A Two-Week Checkup with the Oral Surgeon


Today, I went back for a two-week checkup with Dr. Powell, the oral surgeon I met with back when my mouth started going all crazy.

Up until now, I’ve fared pretty well. I was able to manage the discomfort during my 20×20 Chicago talk. And after the antibiotics kicked in, the discomfort definitely lessened (though it did take a long time to fully go away).

I’ve been pain-free for over a week now, though there’s still a bit of a numb spot near the front of my teeth. When checking things out, Dr. Powell said that it looked a bit red – but at this point, no news was good news.

Now that I’m off the antibiotics, the next 2-3 weeks will be the important ones. If it doesn’t come back, everything’s great. If it does, then that likely will mean a surgical procedure to remove it.

Some warning signs to watch out for: sensitivity to hot/cold things, general pain/discomfort, and any kind of “bump” that appears near the front of the gums. These are all things that Dr. Powell said he would be “interested” to know about.

I learned that the numbness is normal, and usually takes a long time to recover. The cyst (which is what I have) was impacting the nerve endings in the roof of my mouth – and at times, it can stretch the area. In some cases, numbness goes away after 2 weeks or so. But if the nerve endings end up dying as a result of being stretched, it takes longer for them to grow back. The rate Dr. Powell told me was something in the area of 1mm per day.

So here’s hoping the next few weeks are largely uneventful. In the scenario where this issue crops up again, they have to do surgery to directly remove the cyst. Which… is gross.

Dr. Powell told me it’s a fairly straight-forward procedure, but it involves cutting into the roof of the mouth, and folding it down like the ceiling of a room. And then putting it back into place. With this procedure comes some certainty that there will be a numb area at the front of my mouth, from canine to canine.

So – best option is to hope it doesn’t return, and that things are just slowly on the mend.

I do have to say, I greatly enjoyed talking with Dr. Powell. Though we’ve only met for very brief visits, he seems like someone who’s just very passionate about his work, and just super-excited to talk about the particulars. It was really fun listening to him explain things.

But as much as I enjoyed him sharing his knowledge, there’s a large part of me that just kinda hopes we never cross paths again. Here’s hoping.

Related:
A Day of Clinics
Sleep, Interrupted

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