Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five | Part Six | Part Seven | Part Eight | Part Nine | Part Ten | Part Eleven | Part Twelve
By: Jean Johnson for Dental 1
Fitting the metal castings for your restored teeth is one thing, but having the pretty porcelain restorations placed in your mouth – if only momentarily for a fitting – is the cat’s meow. Sort of anyway.
Actually Cindy (the dental assistant) and my prosthodontist were more excited than I was, in part I assume since they go through it all the time they realize full well what these last stages are leading up to.
|Getting Through It|
| Sometimes learning about unpleasant dental work can calm the nerves.|
Temporary crowns that are placed over tooth preparations while permanent crowns are being made are wonderful since they provide function and aesthetics for edentulous (i.e. without teeth) patients.
The acrylic material that temporaries are made of, however, is porous so the mouth will not feel as fresh during this process. Also some odor can be detectable since smells from bacteria present under the temporaries can penetrate the acrylic.
Decay is another consideration with temporaries since they tend to not fit around the neck of the tooth as perfectly as permanent crowns do and thus bacteria from food can invade. More if temporaries are left in place too long, the cement can erode leaving plaque traps that exacerbate the decay process.
For me, it was hard to get my head into the idea that soon I would have gorgeous teeth and not be going to the dentist for four and five hour appointments every time I turned around. So it was sort of just another day in the dental chair, complete with the dreaded numbing needle and major sensitivity on my lower teeth.
Still, when my prosthodontist showed me the articulator with my teeth in it, I tried to get into the mood. “They look beautiful,” he said. “They’re gorgeous.”
“Cool,” I said. “Yes, they really are. How lovely.”
But my voice rang a little hollow, and he heard it I think. I felt badly that I wasn’t more enthused or could at least pretend to be, but hopefully they’re probably used to that too. Besides, I may be slow to get on board, but once I’m there, I’m a trooper you can count on.
So after he got me numbed up and all the temporaries off and installed the porcelain teeth one by one, I started coming around. Once they were in place, he had me close my mouth so they wouldn’t fall out and then sat me up in the chair to check out the results in the mirror.
I couldn’t talk with my jaw clamped together, but he pointed this and that out. How the lowers looked pretty good, but there were some modifications on one tooth there and several on one side of the upper front that he wanted to have the lab make before he cemented them in.
After he laid the chair back down so I could talk a little, he asked me what I thought. I agreed with his assessment and had some other ideas here and there. We batted things around for some time, me asking about first this tooth and that. Two artists considering the finishing touches to a big project.
Some things I noticed just couldn’t be addressed given the shape of my tooth roots and mouth, and others weren’t a good idea once he explained various aspects of what we needed to take into consideration to get a final good result.
I understood what he meant since I go through the same thing with the woman who cuts my hair. I’ll say, “Doesn’t it need to be shorter right here?” And she’ll say something to the effect that if we do that then I’ll get hair I won’t like.
So I’ve grown used to deferring to professionals to a large degree. Indeed, my philosophy is: Find the best help you can afford and then let them do what they were trained to do.
Consequently, I capped the discussion my prosthodontist and I were having with: “It’s your professional eye I’m relying on. So if you’re happy, I’m happy.”
It worked great. As soon as I put the ball in his court, he came around in front of me and stooped down and eyed my teeth like they were a canvas or sculpture he was putting the finishing touches on. I liked that. Him being proprietary over the status of my teeth. Who better but him? My guy. The man with the eye and the skill.
Then he dictated his notes to Cindy, complete with tooth numbers so the lab would know what do to. Then he took the porcelain beauties out and put the old temporaries back in. “I’m glad we’ll be cementing next week,” he said. “These temporaries are shot.”
That was it. One more week until the big day. I confess that seeing and getting a quick feel of the porcelain teeth in my mouth got my attention. And even though I realized they needed to go back to the lab for adjustments, I hated to see them go and the tired old temporaries return.
“I know I was sort of lukewarm when we started today,” I said, “but now after getting a hint of what it will be like to have such lovely teeth, I’m getting pretty jazzed.”
He assured me that some patients are like me and don’t realize that everything they’ve been working for is actually finally happening. I could tell he and Cindy were pleased that I was getting in the groove – a groove that could only get more amped-up as the next big appointment approached.