A scanner connoisseur, I added a new scan to my appointment this week.
The oral surgeon’s office has a newfangled scanner called a CBCT: Cone Beam Computed Tomography. I’ve had MRIs, CTs, tomography (um, regular??) and now CBCT.
The CBCT scanner is quick, easy and tunnel-free. It provides standing room only. The best part, it only outputs about 1/100th of the radiation of a traditional CT scan.
“Put your chin up against this small cupped rail, stand still, and the two scanner parts will circle around your head. It’ll take about two minutes.”
The images pulled up immediately afterward. How weird to see what looked like a hologram of my lil’ ol’ skeletal head. Freaky, but cool.
My dentist recommended I see the oral surgeon and have him take x-rays of my jaw joint. A couple months ago, my left jaw bone seemed to crack, crumble and then – OUCH – get stuck, on and off, for a week or two.
Taking no chances, my dentist wanted to make sure all was mechanically ok and I wouldn’t be unexpectedly experiencing a frozen jaw anytime soon.
And for once, I heard really great news at a surgeon’s office. In fact, he went so far as to say that my jaw bones, both sides, looked really, really good. Well, ok, really, really good for someone who has had Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis for four decades.
I’ll take it.
“Wow, now that’s something I seldom hear: ‘Kris, you have really good bones.’ Woo hoo!” The surgeon chuckled.
“I’m happy to say there’s no need for surgery and you should be just fine. And keep up the singing lessons. They probably are helping.”
Whaddaya know. Another payoff for my newfound fun.
I started taking singing lessons a year ago. I’ve never sung in my life, not even in a choir. But it’s been tugging at me the last few years, so I decided to give in and see if there is anything there that wouldn’t scare human or animal.
Apparently, there is – I mean, there is some ability there. Anyway, my instructor keeps after me to relax my jaw.
Four decades of arthritis taught my body to remain tense to protect it from pain. While constant pain is long gone, my body didn’t get that part of the message. So tense it remains.
Forcing my jaw muscles to relax is challenging. It’s what caused the cracking and crumbling recently. Then it went into spasm (locking and unlocking my jaw) for a few weeks while it figured out what to do with its newfound state of relaxation.
My dentist noted that I could open my jaw wider than in the last decade he’s seen me. I notice it, too. And my singing instructor happily notices more movement for singing.
I’ve found singing is good for the soul. Who knew it was good for jaw muscles, too?
Oh yea, and for opening doors to new scanners, as well. Woo hoo.
Reprinted with kindly permission from the Journal of Nursing Jocularity.