovery is quick, Diann! Sorry for all you have to go through, but you will feel better afterward and you will have broccoli again soon!!!!! We're sending good thoughts your way. :)

aTxVegn said...

Thank you all so so much for your good wishes and advice. As expected, I learned a lot and got some great information from you. I had as much broccoli as possible for dinner tonight, and some crunchy granola for a snack. Now I'm packing to stay with my parents for a night, and taking way too long to decide what will look nice to wear to the dentist and also be comfortable enough to sleep in during the day. I'm totally mental.... Anyway, I'm taking all your good vibes with me.

Thanks again,

KleoPatra said...

Diann, i am thinking of you!

Just to let you know what you already know: YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!! i have really bad teeth (heredity, i swear!) and although i brush like a madwoman and floss nightly, i can't tell you all the teeth issues i still have.

I am thinking of you now and hoping and praying things will be MUCH BETTER this time around for you with the surgery and that you will have comfort in your mouth (and all over) sooner than you would have ever imagined.

Sending healing thoughts and good peaceful vibes out to you!


Sheree' said...

Diann, I feel your pain and am sorry. I went to the dentist a few weeks ago and he said I have a small cavity. Of course being the baby that I am I went nuts. He tried to calm me by saying it is the first one in 16 years, but that did not help. Now I feel horrible with all that you have to go through. I am so sorry. I will keep you in my prayers. Enjoy some great smoothies and keep some greens in them to help build your immune system back up.

For all of you who posted about TMJ, I have it too and my chiroprator does adjustments that really work!

erica said...

Oh Diann, I had a tissue graft on my lower gums (they take the tissue from the roof of your mouth) a few years ago. Unfortunately they didn't link my allergy to Sulfa drugs and the sulfa-like antibiotic in the pack they put on my gums, and my jaw itched like CRAZY for a week until they took it off. Six drugs sounds like a lot, I wish you speedy recovery!

PS - if you leave any drugged-up comments on my blog I will be honored :)

KleoPatra said...

I was thinkin' of you this morning... and still am! Hope you are doing well, Diann!!

Sheree' said...

Hope you are doing better today. Postive thoughts and prayers being sent your way. Get well soon. :o)

MeloMeals said...

Use food high in Vitamin C... and B... and omega 3's... also vitamin K... and protein to rebuild your cells...

vko said...

Oh you poor thing! Hope you are feeling better.

I know all about the clenching- I clench at night too, so much so that when I wear my nightguard, unbeknownst to me, I rip it off at night and fling it onto the floor so that I can keep clenching..

I also clench during the day when I'm stressed. Thought yoga would help, but I still clench, but maybe less.

I hope you get better soon!!! Lots and lots of soup & juices.

You are so funny apologizing in advance for future comments in your drugged state!

Feel better- sending you positive, healing vibes!

Anonymous said...

Hi! You don't know me, but I've been a "lurker" on your blog for a while now, and I hope your recovery is going well.\

Feel better soon!

Holly (a 3/4 vegan, also in Texas!)