Dentistry Update

For those of you what don’t follow me on Twitter:

Tooth not cracked after all; what looked like a crack to me turned out to be a discolored filling. The source of the pain is gum inflammation; yes, I brush and floss, but apparently I’m not flossing deep enough, which is a lesson to all y’all. So rather than a root canal, which I was sort of expecting, I received a dental cleaning and had the infected gums packed with antibiotics, which is without a doubt the worst-tasting thing to happen to me this year. Antibiotics thusly packed in, I was told not to floss for twenty four hours, which was the first and I expect the very last time I will ever have a dentist make such a command to me. Now back home with horribly bad antibiotic breath. Be glad you’re not near me.

That is all.

26 Comments on “Dentistry Update”

  1. changterhune – Before you hear lies from Chang Terhune himself, we thought we’d tell you the truth: without us, his old action figures, he’d be nowhere. He loved science fiction from way back and began reading it at an early age, but it was through us that he acted it all out. That’s what led to the writing. He watched a lot of science fiction shows like Star Trek, U.F.O, and movies, too. But we were always there to do his bidding. And it’s like they say: you always forget about the little people on your way up. Oh, the 70’s and early 80’s with him were good times! He’d use these blocks and make all the crazy buildings for us to be in his stories. I gotta say the kid’s imagination was pretty damn fertile. Oh, he had friends, but they just weren’t into it like him. He was like the Lance Armstrong of action figures. And of science fiction. At first, when he began writing in the eighth grade, we didn’t mind. He still made time for us. And we knew that when he was holding us in his sweaty little hands and he got that far off look in his eye, he’d come back to burying us in the back yard or - god forbid! – blowing us up with firecrackers. But it was worth it for a part in one of those stories. We loved him for it. He kept us around even when we were minus a leg or two - or even a head. In that mind of his, he found a use for all of us. Then he discovered girls. October, 1986. It was like the end of the world. One day we’re standing in the middle of this building block creation he’d pretended was some marble city on a planet near Alpha Centauri and the next we were stuck in a box in the closet. Not even a “See ya later!” Nope, it was into the closet, then we heard some high-pitched girly-giggles then silence. We didn’t see him for years. We got word about him once in a while. Heard he took up writing, but it was crap like “The Breakfast Club” only with better music. We couldn’t believe it. Not Charlie. What happened to those aliens with heads he’d sculpted out of wax? Spaceships? Those complex plots? All gone. For what? You guessed it: Girls. Emotions. “Serious fiction.” I tell you, it was like hearing Elvis had left the building. During our two decade exile in the closet, we heard other things about him. He went to college. He wrote a lot, but not much he really liked. We knew it even then. It was like he didn’t dare write science fiction. Some of us had lost hope and just lay there. Others kept vigil, hoping for a day we didn’t dare speak about. Then we heard he’d stopped writing in 1996. Did he come to reclaim us? No. He took up music for ten years or so. He took up yoga. Once in a while, he’d visit us in the closet. But it was half-hearted. His mind was elsewhere. Then one day, he really did come back for us. One second we’re in the dark and the next thing we know we’re in a car headed for Massachusetts. Suddenly we got a whole shelf to ourselves out in broad daylight! Then he bought a bunch of others form some planet called Ebay. He’d just sit and stare at us with that old look. But why were we suddenly back in the picture? He had a wife now, who didn’t mind that he played with us. So what had happened? Turns out he’d never forgotten about those stories. He’d been thinking about all of us and the stories he’d made up and then remembered he’d been a writer once. From the shelf we could see him typing away. Before long he’s got a whole novel together! Then he’s working on another one. Word is there are two more in the planning stages! Some short stories, too! It’s good to see him using his imagination again. Its good to know he never abandoned us. He returned to his true love of science fiction. We hear the stories are pretty good. Someday we’ll get one of the cats to score us a copy of the manuscript. Man, it’s good to be out of the damn closet! --- I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me
    Chang, with shin splints

    Did the doctor say anything about red vines? Or red vines AND mr. pibb?

  2. If you haven’t already done so, try a Reach Access flosser. The cheapo manual version is great for deep flossing. There’s a powered version, too, but I already own too many appliances that need batteries.

  3. Hmm, I had a tooth that hurt when drinking cold things so I went to the dentist. Took xrays to look for cracks, nothing.

    Damned thing split down the side after another month or so.

  4. Yep, antibiotics definitely rock! A few years ago, I was travelling in Montana when one of my molars became infected. After a call to my dentist in Cincinnati, he phoned in a scrip to a Billings pharmacy for Vicoprofen (basically Advil laced with Vicodin) and Amoxycillin. I quickly found I didn’t need the Vicoprofen, as the pain went away within hours of taking the Amoxycillin.

  5. This is a perfect opportunity for you to breathe heavily in the cats’ faces and make up for all the kibble-and-tuna breath they’ve inflicted on you over the years.

  6. Been there – the antibiotic-packed-gums thing. Didn’t make any new friends during that time, nor did I make any of my existing friends very happy to be around me :P

  7. I mentioned this on twitter, but I thought I’d post it here, too, so more people could see it. There are many, many anecdotal stories about people who have cured their sensitive, bleeding gums by taking fish oil. I myself got lectures from my dentist twice annually about flossing more and better until one day I decided to try taking fish oil for unrelated reasons. A month later I went to the dentist and they couldn’t believe the change in my gums. Now every time I go in, they’re eager to hear about how the fish oil thing is going. LOL. It’s a bit early to say, but it looks like some of the recession is reversing and the periodontal pockets shrinking, which is NOT supposed to happen. There’s a tiny bit in the scientific literature about this, but the interesting thing is that fish oil is very good for heart patients, and there’s a strong correlation between heart health and gum health. Many scientists now believe that bad gums can *cause* heart disease, so by taking care of our gums we may also be saving ourselves from heart problems later.

    The other thing I’ve been doing for my gums and teeth is eating xylitol and using Dr. Ellie’s system of teeth cleaning. You can check it out at It’s a minimally invasive dentistry approach that (apropos of what John wrote about being poor and not being able to afford dental care) she devised originally to help employees at her husband’s restaurant avoid expensive dental care. It addresses the flora balance in the mouth and requires no flossing. I have also seen improvements in my gums from using this system.

    So glad to hear your tooth isn’t damaged, John. I hope you feel better quick.

  8. John P. Murphy – I'm an engineer and writer living in New England. My research background is in robotics and computer security; my writing is primarily science fiction and mystery.
    John Murphy

    This is why I like to keep a supply of miracle fruit tablets: they can sometimes make awful-tasting things palatable. (That, and they’re pretty awesome in general)

  9. Many commiserations, pity parties and back-pats to you, sir. As Hallmark would say, “Get Well Soon!”

  10. When you get into your fifties, you get crowns which are harder to schedule. But now I’m reading your Hugo winner and a blog about bad chocolate. You seem to fault the marshmallow or gelatinous part of the bad chocolate. I think everything might have been OK if the “weed-killer” smell hadn’t been there. I think that indicated “foreign born” preservatives. I will eat the chocolate covered marshmallow thingys at last resort and I think they and Peeps (which I adore) taste better stale.

  11. All in all, still a major victory for modern dental science. Bad breath for a few days and a slightly more aggressive tooth care regimen are a minor price to pay for not having your teeth yanked out with pliers.

  12. I know my dentist recommended I swish salt water(about 1/2 teaspoon per glass) once or twice a week as a preventive measure.Works like a charm, to date.

  13. Do yourself an inexpensive favor – buy and use a Sonicare after flossing. No matter how much time I spent on my teeth and gums my dentist was never happy at cleaning time. Got the Sonicare and within a year cleaning was taking half the time (and half the bleeding). Dentist is happy (makes the same money for half the work) and tells me to keep it up. FWIW.

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