• Dental Phobia Support

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tori removal--terrified!

Day 23: Thanks, as always, Carole! You have been a great support! So I saw the dentist yesterday. He said the white/tan crusty stuff on my tongue doesn't look like thrush, but he prescribed anti-fungal lozenges for me anyway. I'm thinking, what other kind of random infection could I have gotten during this process, when I've been on antibiotics of one kind or another for 3 weeks?? He also said the incision "looks great" and that I "shouldn't be in pain anymore!" I told him I am, sometimes, especially at the back where the incision hasn't closed up entirely, but he was busy writing something and I don't know if he heard me. Ugh. The lozenges are hard and scratchy (I was imagining something clear and slick, like a hard candy.) and uncomfortable on the roof of my mouth. So I just hold them on my tongue. I'm thinking about how my diet has been almost entirely starches for 3 weeks: protein smoothies and/or oatmeal for breakfast, creamed soups and yogurt for lunch, ice cream and more smoothies for snacks, mashed potatoes with every dinner...moist birthday cake many days (my birthday came and went too!). No raw vegetables at all, no meats except flaky fish, no salads. So I'm going to change back into a more normal diet starting today to help this thrush along, and also because I think my palate can handle it. The last time I felt the incision split a bit was 2 nights ago when I wore the stint briefly...it hurt when I took it off and I could taste the salty taste of a little blood or pus or whatever. So I'm never going to wear it again so I can finish healing. I will just have to eat and chew very consciously, and still don't plan to eat anything really crunch or rough.

Nothing I read before the surgery, nor this dentist, addressed stamina/energy related to the recovery process. I've had surgery before, and tend to recover my energy slowly, so I was interested in this, and maybe others will be. I don't have all my energy back, although I'm back on a regular schedule. But I need to lie down occasionally, and I'm really tired by 9:00 or so--I can't do anything more at that point. I wouldn't consider anything truly active yet--a bike ride, a day in the city, being on my feet for more than a couple of hours, etc. Not complaining, but recording this because it's a relevant and overlooked part of the recovery process!

I've also been thinking about this dentist/doctor and why it seems he didn't get so much of what has been happening with my recovery. I'm thinking that since he's an MD as well as a DDS, and worked in a major hospital for most of his career, I bet he's an expert in things like cleft palates, facial deformities, broken jaws, etc. I'm thinking, despite his reputation and degrees, he maybe isn't as experienced in tori removal, which is a purely dental issue. Maybe I would have been better off with a regular oral surgeon, DDS. It doesn't help to second guess, but I have been surprised all along that he seems less knowledgable than I would have liked, and it's thought-provoking.

I see the oral-facial therapist next week and will get back to work on the tongue-thrust and swallowing issues that brought me to surgery in the first place. (Swallowing is an entirely different experience without the torus, as is speaking, so this was the right decision.)

OK...I'll probably write less often (or shorter) at this point, although I will keep recording till it's over. But I'm not expecting anything dramatic to happen and think I'm most of the way there. :)
 
Day 26: The "hole" in the skin of my palate is still there, but is getting smaller and smaller--the scar tissue seems to be growing in from front to back. And I'm certain there's no more exposed bone--just kind of a little canyon at the incision in back, only about 1/4 inch long now. It's raw and definitely still healing, and I am really tired of it and ready for it to be gone! Among other things, it affects what I can eat still, and as much as I want to be on a normal diet for the sake of the fungal issue on my tongue (oh--this is all so gross--I'm sorry!) I still can't eat whatever I want. And I'm hungry! Today I was at a restaurant for lunch and ordered a tuna salad...thinking the tuna would be fine and I'd just chew up the lettuce really well. The salad was really big, and I was SO hungry...so I wasn't careful enough. When I finished, the open area really stung and was swollen. Then I got very sad (because I miss eating!) and I worried that I had ripped it more. But I don't think so...the swelling is down now. The thrush issue is better, but far from gone. (I'm supposed to suck on these lozenges for a total of 2 weeks.) So now I am just complaining! I was so hungry, the salad tasted so good, I just wanted to enjoy it, but eating it was a mistake. Oh well. I hope it's just a few more days till the last of the incision closes up...
 
Hello Leya. I have just read through your whole experience of a torus removal and I can say, wow, you are
very brave. The topic caught my eye, as my prosthodontist had said that I may have trouble with mine after I had my teeth removed a short while ago (May 6) and am in the process of getting permanent dentures.

Apparently, the surgeon who did my tooth extraction will probably be recommending a removal of the torus in a couple of months to enable the dentures to fit better. After reading your story, I am now going to strongly oppose this. I thank you for the details you have shared and I really hope that your journey to healing continues. I too am missing eating a good meal! I have temporary dentures at the moment and am finding it difficult eating; but I can see it getting better over time; your details of what you went through have really helped me in making a decision for non removal. Thank you.:)
 
Hi Leya see already your journal has helped the first person reach a decision. I am really hoping that soon all your woe's are gone and you can just tuck into a favourite meal without having to plan how you are going to enjoy it.

All the best to you :respect::respect::respect::deadhorse::deadhorse::deadhorse::madcow::brickwall::brickwall::brickwall::thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::butterfly:
 
Hi Second Smile, I am convinced my experience was not typical, so I hope I haven't totally scared you away from something that might be helpful! One atypical thing was the size of my torus--it filled most of my palate, down to the level of where my gums met my molars. So the skin was stretched really thin and that was a huge factor in why the incision split. I was doing really well the first week, before the dentist took out the stitches and the skin pulling apart and decomposing. If I had stayed on that path I think the story would have been different! Also, a good splint, one that would have covered the incision without pressing on it, one I could have worn for eating through the recovery, would have really helped! Hopefully having your torus removed will be optional, but if it's necessary, I hope the information here will help you get it done right! Best of luck!
 
Day 29, also 4 weeks one day: So...I expected to be totally healed by now. From what I had read, this is the point at which people who got a torus removed for dentures get them and move on. I still have that 1/4 inch split in back--it tastes a little salty and is a little mushy compared to the rest of the scar, so I know it's still healing. The scar that's there has filled in the area I described as mushy in the first week--I think it replaced all the skin that ultimately didn't adhere. So there's about a 1/2 inch wide numb (slightly bumpy and slippery!) line down the middle of my palate--all the way to the last 1/4 inch...which will hopefully fill in soon! I'm back to softer foods--one meal each day is still a protein smoothie, all my vegetables are overcooked, no biting into sandwiches, etc. I want that last part to heal up, and think I irritated it too many times when eating, so I'll do this till that last part feels healed.

My tongue fungus situation is about 50% better, meaning my tongue is now pink at the tip and along the sides but the center is still that tan/white color. The crusty stuff is gone, as is the stinging. I read up on this, and part of the advice is to eat fresh, crunchy fruits and vegetables to cleanse the tongue, but I can't yet because of my palate.

Energy-wise, I think I have almost all of it back. I don't get that "I need to lie down and rest" feeling anymore, although I haven't had a really active day yet, and I do get out of breath if I run up the stairs, for example. But gut feels good again, and generally I feel fine. So I'm very close (but didn't I think that last week?).
 
Would it work if you blended the raw vegs then drink them?

If you go back and read your first few posts you will see how far you have come. I think you have been very brave and still are with this :respect::respect::respect::thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::butterfly::star::star::star:
 
Day 32: As always, thanks, Carole! I had been blending vegetables into my smoothies, but I think it was the crunch and juice that needed wash over my tongue to finally clear the fungal thing up. Anyway, it is almost entirely gone! My tongue is mostly pink, with just a little bit of white, and absolutely no crusty spots and no stinging. I'm so happy--one less thing to worry about. I'm still using the lozenges (and brushing my tongue--I'm not sure I mentioned that), probably just for a couple more days to make sure it's really gone. Also, I've been eating salads and raw fruits again--because I finally can! There is still that area in the back that stings sometimes (and is still healing--I can tell), but I can chew things up in the front without any discomfort at all. I still won't try biting into anything rough or really hard though--like toast or a hard vegetable like a carrot. I'll wait for that last part to heal, and even then I'll be really careful. My palate under the scar tissue sometimes aches just a bit when I eat something chewy (like chewing a piece of meat), and I'm guessing that's the bone, which must be healing still. My energy is fine now--I'm just a little weaker than before the surgery, but I'm working on that. So I feel like a normal person now--finally!

Those flaps of skin I was worried about after the incision split have mostly disappeared. I think when the incision split, it was swollen, so the skin stuck out. Scar tissue has completely filled in and covered the gap, except in back still (where I do have small flaps of skin--I'm hoping and assuming that scar tissue will fill that area). I'm not sure the dentist knew that when the swelling went down and the scar tissue grew the flaps of skin would go away--because he talked about removing them. Another relief, as the last thing I can imagine is another procedure that would make my palate hurt! I'm thinking the area in the back is the last to heal because the incision there crossed onto my soft palate, which moves when I talk and swallow. I did a lot of talking today, and that area got sore.

But really, not a lot to complain about! I feel like I can go about my life and not be worried, in discomfort, or tired. Just a little bit more to go...
 
Day 37 (5 weeks, 2 days): I had my final appointment with the dentist today. He was really happy, saying I had a wonderful result. The recovery was so full of unpleasant surprises that to me, it's impossible to call this wonderful. But I'm doing well. Here's what's left: I still have that 1/4 inch area in back that's not totally filled in with scar tissue. I saw the oral-facial therapist yesterday, and by the end of the appointment, it was bleeding. (She said to hold off on all of oral exercises for another week or two.) The dentist also said that area should be completely healed in a week or two. It still can sting after I eat, or if I drink with a straw. (I learned this the hard way, so I'll stop!) Sometimes, after I eat, I still get a low-level achy feeling under the skin, which I assume is healing bone. Given these things, I still won't consider eating anything really hard or crunchy yet. But I can eat everything else. I stopped the lozenges for my tongue a couple of days ago. My tongue actually seems to have gotten whiter, but the dentist said it's normal. It's not quite normal for me though, so I'm going to step up the fruits and raw vegetables, and hopefully it'll return to pink. And, I have my energy back, as much as I need to do everything again.

I asked him about the incision splitting (because that was the most traumatic and surprising part of this and I'm still not over it!), and he said "they all do because the skin there is so thin." Again, I'm thinking, really? I asked, "You mean no matter what size a torus is, the incision splits?" And he said, "To some degree or another, which is why we make the splint." Well, the splint didn't work out for me, but that's another matter. But, for anyone who might be having a palatial torus removed, I'd ask about this! Because I don't think it had to happen--at least not according to the (few and far between) articles I read. I'd also ask a lot of questions about the splint. My splint pressed so hard, it hurt to wear it, so I had to stop. Then I had to continue on a soft, starchy diet and developed a fungal infection. If I could do it again, I'd ask him to save the impression so he could make a second splint if needed--because the first one is a guess; they don't know what the shape or height of your palate will be till after the procedure (when they can't make an impression).

So it's over, at least in terms of feeling like I'm back to normal. The procedure itself, which I was SO scared of (so much more than I wrote about--I was kind of blocking it out), was not so hard, given the IV sedation. The recovery was very complicated, but I'm not sure it had to be. And there's still just a bit to go. I'll pop back when the back of my palate has finally closed up--just to record the total recovery time. But I made it! Yay!
 
I am glad that you have got to the end of this as far as seeing the dentist. It must be frustrating and a little bit annoying that you are not actually healed totally as we know it. I have enjoyed reading how you have got on and I hope even when you do feel healed that you will drop in from time to time and stay in touch.

Until then though I look forward to hearing about your final part of this and the completion of you healing. You have been so so brave and very informative. THANK YOU VERY MUCH for taking the time when I am sure at times you didn't feel up to it.

All the best to you and heal fast :cheer::cheer::cheer::hug5::friends::thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::yayy::perfect::butterfly:
 
Thank you Carole! Your support has been invaluable. It made such a big difference to know I wasn't alone.
 
7 weeks: I thought for sure I'd come back last week to say, "I'm all healed!" but I wasn't then and still have a little (little!) bit to go. That last quarter inch of the incision is very stubborn--tissue has been gradually filling in. However, most of the discomfort of that area is over, except for the very end of it closest to my throat--a small spot. I still think this is because it's my soft palate back there, and so the area moves with every swallow. There is still a small flap of skin sticking out along side that back area too, and I'm concerned that it may not go away entirely. The dentist, at my last visit, said I could get it removed but that it wasn't medically necessary. I'm going to wait a very long time before I even consider having anything done that will make any part of my mouth sore! This has been such a long process and I'm so tired of discomfort!

Otherwise, I have that dull achy feeling on my palate only once in a while now (once every 3 days or so?) and more general stinging over my palate only if I eat a very crunchy or rough meal. Which I do anyway! At this point, I'd rather eat well and just deal with the sting. (It goes away completely with Motrin.)

The scar on my palate seems to have gotten a little wider. It seems like most of my palate area is scar tissue now. The scar is completely numb and cool (for example, if I touch it with my tongue, it feels cool compared to the skin next to my teeth). I'm thinking there's no blood flow at all, so it never warms up. And I'm a little worried about that, whether it's OK to have a large area in my mouth, covering bone, that has no blood flow--for the rest of my life! But this is why I found this site!--I tend to worry and imagine the worst. I'll ask my doctor about this the next time I see him.

The good news is that I can swallow and talk so much more easily. I've started exercises to get my tongue moving the right way and they are working. I'm glad I at least got the result I was hoping for.
 
Hi I haven't much to say but I just wanted to let you know I am still here rooting for you. I am really pleased for you that things are getting better and that you are nearly there.

All the best to you and I am willing all this to go away for you now, it has been long enough :respect::respect::respect: :butterfly:
 
Week 11: Just thought I'd pop back with (hopefully) the last update. I'm doing well, and really this is over with just a couple of small details. All the aches and stings are gone unless I eat a really rough meal, or suck on something thick with a straw (like a smoothie). Then I can have just a bit of discomfort, just a small reminder something was done to my palate.

That flap of skin in back is still there, but smaller. Maybe it was swollen before, or maybe it's wearing away over time?? I doubt I'll have it removed, and certainly not any time soon.

I'm working with the oral-facial therapist to get my tongue functioning correctly still, and it's going well. She commented today how relaxed my face looked, and that with the large tori before, I my mouth muscles must have been straining as I attempted to talk and swallow around the lump on my palate. (For example, it felt unnatural to close my mouth before; now I close it without thinking.) We discussed the fact that the shape of my face has changed slightly. With the tori filling in my palate, I couldn't put my tongue up between my top teeth so my bite was unusually narrow. Now my teeth are shifting outwards and my cheeks look fuller. This is a good thing--I feel like I look better.

I'll go away now, assuming nothing more comes up. My overall conclusion is--this was a major procedure!! My dentist told me it's "routine" (but for denture wearers with smaller tori) and "not a big deal," but given the size of my torus, this was a very big deal. I feel much less silly for waiting till I felt completely ready.

Thank you for being here! Being able to write about this was so helpful to me, and I hope the information is helpful to someone else some day! (Thank you Carole!!! You were so generous, and your pep talks really made a difference! Best wishes to you!)
 
Hi Leya! I hope this reaches you~

I am having mandibular tori removed (there are pics attached to my post).


Thank you for chronicling your "adventure." I still plan to go through with it, my biggest concern is the pain. I will also ask what my dr is going to do to protect my gum tissue after surgery as I imagine I won't have any sort of stint like you had.

I'm glad you're healing well and wish you all the best! It's scary to have VERY LITTLE information out there~

Stephanie

PS~do you have any before and after photos?
 
It has been 6 months and I thought I'd post about the rest of my recovery. I hope this helps someone! It has taken these 6 months to fully recover.

I tried getting back to my regular work-out program about 2 months after the surgery--swimming laps, some relatively gentle exercises, biking for recreation. Even though I started very slowly (I was still tired!), I ended up reactivating all of my old injuries--my shoulder (from a dislocation years ago), my ankle (from a sprain, years ago), my IT bands, my neck, my back (from an accident). I went to a sports MD and she said she has heard of this--patients who had bone surgery who had old injuries act up during recovery. She said the bone healing process somehow can cause a more general inflammatory process to kick in. I'm in my 50's--I'd guess it's a little age-related. She prescribed some PT. About a month later, I saw my internist because my tongue still wasn't quite right and I was still having mild digestive issues, and just to get some reassurance! He said it takes 6 months for bunion patients to be fully up and about and since the tori was about the size of a bunion, he wasn't surprised I was not feeling completely well. He prescribed oral Nystatin and probiotics, which helped with my tongue, digestion as well as my energy level.

It took another couple of months for those old injured places to feel OK. I'm finally back to my original stamina for swimming. I still am having some back issues so biking is an issue. The other places are basically OK but I'm still doing the PT exercises and checking in every couple of weeks until everything stablizes.

Also, my teeth have continued to shift. My top teeth have been coming forward since the surgery. No big deal (and I think I look better actually) but I hope they stop soon.

I can speak normally now, and that is the biggest reason I had the surgery. It was really depressing to feel like I had lost my ability to be articulate, and now that I am again, I'm very relieved. I am annoyed that the whole process took this long but I am a slow healer...previous surgeries had taken longer than doctors had anticipated. So I hope this doesn't scare anyone!--but I also believe that if there was more information out there, people could make more informed decisions. I didn't have any information really, and although I'm glad I had the surgery, it would have been good to know what to expect. (Thank you for having this forum for me to write about it!!)
 
@Leya I am officially 48 hours post op from mine. They fully sedated me, but I still woke up before they were finished. Mine covered over 95% of my hard palate. Reading about your recovery has answered some questions that I didn't think to ask.
 
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