Monday, December 2, 2013

Gotta Love the Dentist

Don't you love when you get something checked on because you think there MIGHT potentially be a problem just to find out that not only is there a problem, but it is a lot worse than you anticipated? This happened to me this past week.

Let me back up a bit and give a little background first. Almost everyone in my family has suffered from teeth problems. It seems we can get a cavity simply by looking at sugar. Unfortunately, I have had more than my fair share of problems. 

Ironically, my teeth and smile is one of my features that I get complimented most on.

If only people knew all the problems that are hiding in there. There are very few teeth in my mouth that have not been worked on. I chuckle every time I go to a new dentist and they do initial x-rays and check-up. By the time they are done looking, the chart is filled with marks of work that has already been done.

I remember as a kid that I was terrible with oral hygiene. I grew up not really brushing my teeth and I have paid for it ever since. Hopefully I can prevent my kids from going through the same thing.

About a week ago, I suddenly started having really bad pain in my gums between 2 root canals. After a day of pain medicine, I was finally found a piece of something white that had been lodged between my gums and my crown. I had that root canal done when I was a little kid and for some reason they put a temporary stainless steel crown on it. At least it was only supposed to be temporary. Ten to fourteen years later and I still have the stainless steel crown. The problem is that x rays can't see the tooth through the stainless steel. So there is no way to tell if my tooth is decaying or not. Several dentists had advised me to get it replaced as soon as possible. As we've never had insurance and never caused problems, I was unwilling to pay the $600-900 it would cost to replace.

My sister Cindy is a dental hygienist and decided to schedule me for a cleaning since I would be at her house for a few days before Thanksgiving. We could get my teeth cleaned, as well as get that crown checked out.

I was prepared to hear that I would need to get a new crown, and that there was a possibility that my tooth would be decaying. I thought that would be the worse case scenario. If only. While that is definitely a possibility, the dentist said he thinks the tooth under the stainless steel crown is ok, though we wont know for sure until we replace the crown. Unfortunately, however the news was not the same for my tooth behind that one. He said he is almost positive that that tooth has already decayed enough that it needs to be pulled. He told me to make an appointment to replace the steel crown, and remove the tooth behind it. I didn't even realize there was a problem with that one! Once it is pulled, I could choose to get an implant if I want, but it would cost about $4000 out of pocket. So it looks like I'll just have a giant hole in my mouth. If the other one happens to need to be pulled also, I have no idea what I will do.

I have also noticed that one of my front teeth seems to be darker and discolored. It's not really noticeable unless you are looking for it, but it drives me crazy and I am really self-conscience about it. After doing an x-ray, he determined that I must have had trauma at one point and that tooth is now dead. It doesn't need a root canal at this point, but whitening will only make it worse because my other teeth will get whiter while that stays the same. The only option he could think of was to put a veneer on it. But since that is a cosmetic issue, insurance wouldn't cover it and it would cost about $1000.

And top of all of that, I had three new cavities somehow.

Oh, and my teeth are shifting pretty badly and I need to see an orthodontist.

 Is that all?

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