The specialty dentist, Dr. W, had room in her schedule today, so I went in at 2pm to have a dental exam and consult before chemotherapy next week.
Dr. W had me do a full x ray and then she measured my gum line for pockets and visually inspected my teeth to make sure there were none in need of new fillings or crowns. Although I have some deep pockets, particularly in the back, it looks like my mouth and teeth health are good to go for next week. I learned a number of new things:
* one of the fallouts of chemotherapy is mucositis because the mouth is a place where the cells are rapidly growing, just like the tumors in the left lower lobe of my lung. So chemo can and probably will cause shedding inside my mouth, and consequently irritation and pain.
* there is a mouthwash I can make from two over the counter items to numb the inside of my mouth. She gave me a prescription for a gel to coat the sides of my mouth before I eat when it gets too bad. She said ice can be used but to be careful, so I don't craze or crack the enamel from too vigorous ice chewing.
* eventually I will be unable to use my Sonicare toothbrush because of the tenderness, so she provided me with an extra soft toothbrush for those days. While I am still able to use the Sonicare, she recommended the smallest size brush because it reaches more places in the mouth.
* because the port for the chemotherapy they are planning to install in my chest next week will be below the skin, I will not need to take antibiotics before going to any future teeth cleaning appointments with the dentist.
* I should get my teeth cleaned before chemo, even though they were back in August, just because it is a good precaution. An appointment has been set for this Wednesday at noon.
To celebrate, I took myself to see Steely Dan at the Paramount Theater tonight. They performed their album, Aja, in order--all the way through. And if that was not enough, they then played some of my favorites from their albums over the years including "Do It Again (click on the title of this post to hear the recorded version)," "Show Business Kids," and "My Old School." They ended their concert with an encore, "Reeling in the Years." I could not have asked for more. I have never heard them sound better. If they show up near you, I can highly recommend them, even though the tickets cost an arm and leg. The music was absolutely first rate. And Donald Fagen told the audience that the Paramount was Steely Dan's first big venue back in 1972. They opened for the James Gang!