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Archive for the ‘dentist’ Category

Wikipedia article:

Commonly used terms of relationship and comparison in dentistry

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So today I went in to get my 6 month dental cleaning. I get pretty good service there. The hygienist I see is great. She seems to pay attention to what she’s doing and to notice things that are wrong.

So I brought up my jaw discomfort again. The whole “feels like a day old bruise” spiel. And they did X-rays. Local and panoramic.

And they found a subtle lesion-like area back around my molars on the left side.

Normally, X-rays (high energy photons) don’t penetrate bone (at least at the energy levels they use, higher energy ones would). Thus the film is not exposed where bone is. That would normally be “black”, but it gets inverted at some point – probably to increase the contrast since clinicians are usually more interested in the bones rather than that spaces. Anyways, black=no bone/space/thinner bone, white=dense bone/teeth/etc.

And if you compare the right and left sides of my jaw, you can see that on the left side:

1. you cannot see the subtle outline where my inferior alveolar nerve should be
2. you can see a region where it is not as white as the other side, corresponding to roughly where I have discomfort
3. the roots of my lower left back most molar are rounded, unlike the teeth in the rest of my mouth

My dentist thinks it could just be a cyst, but wants me to go to the oral surgeon because he’s more specialized. And that he wants me to get seen Thursday or Friday, ASAP.

He also said that if the underlying bone was diseased, he might have to do a root canal. Oh joy.

They gave me print outs of my panoramic X-ray and the local X-ray around that tooth to carry over, because they were having email problems, but they were just on regular 8.5″ x 11″ paper. And I shall photocopy them. They are mine after all. I hate it when medical professionals keep things from you.

I also brought up my insurance woes. My insurance says, “we won’t cover the gingivectomy unless you provide updated X-rays”. I guess this will cover that requirement 🙂 I mentioned this too them, they said they’d take care of it. I partly suspect they won’t.

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