Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Dental School, Teeth and Flossing...

I finally made it to the Dental School today. I have needed dental work for several years, but it always got set aside. Somehow it was easy to forget about my teeth when my marriage was falling apart, or when I was recovering from the sciatic nerve injury, or a million other excuses. Other things and other people always seemed more important. I had become an expert at not taking care of myself... again.

I got in the very bad habit of quickly brushing, even without toothpaste, and calling it good. I am embarrassed to say I sometimes skipped days. Then skipping days became more the rule than the exception. I didn't have bad breath, at least no one complained, but my teeth weren't very clean either.

And I hate flossing... It hurts and is just a pain to do. So I had not been in much of a habit of doing it either. I would buy the floss, and use it a few times, then it would get set aside, in the back of the drawer. So all I would do is a quick brushing when I remembered and called it good... This kind of neglect has finally caught up with me.

A few months ago my son introduced me to those cute little flossing picks. I had seen them before and thought they were dumb. But Danny told me how convenient they were so I tried one. OH MY GOODNESS!!! Flossing took on a new life for me. It didn't hurt, was simple and easy... AND FAST!!! So I bought myself a supply.

Later that day I was brushing and flossing my teeth and I saw dark spots between my teeth. I had never bothered to look close enough to notice them before. I also noticed my gum line was receding. Shows how much I was neglecting myself. Even before I saw the dark spots I knew I needed dental work. I have a molar that has bothered me for at least 6 years, probably more than that. It started out as a sensitivity, then grew to hurting, then really hurting, and at times I just wanted to get a pair of pliers and pull that thing out!

This was when I discovered some herbal helps, first, ESSIAC tea did wonders for reducing the pain of that molar, and Olive Leaf Extract will reduce down an abscess overnight. For probably the last five years I have drunk ESSIAC tea daily and as long as I did, the pain was minimal. I started out, when the pain was pliers bad, to drink it four times a day, but as I became consistent, the amount I needed became less. Now I just need it once a day or so. The tooth is still bad, but I could bear it without addressing the need to actually take care of it.

About four years ago, I made an appointment to get it taken care of. I was quoted about $1500 to pull the tooth and have a bridge put in. That was with buying a discount service, I had no insurance. I was told the filling had loosened (it was at least 20 years old) and because it was such a large filling, it could not be replaced. My options were root canal and crown or pulling and a bridge. Pulling it and having a bridge put in cost less than the root canal and crown. It was about this time my husband confessed his affair, so I instead of doing the things for me that I needed to do, I fell apart emotionally and neglected me again.

About a year later, I had insurance for a short time, and was quoted almost $1300 to get a root canal and crown. This was a lot of money, and with the deteriorating marriage, I put it aside again. I did get a different tooth taken care of, a front tooth with a visible cavity that scared me. The dentist told me it was close to needing a root canal, but we got to it in time. So I guess it takes visible destruction of my teeth to get me to act.

Like putting off needed dental work would make it go away or reduce the cost??? No, just neglecting me again. I have wondered how much of my ill health is caused by that bad tooth.

After I discovered those dark spots on my teeth, I started asking for quotes from dentists. Even with a discount plan (still no insurance) I was looking at about $1500 for just the molar to get fixed. Each cavity would run between $150 and $225 on top of that. The cavities were between the teeth, both sides affected, so I'm looking at probably 10 cavities. Tiffany suggested I call the Dental School. I called about 2 months ago to find out I had to wait until March 30th just to get an appointment. By this time I was feeling a bit frantic. But at least I had finally formed the good habit of brushing morning and night and flossing again.

With the good habit returning, I have noticed my gum line is coming back down. The gaps between the teeth are filling up again. I am thankful for that.

So, today I had my first appointment with a dental student. He was very nice, and although I did need quite a bit of work, he said it was doable and my teeth were not in as bad of shape as I thought. After the dental student was done with his exam, he got the instructor, who repeated the exam. The instructor said they would be able to use conservative measures to fix my teeth (including two top molars that have broken off pieces, they need to be rebuilt, no crowns needed.) All in all, with the x-rays, comprehensive exam (today was just a preliminary exam), cleaning, root canal, build-up and crown on the one molar, and two reconstructs of the top molars, the amount quoted to me was $2500.00. Although that is still a whole lot of money, it is less than I was fearing. Sooo.... my next appointment is next Thursday.

I am going to take care of me.... and follow through this time.

No comments:

Post a Comment