Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Lazy goes to the dentist

I’ve always had bad teeth, as long as I can remember. I had my first root canal at age 12, after cracking a tooth on a Big Bob’s Candy Cane stick.  I remember that it was done in three parts, and my dad joked that it was my Christmas gift for the year, because it was so expensive.  
I didn’t like going to the dentist, because those bad teeth, no matter how well I brushed and rinsed, always got cavities, and my dentist wasn’t all that generous with the Novocain.  I had a mouth full of metal before I turned 15.

As an adult, I didn’t have dental insurance, so I stopped going to the dentist. I had toothaches, my teeth were in horrible condition, but it was all manageable until one day, I was in the most horrible pain. I couldn’t tell what was going on, but it looked like my gum was coming up through my tooth (not around my tooth or behind my tooth) and it hurt to be awake, much less talk or eat.  I went to a dentist (I don’t remember which one) and they told me that I needed a root canal on that tooth.  I was referred to Dr. Goldfaden in town and went to see him. He told me that a root canal would run around $500. At this point, in pain and out of money, I broke down crying in his dental chair. I didn’t have any money and I hurt really bad. He told me that if I went to Shands (now UFHealth) Dental Clinic, one of the students could pull the tooth at no charge.

I went to Shands and had the tooth pulled, and I don’t’ remember if they ever told me that I needed to eventually get a crown or some sort of spacer put in. If they did tell me, I forgot about it.

Fast forward to 2005. By this time, Depo has leeched a lot of calcium from my system, and a lot of shifting has happened as well, due to that missing tooth, and I’ve cracked a lot of teeth.  One day in the spring of 2005, I bit down on a cookie and broke part of my two front teeth.  By this time, however, I was working at a company with great dental insurance, so I went and ended up getting multi-surface fillings on my front FOUR teeth.  The dentist worked up a treatment plan for me (at the cost of over $5k) and I went on my merry way. I did fully intend to go back for more work, but before I could do that, the dentist closed her Gainesville office and moved to Ocala. That was too inconvenient for me to deal with, so I threw my treatment plan away and stopped going to the dentist again.

Between 2005 and 2013, my teeth kept getting worse. More pieces falling out – I found some, but probably most of them were just swallowed. Some pieces were stuck in my jaw and I decided to wiggle them out like they were baby teeth, rather than deal with the dentist.  I knew I NEEDED to go to the dentist, but I just couldn’t handle it.

Early February, 2013, I was munching on some chips, and I felt the filling in between two of my front teeth wiggle.  It was still there, but I knew that it would fall out soon. I ignored it, hoping that I could get through PHM, then come back and fix it.

I DID manage to get through PHM before it fell out, but just barely. I bit wrong at dinner one night at Electric Umbrella and I felt it move again. I tried really hard to just get through the trip with it intact.  It stayed in.

On Easter Sunday, we went to Golden Corral with my mother.  We were having a wonderful time until a fork ran into my front teeth.  I saw something fly and I just knew that my whole tooth had fallen out.  I prayed that my tooth had not landed anywhere that Mom could see.  Luckily it was under my plate, and after Mom went back to the buffet for something, I headed to the bathroom to survey the damage. It wasn’t too bad – not my whole tooth - but it was noticeable. If mom noticed it (I’m sure she did), she was kind enough not to say anything.  Later that night, the remaining part of the filling fell out. I now had a huge gap between my front teeth. 

Since I work for the County now, I have really good dental insurance, so I called Coast Dental, which is my provider, and set up an appointment. 

I made the hygienist aware that I have a dental phobia, and she was very accommodating to that fear. I had my x-rays done, and then put into the Evil Chair of Dental Doom.  Dr. Brown came in, all 25 years old, and showed me the horrendous x-rays of my mouth.  We talked about why I was there, and he said that the dentist who put those fillings in my teeth should never have done that – I should have been crowned instead – and that I was lucky to have gotten 8 years out of them. 

He worked up a treatment plan for me, and went over it with me. I needed to have 4 teeth pulled. I needed 6 crowns. I needed 3 fillings. Nothing was said about bridges or partials to fill in all my empty spots.  The cost of this treatment plan was over $10,000.  I about lost my shit, ya’ll.  Just to get my front teeth fixed would cost almost $4,000.   The cheapest part of my plan was getting the teeth pulled.  I set up an appointment for that procedure and headed home.