Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Hypochondriac Grows In Brooklyn*

I've been going to the dentist regularly for about a year now. It's supposed to make me all healthy and shit. I've been feeling pretty smug about it, frankly, even though they keep telling me, "We're just cleaning up the years of neglect, next time there won't be any more work to be done."


Yesterday they found an inexplicable blood blistery thing way back near my back teeth sort of on my tongue but that fleshy part that's not my tongue. I was told to watch it and if it was still there in a couple of weeks to say something. I'll wait here while you try to visually locate that part of your own anatomy.


But I'm scheduled to go back on August 1 to have 2 sealants put on (right over the sensitivity I'd mentioned the last time when he put sealants in other places) and another cussed cavity filled. This cavity is quite small and is on the back outside corner of my very last top left molar. The conjecture is that when my wisdom teeth were pulverized and removed that tooth's enamel was dinged and left vulnerable. Don't get me wrong, I don't think I'm being bilked I just think it's the nature of the beast for 42-year-old teeth that have been relatively healthy yet mostly neglected up to this point. We had a long talk about the blood blister thing and ruled out the spit suctioner as the culprit, I couldn't recall stabbing myself with food or drink or any other item that may have entered my mouth. I get canker sores and bite myself all the time so I wasn't worried. The dentist checked my clicky jaw and my salivary glands.  I was pronounced healthy and an upstanding member of the American Express Blue Card Army.

Once the generous applications of numbing gel wore off I went about life as usual. With the numbing gel the cleaning had been not fun exactly but perfectly fine.

This morning I had my raisin bran at my desk as usual and as I chewed the last bite suddenly my mouth filled up with saliva. So I swallowed it, 'cause I'm no dummy, and it filled again.

And again.

And again.

And pretty much all day long since that point about 6 hours ago. This has never happened to me before. I've only heard about it happening to pregnant women and please believe me when I assure you that I am not one of those. I looked at a pregnant woman on the street this morning and I walked past a woman with a newborn but that's as close as it gets. The spit is coming from the sublingual glands right back near where the blistery situation is but on both sides not just one. It gets worse when I eat but I think that's normal since you salivate more when you eat no matter what, that's what makes the food go down. I'm not nauseated so it's not a precursor to Yakfest July 2011 from what I can tell.  I didn't ding my glands with my bran flakes. I haven't eaten anything spicy. I held off googling as long as I could. Finally I had to at least see if the first result was, "QUICK BEFORE YOUR TONGUE FALLS OUT!"

It wasn't.

In essence all the google results can be summed up as, "It's spit. Swallow it. Now get off google before you hurt yourself." The one helpful thing I found (for real, folks, are there people who don't know that babies drool a lot when they're teething, 'cause if there are can we please ask those people never to be in charge of actual babies?) is that sudden onset of excessive saliva production can indicate poisoning, especially from pesticides. Did my two scoops have a bad raisin in them? The non-tongue parts of the floor of my mouth feel slightly swollen and my throat is a little sore but it's hard to tell if that's a symptom or if it's a consequence of all the swallowing I'm having to do. (Dirty!) I've got some muscle pain in my jaw, neck and right arm but I think that's a result of getting tense about not knowing what the hell is going on and if I'm supposed to be worried so it's just from clenching. Didn't you know? Clenching your muscles solves problems. So many problems. If more people clenched we'd have solved this debt ceiling issue already.

Um, wait...

Anyway, back to my mouth. I did finally decide it made sense to call the dentist. I mean, what if the answer is, "Oh yeah, that's pretty rare but it sometimes happens after cleaning/polishing/generous application of numbing gel. It'll go away in a day/week/hopefully."? However, the dentist has an even better work schedule than I do. Mondays, Wednesdays, short day Fridays and one Saturday per month. So I've decided to sleep on it and call him tomorrow.

In the mean time, of course, I worry. I try not to because it's almost never as bad as my imagination makes it out to be but I do worry a little. It makes the inside of my head like a high school debate club meeting. Everyone gets to speak and everyone gets to have a rebuttal.

  • What if that blood blister is a tumor and you're about to lose half your face? Why exactly would that suddenly manifest itself exactly 24 hours after a dentist appointment where it was discovered?
  • What if this never stops? What if you give it a minute?
  • What if I have to have my salivary glands removed and I don't have spit and I have to stop acting and singing forever? That's not going to affect your writing, is it?
  • What if it's the baby oil you gently swirled in your outer ear canal with a q-tip this morning? I don't know, maybe it is. Can't see how it would cause this, though, I've done worse things to my ear canal.
  • What if you ate bad sushi last night? Seems like it took an awfully long time to kick in.
  • What if you're allergic to lobster? You ate the lobster 5 days ago.
  • What if it's some other allergic reaction related to the itchy face you've had since Sunday night and you've been ignoring it so long that it's spread to your innards and most of them will have to be removed? That would suck. But your face is a whole lot less itchy today so at least that's a win.
  • What if you need treatment, maybe even hospitalization, and it interferes with your plans to go to Blogher and tour California? Call the dentist tomorrow so we get that shit taken care of before it can. We've got three weeks. Let's make them count.
  • Is that an itch on my back? Shut up.

You get the idea. If you've got any experience with sudden excessive saliva production and why I don't need to worry about it (or should seek treatment with dispatch) please let me know. For now, in case it is some low level allergic reaction, I've taken a Tylenol allergy pill and I might follow it with an advil to try and reduce the swelling and combat the reaction.

Tomorrow I will call the dentist. I promise.

*The alternate title of this post is A Hypochondriac Is Born.


  1. Anonymous4:20 PM

    no idea or experience whatsoever, just excessive sympathy, that sucks!! only thought that comes to mind, did they use anything new on you yesterday, ie tooth scrubbing stuff or whatever? could be an allergy to that. assuming no changes in whatever products you use at home. and yes by all means call the dentist stat!

  2. " sudden onset of excessive saliva production can indicate poisoning, especially from pesticides."

    You could be having a reaction to the actual cleaning and what-not that they did to you at the Dentist. It's possible you were more tense in the seat than usual, causing strain in the jaw muscles. Any way. I think most guys like it when you swallow. So...there's that.