Getting crowned (part 1)

I started writing this post yesterday and didn’t finish it. I’m going to post it as is for the most part –with this introduction, and then a follow-up at the end of it to close up where I’d left it yesterday. So, for the most of this, where it references a day, like “today,” it means yesterday, Tuesday.

You know how I have great and amazingly strong teeth that are resistant to cavities? I think I’ve had one cavity ever and it was because the sealant that we got put on my tooth cracked and it got underneath where I couldn’t get to it to clean.

Well, I went to a new dentist a couple weeks ago and technology here is different from where I had been going in Bluffton. Here they took a picture of my teeth, and when they did, they noticed something about my lowest, furthest back tooth on the right-hand side — it was cracked! Who knows for how long because it didn’t hurt. But it was definitely cracked down the middle of the tooth toward the back of my mouth. Forget cavities, people! My teeth just break in half! My one filling, by the way, also cracked.

So. There’s nothing to do about the tooth except for getting it crowned, so that was what I did today. It’s been a LONG time since I’ve had to have any work done on my teeth besides cleanings. The whole way through, I kept asking Dr. Ruby and her assistant Shelly, “What’s next? What does that do?” They were okay with that, though, and said that I did really well, considering how far back the tooth was located in my mouth.

You’re probably all familiar with the process, but I’d never had one done before. And I’m sitting here now, numb up to my ear with a tongue too big for my mouth, trying to not think about it too much because it’s already aching and I’m not looking forward to what it’s going to feel like when it stops being numb. So I’m writing in the hopes that it’ll keep my mind off of things.

I might be going about this the wrong way….

Anyway, for anyone who hasn’t ever had a crown done before, the hygienist, Shelly, brought me back and took an x-ray of my tooth — which starts us out uncomfortable already because I have a short little mouth and sticking those films in there to get the x-ray is really hard and it hurts. But she gets the shot she needs and does some poking and honestly, I can’t even remember everything. But eventually she took a couple different types of putty and a mold and has me bite down on it to take a mold of my tooth for later. I’m pretty sure this is going to head to the labs so they can make a permanent mold for my tooth.

Anyway, Dr. Ruby comes in and does a few tests with a piece of gauze that’s been sprayed with a thing that’s really cold to make sure that the nerve in my tooth isn’t dead. She tests a few teeth to make sure that they get cold and then tests the back tooth and it doesn’t really get cold on the side, but on the top, it DEFINITELY gets cold. So the nerve is fine and I don’t need a root canal. YEA!

So she numbs me up and that’s the part that’s bugging me the most right now because she did it once, came back and did a secondary one, which she said she normally does, and then later on, because I was still feeling cold where she was working, she numbed me up a third time. And now? I can’t feel my ear on my right hand side. And halfway down to my shoulder. Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but I honestly am numb up to my ear. It’s uncomfortable.

But I’m sure it’s better than it’s going to be once I get feeling back because I can already tell I’m going to be ACHING.

Anyway, she numbs me up, lets it take effect, and then starts filing down my tooth. So there’s me, leaning back in the chair, with the dentist on one side grinding my tooth down and her hygienist on the other side with the suction and holding my tongue out of the way and I’m sitting there counting seconds to try to distract myself from how uncomfortable my mouth is getting and I need to swallow because there’s water in the back of my throat and I’m having trouble breathing through my nose because of the angle of my neck but there’s no way I’m breathing through my mouth right now. And I’m thinking, “Really, could we make this even more complicated?!”

All told, though, it wasn’t horrible. I’m uncomfortable, but Dr. Ruby and Shelly were very nice and very good at what they were doing, as far as I could tell. They put up with all my questions and explained things to me every time I asked.

And I have to put this on pause for right now because we’re heading to our chiropractor appointment.


Following up now, the day after. I started getting the feeling back in my mouth while we were at the chiropractor’s office. In fact, I started getting feeling back in my tongue on the way there, enough so that I could finally locate the piece of gauze that was in my mouth but we hadn’t been able to find the three times we looked while I was at the dentist’s. Yeah, three times we looked because I said it really felt like something was still in there. And it wasn’t until 2 1/2 hours later that I found the darn thing tucked way back under my tongue.

Anyway, by the time we got back home around 8:00, I had all but the smallest part of my bottom lip back. And the pain wasn’t that bad. I took some Advil and ate some ice cream, but mostly it was just sore from being open for so long. I got to the appointment at 2:00 and I left at 5:00. There was a lot of “Okay, now we have to let that take effect” and “Now that has to harden for a few minutes” so it wasn’t like my mouth was open the whole time. But it was still a lot of having my mouth open.

My temporary crown is fitting just fine, if a teeny bit high. My gums are still tender around it and not quite sitting the way they’re supposed to. The place where she stuck me with the shot feels bruised and tender and unhappy. But mostly it’s my jaw muscles that are aching. I had trouble getting a spoonful of food in there because it doesn’t want to open all the way, something Justin (and Amy, I believe) are both familiar with. I’ve found if I can remember to move my jaw every little while, just to keep the muscles warmed up, then it feels better. And that clenching my jaw, like I do when I’m frustrated and stressed out, is not a good thing to do right now, but I keep on doing, unfortunately, because that’s just the way my day has gone. But that’s a story for another day.

My follow-up appointment is in 4 weeks to get the permanent crown put on. I have an appointment just before then to get my cracked filling fixed, so if it’s in by then, I’ll get a two-for-one. But otherwise, it’ll be a couple days after that.

I told Justin that we have a time-honored family tradition of having ice cream after dentists appointments. Followed by the traditional mocking of the people with numb faces as their ice cream spills down their cheeks. He thought that was a wonderful tradition, and laughed at me as I tried to eat my popsicle.


  1. Haha! I had to let the ice cream tradition go a long time ago…. when you have as many fillings/crowns/problems with teeth like I do, it would add up to TOO much ice cream! 😉

    I’m sorry you’ve had your first crown. I can say they are no fun. Well, I would say that ANY dental work is no fun. I generally occupy myself by creating pictures on the ceiling out of the spots or shadows and then making up a story about them. It really passes the time. And I’ve had lots of practice!

    I’m just floored that you’ve only had ONE filling ever!

    1. Yeah, it was not the most fun thing ever.

      This office actually has a tv in every single room, so that was there to try to distract me. Of course, I couldn’t see it, but I could hear it. And during those “sit here and wait for a little while” moments, I could watch or I could pull out my phone and read for a little while. 🙂

      Sorry about your lack of ice cream!!

  2. I just made appointments for the kids and I for the 27th. 🙂
    I laughed about them losing the gauze in your mouth. Dental drama is no fun! I’m doing my best to have the kids think it’s a fun thing. They don’t know the trauma I’ve had!

  3. Dad and I are at the point in life when teeth with fillings start breaking. So we’ve had a lot of experience with crowns the past several years. And , you are right, it isn’t something I particularly look forward to. I have the same problem with getting numb. The dentists said it is because my nerves on the bottom are not where they expect them to be. I never get numb on the bottom jaw without three tries and, like you said, I end up numb clear up to my nose and back to my ear and it is usually still getting number when I leave and doesn’t go away for many, many hours!

    1. Oh wow! I’ll have to remember that. I’m glad that she was willing to take the extra time to let it take effect and give me that extra shot to get me all numbed up. But I really didn’t like the feeling afterward. I think I was good and numb (after the 3rd shot) from about 4:00 – 8:00 or so.

      It’s the same way with getting my eye dilated for the eye doctor. My eyes will stay enormous for 4 – 6 hours after he puts in the eye drops. And then one eye will start to go normal a while before the other one does and Justin just laughs at me. 🙂

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