Saturday, December 13, 2014

A root canal frenzy

God bless endodontists
So, radiation is a blessing and a curse.  I believe that radiation treatment has preserved my life this long so that I could find a definitive solution that wasn't available a year ago.  But, it hasn't been kind to my teeth.  Yesterday I spent several hours with my dear friend Daniel Burr, an amazing endodontist.  I don't want to show up in Houston with infections.  They tell me that would be grounds to eliminate me from the study.  High levels of radiation damages blood vessels.  In my case the bone has been damaged as well as my teeth.    Yesterday Daniel and I decided to find out just how many teeth might have died due to loss of blood supply.  It was an exciting day.  I had 8 more root canal treatments yesterday, a new record for my friend to start on one patient.  Essentially all of my back teeth on the right hand side but one had died and a few front teeth as well.  That brings the count on root canal treatments to ten in the last two weeks.  I am so grateful to my friend for taking so much time to take care of me.  And to my patients I want to tell you, I'm sorry that drilling is so unpleasant. It rattles, smells bad and is just generally unnerving.  I have done this to people for 26 years and I need to be more sympathetic.

Slightly used mandible for sale
On an interesting note, JoLynne has been researching how my jaw might be rebuilt once the cancer is defeated.  There are amazing things going on.  One of the pioneers is a Dr. Marx from Miami.  He is using stem cells and cadaver bone scaffolds to grow new jaws.  He grows it in the patients back and them moves it over when it is ready.  My friend the oral surgeon just downstairs from me just returned from Chicago listening to him speak.  Where do I sign up?  I need one of those.

6 comments:

  1. Thank you so very much for the update. I pray for you several times each day. Best wishes!

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  2. Oh Dr. V! Bless your heart as well as your teeth! Bless Daniel too! I'm so excited for you to get to Texas and begin your hopefully final battle with that darn (not damm!) cancer. Paul and I hope you and your family enjoy a Christ centered Christmas. Our Savior is certainly aware of us all and the situations we find ourselves in in this earthly sojourn. Paul and pray for you daily we love you and Jolynne!

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  3. Wow the incredible medical discoveries these days eh?! I am so so glad you have Daniel Burr to help you out - what a fabulous family they all are. I will be having my first root canal Wednesday and figure if you can make it thru 10, then I shouldn't be so anxious for just 1. I love you all so much and am keeping you in my prayers!

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  4. I know you've always been empathetic about my experience in the dental chair. Sorry you've had so much of it recently. Dr Burr is great! The idea of growing a jaw on your back brings up a whole new view to backbiting, doesn't it? We pray for you and your family daily Eric. Hang in there!

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  5. So glad your journey has taken you to this point. The days of healing are now upon you and you don't have to worry about things getting worse. Root canal is like putting a hold on the trouble from spreading, so the pain will finally be gone. Talk about an inspiration for all of us who are terrified of the dentist.

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  6. This is such a positive and upbeat blog, and it really gives a lot of information. I had no idea radiation would harm teeth, and knowing that makes me aware that I need to speak to my own doctor who has recommended radiation treatments for me. The information about growing a new jaw was fascinating, and I hope it works out for you.

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