The amusement I had over numb, crazy mouth selfies definitely made up for my laughing gas request being denied.
While I may not post as often as I should, I am constantly reading other blogs and various health publications. In some ways, it’s a great thing. I learn so much! In other ways, it is a terrible terrible thing because I self diagnose with the worst case scenario, work myself up into a tizzy, and in at least this most recent case, avoid getting something looked at for awhile because ***if the doctor doesn’t say it’s an issue, then it is not yet real. ***
Because, you know, good logic. So rational.
So what happened?
I’ve read a lot about the relationship between RA and dental issues. Instead of trying to explain the technicalities, know that there seems to be a pretty strong relationship and follow the below links that are actually scholarly or at the very least peer reviewed.
So…a few months ago, I noticed that my upper left gums were swollen. I thought nothing of it…as this happened once before and when I went to the dentist, I was diagnosed with eating pizza that was too hot.
Seriously. The dentist laughed and said ‘honey, you must have been starving. Let your food cool down some!’
I let it go because I figured I had simply burnt myself again. It went away after a few days. And then it came back. Away. Back. Away. Back.
On round 3, I finally took a good look in my mouth with a mirror and FREAKED out. Part of my left gum had receded and was ‘clefted.’
I immediately thought to my reading. I also thought of my friend who recently had a gum graft that she best described as ‘agony.’
I stupidly thought to myself that I should just avoid it. I didn’t want to admit that RA was wreaking havoc on a new place. I certainly didn’t want to have a painful procedure. And if it doesn’t hurt, then why address it?
I know. The stupid stings!
Fast forward to this past Tuesday. I bit funny into a carrot and lost a filling in the other side of my mouth. There was no way I could not address that, so off to the dentist I went.
Not only were they able to fix the tooth, they were able to squeeze in a cleaning as well as examine the gum recession.
The verdict: my gun recession is NOT RA related. It is very much the result of aggressive brushing with stiff bristles and not helped by nighttime teeth grinding.
I can’t control or make excuses for the grinding but I stand by rough brushing: this gal likes to be clean!
While I probably won’t have the gum ‘un-recess,’ the remaining tissue is thick and healthy. No need to refer to a periodontist at this time and certainly no need for a gum graft. Switching to a soft bristle toothbrush, being less forceful with brushing, and wearing an oh-so-sexy mouth guard at night should keep it from progressing.
Moral here? There are several.
1. Don’t assume that RA causes everything.
2. Don’t put off something that should be looked at because you’re afraid of the answer.
3. Dental care is very important, especially for RA patients.
4. I realized that I haven’t seen many articles or blogs discussing RA dental care.
5. Even though my issues wound up not being RA related, this is yet another aspect of the patient experience we should at least be aware of.
To maintain continued gum health as well as to address some tartar issues, my dentist has recommended a periodontal cleaning where they numb you up and clean below the gum line. This would mean that all future cleanings would be a bit different read: more invasive and more expensive.
I’m considering it as it’s nice to feel proactive for once about health vs reactive.
What do you think? Anyone else have experience with this type of cleaning? I’d love to hear your experiences!