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Struggling With Dental Problems


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Hi all.

 

Struggling right now with dental problems.  I don't have very good teeth and have had lots of work done over the years.  Especially in the last year or so, I've had a lot of work done.

 

I'm wearing adult braces and it's been about 3 1/2 years now.  In the last year I've had 2 root canals done and I've had another a few years earlier.  Can't get crowns until the braces come off.  At the end of my rope with the braces right now.  They're still trying to make a slight bite change with orthodontic rubber bands (elastics).

 

I also had orthognathic (double jaw surgery) in July 2014.  They corrected an over bit and cross bite for me.

 

Now I've been having pain in a tooth on the lower left side, for the last 8 months.  I've seen my dentist and my endodontist for it several times in the last 8 months.  It has the typical root canal symptoms, except now it's gotten worse and the pain is constant and unbearable.

 

The pain is a constant, dull, throbbing pain and it gets worse when biting or chewing.  I also get an extremely sharp pain with cold temperatures, that lingers well after the cold is removed.  I have some sensitivity to hot temperatures, but not as bad.

 

I finally called up my dentist and got in to see him last week.  He wasn't sure what was going on so he referred me to the endodontist again.  I went to see the endodontist yesterday.  I thought that #22 was the tooth causing the problem, but it isn't.  This tooth is having problems with the bite changes from my braces.

 

We found out that the tooth causing the problem is my furthest back lower left molar, #18.  It has a deep cavity that's near the gum line.  Being so close to the gum line is what made it so hard to detect earlier.

 

The endodontist thinks the cavity may have already gotten into the root, so we’re going to do a root canal right away instead of a filling.  I have an appointment for the root canal this coming Tuesday, June 30th.

 

We also found out that I have another tooth #23 that has signs of resorption. From what I understand the root is dissolving. For now we're going to watch the tooth, but it will eventually need a root canal and/or possibly extraction followed by an implant.

 

I'm glad that we finally found the source of my pain in #18. At least now we can fix it. I know and trust this endodontist, but I have pretty severe dental phobia and anxiety. I'm looking forward to the appointment because it'll make my pain go away, but at the same time I don't know how I'm going to sit in that office for 2 hours.

I have a routine that I follow for these situations. It helps some but not completely. I take a portable CD player with noise cancelling headphones and listen to music during the procedure. I also take a stress ball to hold in my hand and I take some herbal anti-anxiety medication before hand.

Just the noise of the dental drill alone makes me anxious, so the music is necessary. I've had a lot of dental work done in my life, so I'm sure this contributes to the problem. I also have very sensitive teeth and often times need extra medication to numb me during a procedure. Twice already, I've had procedures where the doctor had to stop and give me more medication.

 

I’m going to stop by the office briefly today to pick up a prescription for a pain medication.  Over the counter medications are not helping.

 

I go to get off my bottom braces next week and the top braces come off the following week.

 

Does anyone have any advice on coping with dental procedures and dental phobia and anxiety?

Thanks.

JJ

Edited by SFChristianGirl
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     Dear JJ,

 

       I'm sorry you're suffering from these things. I, too have had issues with my teeth. Take it from a pro when it comes to dealing with the aches and pains from teeth. There are some things that are possibilities for the relief you deserve. Lets start with the cavity close to the gum. There's a product available, over the counter, that is a temporary filling. It's made just for your purpose. It doesn't cost very much considering the pain it will help with. If you can't afford to go to the local 24 hour pharmacy or local Walmart, in a pinch, you can use crackers. It will be a little harder to pack the cavity with crackers since it's on the side of the tooth.

      If you wanted to permanently relieve the pain, you can use a q-tip and iodine. But be fore-warned, it will essentially k**l all feelings from the tooth or teeth. You can do this to all of your teeth if you feel so inclined to do so. The Iodine k**ls the nerves that are in the teeth and under them. It may take a few times of doing it to get the Iodine absorbed by the gum and under the tooth or teeth. It does work eventually because I have done it. I had all of my teeth pulled before I was 34 years old from being born with Osteoporosis and being diagnosed with Degenerative Bone Disease later in life.

      I wish you well. I also hope that what I have posted helps in some way. Have a good day dear.

               

                                                                                                              Sincerely,

                                                                                                              Curtis 

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I'm not good with medical terms and can only add to your post a little bit sadly since I'm not as knowledgeable but I am sorry to hear you are having so much pain with your teeth. I freaking hate teeth pain. I hate the thought of them being pulled, drilled into, broken. It makes me cringe. It seems like you formed a type of fear from your other visits to the dentist. Do you think something then set it off where now you are reminded of something that give you anxiety? I actually thought the stress ball and the headphones were a good idea. I didn't know you could take headphones to the dentist. Learn something new everyday.

 

 I usually have something really cold like a popsicle when my teeth are aching. I really wish I had good advice to give you. I hate that you're in so much pain and wish it could go away.

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I know how you feel. I had terrible problems with my teeth as a kid and had to spend a couple of years going to a free dental clinic getting them fixed. It was a teaching clinic so all my fillings were done twice (temporary fillings, then drilled out for permanent fillings). I developed a real fear of dentists from that. Years later I had to have a root canal on one of my old problem teeth. It was done in two, hour long sessions. After the first session, I got cold feet and put the second session off for months (I just didnt want to deal with it). But I ended up screwing myself over because I'd left it too long and the antibiotic packing had stopped working and bacteria started growing on it. (my tooth actually felt unbearably itchy on the inside!). I went back and had two more long sessions to get it complete. I don't know if there is anything that can make root canals that bearable, you have to spend so long in the chair that it's like an endurance test. But if you can stick it out, it's all over and done with. when I was in the throes of it, I wished I just had an extraction done but once it was all over with (it took me another year or so before I could push myself to get a crown fitted) it felt great to have that tooth restored and working again. I think everyone hates root canals so you aren't alone. It's just a case of pushing yourself through each stage to get it over with and once you get to the other side there is just a lot of relief. I think the headphones and stress ball are great ideas. The other thing that has helped me is to focus on something (like a light or spot on the ceiling) that I can see past the dentist and I distract myself by just trying to block everything else out. It helps a bit

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Yikes I'm so sorry you are having to go thru these dental procedures. I've been very fortunate and have never had anything serious with my teeth sides a couple filling when I was a kid, getting my wisdom teeth out and then having cracked teeth from grinding my teeth and breaking them where the old fillings were. Every dentist visit I have had is extreme anxiety and I too have sensitive teeth and require double the normal freezing.

My dental anxiety is getting very bad and after my last visit for the cracked tooth fixing I think I may go to the "sleepy time" dentist next time, they put you under for procedures.

I find it helps to tell my dentist (remind them). I get extremely anxious during dental procedures. My dentist now is really good and she tells me what she's doing as she goes along. I try to just block it out and count down each minute.

It also motivates me to keep better care of my teeth with daily brushing flossing and I almost never eat hard candy, popcorn or anything that's hard on teeth.

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Hi everyone.

 

Thank you all for your replies, support and advice.

 

This dental anxiety/phobia is something I've been dealing with for a long time now and it's only getting worse.  I'm finding it harder and harder to cope with.

 

I'm not entirely sure what caused me to have dental anxiety/phobia in the first place.  I'm guessing it's the fact that I've had so much work done combined with the fact that it's hard for me to get numb.

 

I really like my current dentist, endodontist and orthodontist.  It's not the people at all.  It's hard to explain really.

 

Let me try and explain.  When I first started having this pain come back 4 weeks ago, I started to get anxious even back then.  I knew what it felt like and where that had led in the past.  It didn't help that this problem has been recurring due to misdagnosis or undiagnosis in the last 8 months.  That has really played a major role in all of this.  I told my doctors what was going on and they did nothing but re-examine and come to the same conclusion.

 

I don't know why my telling them I'm in pain wasn't enough.  They kept looking for physical medical evidence which they couldn't find until a week and a half ago.

 

I'm glad that we have now found the problem and I have an appointment to get it fixed.  I'm thankful that the medications he prescribed are helping.  It took awhile for the pain killer to start working last night, but it worked.  It had a delayed reaction for some reason.

 

Now though, I'm dealing with the same dilemma I've had in the past.  How do I deal with my dental anxiety/phobia?

 

So the anxiety never completely goes away when I know I need work done.  It started when the symptoms started.  It got worse when I went to the dentist and sat in the chair.  It got even worse when I went to the endodontist and sat in that dental chair.

 

For me I get a fight or flight response in these situations.  I can make myself sit there and endure it, but the whole time I feel like I want to get up and run.  This is even with my coping skills that I use.  The music distracts me and I squeeze the stress ball when the anxiety really gets high.

 

I'm glad that they're going to do my root canal all in one, 2 hour appointment.  Having it in two appointments is really hard for me.

 

I'll likely have to have a few breaks during the appointment due to the anxiety.  Often times I'll have one break where I have to get out of the chair for a few minutes to compose myself.  Usually I'll go to the restroom and get myself composed again.

 

My anxiety is totally out of control in these situations.  Not only do I get the emotional symptoms, but I'll get physical symptoms as well like nausea, diarrhea and loss of appetite.

 

I really don't want to go through this all again, but I know it'll fix the problem and take my pain away.

 

Thanks for listening.

 

JJ

Edited by SFChristianGirl
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Good luck for monday. I think you are incredibly brave for doing it all at once. I don't think I could handle 2 hours in the chair because I get too restless. 45 mins is about my maximum and after that I feel like I want to hit the dentist and run away. It's almost like a feeling of being trapped when I'm in that chair but at least it will be all over and done with and you won't have to stress out in between appointments. Good luck and let us know how you go.

Edited by bluegal
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Thanks for your support guys.  Thanks for saying I'm brave, but I'm really not.  I'm terrified and I'm really freaking out over all of this.  The closer I get to my appointment, the more stressed out, freaked out, fearful and anxious I get.  The only reason I'm doing it in one appointment is to get it all over with and be done with it.  I do appreciate you saying so anyways.

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I don't have a phobia, but I keep delaying visiting the dentist. When I got really depressed, I stopped taking care of my teeth properly, and I'm just really horrified with what they might find. I'm terrified that (a) I'm gonna have dentures by the time I'm 40; and (b) I will develop some health condition due to my poor dental hygiene. Not to mention the cost of dental visits, which is not free in Canada either...

 

But congrats on getting your braces off soon! I had adult braces during university and it sucked lol. I really wished I had gotten them when I was a kid like everyone else. But better late than never.

 

I know in my city there are some clinics that specialize in people who hate dentists and they give you the knockout gas, I'm not sure if that's available in your area. Maybe it's something you could ask your dental team. Or maybe your GP could prescribe you something to calm you down before your appointment? Maybe I should check into that too...

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Hi all.

 

Thanks for the suggestions.  I've never tried the nitrous oxide or sedation dentistry before.  I have thought about it in the past.

 

If this gets any worse though, that may be my only option.

 

I'm still really stressing about this appointment.  It's first thing tomorrow morning, so at least it'll be done soon.

 

Thanks.

 

JJ

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Hi all.

 

Thanks for all the replies and support.

 

I just got out of my appointment about an hour ago.  I'm home resting because I was really tired afterwards.

 

The appointment was nerve wracking for me like I expected.  I just have really bad dental anxiety and phobia, so it was difficult for me.  I was on edge emotionally the entire time.

 

All in all it went ok.  My nervousness didn't help, but I let them do the procedure.  It was one 2 hour appointment which is hard for me.  The root canal was successful and the affected tooth was not infected which I'm grateful for.

 

My endodontist always gives a topical numbing agent before he injects the Novacaine and it helps some, but you can still feel some pain from the needle.  Normally I think the doctors give you two shots of pain medication.  I have very sensitive teeth and for me they had to use 5 shots today.  He gave me two, then let them work.  Then he gave me another two and let those work.  Maybe about a half an hour into the procedure I had to get the last shot, because I started to feel pain.

 

I've always had a hard time with dental numbing and today was no different.

 

I think I became dissociative during the procedure in order to deal with my anxiety and phobia.  The music in my head phones helped me to zone out and my vision was blurred and I wasn't focused on anything in particular.

 

I also have TMJ problems and during a long procedure like this they tend to act up.  The last hour of the procedure was painful for me, because my jaw started hurting and that lead to a major head ache.

 

The endodontist knows about my history with TMJ and let me take breaks to rest my jaw as needed.  I ended up moaning from the pain and the doctor knew to speed things up a bit.  It's really hard to talk with that dental dam on, but he knew what the problem was without me saying anything.

 

I've tried using bite blocks before, but that actually makes my pain worse, so I don't use them.

 

I'm still really numb.  I hope it lasts for awhile.  Due to the amount of medication I needed, the whole left side of my mouth is numb.

 

Today's appointment made me come to a decision though.  I'm glad because I've been debating over it for the last couple of years.  From now on I'm going to see a sedation dentist for all of my dental work.  My emotions are too out of control for me to go on like this anymore.

 

I already set up a new patient appointment with a local doctor, because I know that I'm going to need some more restorative work done in the next month or so.  I've already put it off too long.

 

So, that's the update.  Thanks again to everyone.

 

JJ

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Thanks for your support guys.  Thanks for saying I'm brave, but I'm really not.  I'm terrified and I'm really freaking out over all of this.  The closer I get to my appointment, the more stressed out, freaked out, fearful and anxious I get.  The only reason I'm doing it in one appointment is to get it all over with and be done with it.  I do appreciate you saying so anyways.

Bravery is feeling the fear and doing it anyway. You are a rock star!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi everyone.

Thanks again for your replies and support.

 

Time for another update.

Well, I'd say the appointment today went good and bad.  It felt mostly bad for me.
 
I was extremely nervous, anxious and fearful the whole time.  They took a complete set of dental x-rays and dental pictures first.  That was with a female dental assistant.
 
Then she left and came back with a female dental hygenist.  She did a thorough periondontal check which is checking for gum disease.
 
Then they left and came back with the dentist and another lady.  I think they called her the patient care coordinator.  She handles scheduling appointments and telling you about the costs of different things.
 
The dentist did a full dental exam and check up.
 
There are so many problems with my teeth.  I don't know where to begin.
 
I have 4 teeth that have had root canals that need crowns, once I get the braces off in a month or so.  I must have had one awhile back that I forgot about.  I thought I only needed 3.
 
I have at least 3 teeth showing signs of resorption.  This is an auto-immune disease and from what the doctor told me, has been aggravated by my braces.  He said my orthodontist is moving the teeth too fast and aggressively and it's damaging my teeth.  I had a suspicion about the braces causing problems before, but now I know for sure.
 
The resorption is bad because those teeth will eventually need some work done on them.  It's not reversible.  The treatment is a lot of watching and waiting.  They may need root canals eventually and sometimes the teeth need to be extracted and replaced with implants.  It varies on a case to case basis.
 
I also have another tooth that needs a filling.  I think it's just one, but I don't remember for sure.
 
I got really nervous while the hygenist was doing the periodontal check.  I knew that I had signs of pre-gingivitis, but now I actually have gingivitis.  It's an inflammation of the gums and can cause periodontal disease eventually if not taken care of.  It can be cured by a deep cleaning.  That's why my gums have been bleeding.
 
That was the bad news.  The good news is that now I now and can get these things treated.
 
The good news also, is that I can get these done in 2 long appointments with nitrous oxide.  It's about 5 hours of work total, but I can't do it all at once due to my jaw problems and pain.  They said I could, but I'm not going to risk getting that aggravated again.
 
So, I'm going to do the deep cleaning and the cavity filling in one 2 hour appointment with nitrous oxide, once I get the braces off.
 
After I get the braces off in a month or so, I'll get my 4 crowns put on all at once.  That'll be a 3 hour appointment also with nitrous oxide, but I have to get the braces off first before the work can be done.
 
At some other time once the braces are off, I'll get another evaluation/exam done.  They want to check again and make sure there were no problems that the braces are hiding.
 
I'm still feeling really nervous, fearful and anxious, especially now that I know I need all this done.
 
It's a new office and I'm still not sure whether I'll be able to trust the doctor.  I hope that over time I can learn to trust him.

 

I have mixed feelings about my appointment today.  I'm glad that I found out what needs to be done, but I dread the idea of getting all that work done.

 

The good news is that most of it is fixable, besides the resorption part.  I guess I'll just deal with that when the time comes.

 

It's a bit discouraging to find out how much it's all going to cost.  The total of all the work I need done is around $7,000.  That's going to take awhile to pay off, as my insurance will only pay a little over $400.

 

I'm relieved to be able to have the nitrous oxide though.  I can't have any dental work done without that or some other form of sedation now.  My anxiety is just too out of hand to deal with on my own.

 

The doctor and his staff were really great though.  I told them up front about my anxiety and phobia and they worked with me.  They checked on me emotionally several times today.  They said at today's appointment and any others to just tell them if I'm feeling overwhelmed and/or need a break.

 

It amazes me that my personality totally changes at the dentist's office.  I'm normally friendly and talkative, but at the dentist's office I'm shy and I clam up.

 

Thanks again for your replies and support.  I'll keep you all posted.

 

That's all for the update for now.
 
Thanks.

JJ

Edited by SFChristianGirl
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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi all.

I'm trying to figure out how to deal with this chipped tooth I have right now. It's my upper right molar. It had a root canal treatment done on it over a year and a half ago.

It started hurting me about 2 weeks ago when I bit into a bone at dinner, on accident. I went to see my dentist about it right away and he talked to me about it. The tooth was already chipped maybe a month prior to this. I'm not entirely sure how, but I think because I grind and clench my teeth at night. The dentist gave me an antibiotic and pain medications at that time. I'm almost done with the antibiotic. It'll be done on Tuesday. I've had to take the hydrocodone every night in order to sleep.

So the next week I had my deep cleaning done. All my teeth were sensitive afterwards, but this one got really irritated and still hasn't settled down. The deep cleaning was a week ago now.

Last night was the worst. I woke up several times in pain even after taking the medicine. I want to call my dentist to get seen, but I don't have insurance right now. I don't think I'll be able to pay out of pocket. I don't know if I should call anyway and see what they say, or just wait it out.

The last time I saw the dentist he mentioned that the tooth may need a re-treatment (doing the root canal treatment over) and then a crown. It needs a crown for sure.

I'm just not sure what to do. This whole no insurance and financial situation has got me confused as to what I should do.

I'm going to see my dentist on Thursday anyway, to talk about all of my diagnoses and needed treatments. I'm just not sure if I should wait and talk to him then or try to get in sooner. They already told me there's no charge for that appointment.

So I'm just concerned because of the pain and also because it feels like more of the tooth has either broken off or is loose and going to break off. I'm not sure which. The tooth and gums around it feels irritated and swollen.

Any advice would be great.

Thanks.

JJ

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I would definitely phone them now jj. No harm in a phone call and you can discuss the money issue when you do. Good luck. 

 

Thanks Fizzle.

 

I was leaning towards that but wasn't sure.  I'm concerned there might be an infection or something.  I don't know why the antibiotic isn't helping.

 

Thanks again.

 

JJ

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Sorry to hear about your constant struggle with this, SF.

 

I know bluegal didn't have a good experience with the free clinic but I used to go to one growing up and I quite liked it. No double cavity fills or anything sadistic like that. So if you can't afford your dentist right now, you might consider temporarily going to a free clinic.

 

Btw, how was the nitrous oxide?

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Sorry to hear about your constant struggle with this, SF.

 

I know bluegal didn't have a good experience with the free clinic but I used to go to one growing up and I quite liked it. No double cavity fills or anything sadistic like that. So if you can't afford your dentist right now, you might consider temporarily going to a free clinic.

 

Btw, how was the nitrous oxide?

 

Thank you.

 

I've thought about it, several times actually.  My problem is I'm terrified of meeting a new dentist and a new staff.  I'm also not sure if I can get nitrous oxide at a free clinic.  As it is, I can't have any treatment without it right now.  That includes simple stuff like cleanings.  I'm also not sure if free clinics are trained to deal with phobic patients like myself.  I need to call around and see just to find out.  The other option would be a dental school, but I have the same aprehension with that.

 

I've only had the nitrous oxide once, for my deep cleaning a week ago.  I loved it.  I don't want to have any dental work done without it, if I can help it.  It made me feel drunk and drowsy.  I think the key is to not eat before hand.  I didn't have any nausea, but that's because I didn't eat before.  I'd read that could be a side effect.  I think people react to it differently.  It sent a tingling/pins and needles sensation all throughout my body and it feels weird at first, but you get used to it.  I also lost sense of time temporarily during the appointment.  I was so relaxed in just a few minutes after having the mask on.  I was there for 2 1/2 hours, but it felt like 15-20 minutes.  It's really nice to know you have an option like that.

 

JJ

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Hi all.

 

A quick update here.  I did call my dentist's office this morning to ask about my tooth that is hurting.  The receptionist said that she'd have the patient care representative give me a call back to talk to me about it.

 

I'll let you all know when I hear more.

 

Thanks.

 

JJ

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Hi everyone.

 

I just spoke to the patient care representative from my dentist's office on the phone.  I explained the situation to her.  It's still the chipped molar that has an old root canal treatment that never got a crown.  I never got the crown, because I can't get it until my braces are off.

 

I told her it's causing me a lot of pain and that the pain is waking me up at night.  It has been for the last 2 nights.  I told her this is happening even with me taking the hydrocodone.  I'm almost done taking my antibiotic.

 

She said she wanted to get me in right away to look at it.  They're only going to charge me to x-ray the tooth.  It'll cost about $19 including tax.  I can deal with that right now, so I scheduled.  I go in tomorrow, Tuesday, in the afternoon at 1:00 pm.

 

I'm glad I called and got the appointment.  Now though I've got the same dilemma I always have.  My anxiety is already starting now.  I just have to distract myself between now and then.  Maybe do some mindfulness to keep my emotions from getting out of control.

 

Thanks.

 

JJ

Edited by SFChristianGirl
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That's great! If we switched positions, you'd have already done the hard part (asking for and working out the payment). Have you ever tried hypnosis audio? They have ones for things like phobias. My therapist has me listening to Kelly Howell right now - I like her ones on guilt, anxiety, positive thinking. It's more of a long-term thing though, so probably wouldn't be helpful for your next appointment. There are lots of free ones on youtube.

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That's great! If we switched positions, you'd have already done the hard part (asking for and working out the payment). Have you ever tried hypnosis audio? They have ones for things like phobias. My therapist has me listening to Kelly Howell right now - I like her ones on guilt, anxiety, positive thinking. It's more of a long-term thing though, so probably wouldn't be helpful for your next appointment. There are lots of free ones on youtube.

 

Thank you.  I really appreciate your support.

 

Yes, I've tried those hypnosis/meditation audios a couple of times.  Haven't used them enough to noticed a difference yet.  I need to practice mindfulness more regularly though.  I hear that if you use it regularly it helps more when you're having an anxiety attack and things like that.

 

Thanks again.

 

JJ

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