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Dental Surgery Disappointment

Today has been a disappointing day. I had an appointment with an oral surgeon this morning. It didn't go as expected.

I guess I should start at the beginning. Several years ago, the roof of my mouth would wake me up itching. I know that sounds weird, but what about our bodies isn't weird? Anyway, I would have to rub the roof of my mouth with my tongue to relieve the itching. I assumed it was an allergy issue. I tried monitoring what I ate to see if there was a correlation, but it had no rhyme or reason. This intense itching in the roof of my mouth continued off and on for a year or two. 

One day, while my family doctor was checking my tonsils because of a sore throat, he discovered a bony growth. My physician said he had seen these bony growths before, but he couldn't recall what they were called. Of course, I was curious as to what was growing in the roof of my mouth. Finally, thanks to Google, I discovered it's called torus palatinus. Apparently, it is a benign growth. People can live with these and never have them removed. The only reason for removal is if the tori is interfering with mouth function or to accommodate dentures. 

Yes, you guessed it, I need dentures. I've always had a severe overbite. My parents couldn't afford orthodontic braces when I was a child. My bite is so bad, my lower teeth are cutting the roots of my upper teeth. I have sores and scar tissue behind my front teeth from 40+ years of my lower teeth cutting into the gums as I chew. My dentist kept telling me to hang onto my natural teeth as long as I could. Great advice from an individual who doesn't live with the fear of eating. If you haven't walked in someone's shoes you don't truly understand their point of view. In a perfect world, I wouldn't have this issue, but here we are, now what. 

My dentist will not extract my teeth or fit me a denture until I have an oral surgeon remove my torus palatinus. After a couple years, that's right YEARS!, of trying to explain myself to my dentist, he very flippantly agreed to refer me to an oral surgeon. He told me the surgeon could do my extractions while I was under anesthesia for the tori removal. It sounds like I'm finally getting somewhere. 

*Appointment set up - check
*Referral printed        - check
*Xrays in hand           - check
*Double check that oral surgeon is in-network with my dental ins - check
*Husband will be able to use paid days off to help with my recovery -check
*Fill out 8 pages of new patient forms - check


I left for my appointment this morning very hopeful. I was filled with relief to finally be moving toward pain-free eating. Even after waiting for almost 2 hours in the waiting room, I was happy as could be. When they finally called me back, they wanted to do more xrays. The ones my dentist sent were just tiny bitewings. I'm thinking, I have no problem paying for more xrays, let's get the surgery scheduled. The very kind dental assistant escorted me to a room after taking the new xray. I sat another 30 or so minutes waiting for the surgeon to come in my room. I'm still cheerful, just sitting, staring at a wall.


Finally, the moment comes, there's a knock and in walks the surgeon. He proceeds to tilt my head back and look in my mouth. He says the surgery to remove a tori is very complicated and serious. There can be bleeding that fills your lungs. He doesn't do that type of extensive work. That type of surgery has to be done in an operating room with anesthesia. He's happy to send a copy of my new xray with me to whomever I can find that will perform my surgery. In parting, he tells me his office will bill my insurance for today's visit.


Wait, what just happened??? Now I'm back to the beginning again. Will I ever find an oral surgeon that can and will perform my surgery? I'm saddened and frustrated. Why won't they extract my teeth and place a denture over my tori? The dentist said the denture wouldn't suction well in the roof of my mouth with the tori. I don't care if it doesn't suction, I'll use denture adhesive. Please, someone, give me a reason this isn't a viable option? 


I was told in an Ankylosing Spondylitis support group, I should insist on having the denture placed without the tori removed. My dentist reportedly had never heard of this being done. The members of the support group said if I have the tori removed, it'll be likened to our spine's fusion. The immune response will make the roof of my mouth replace the bony growth.


I'm so confused about what step to take next. Please, if any of my readers have any experience with torus palatinus, comment, any advice is sincerely appreciated.


Gentle hugs to all my AS warrior friends!

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