Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Dental woes

Just before I left on my trip last week, I made my bi-annual visit to the dentist. This was my first visit to this particular dentist, which might have made him look a little more carefully at my records or maybe he's just that conscientious about it all the time. At any rate, his inspection is going to wind up costing me $500+.


I just have problematic teeth. They're straight, they're fairly white, they look quite nice from the outside. I brush twice a day and floss religiously. And yet. And yet. Every molar has at least one filling, I've had three root canals and crowns, I've even had a cavity right in the middle of the top two front teeth, which thankfully could be drilled away without filling it, so it's not noticeable unless I point it out. All my dentists comment about how lovely my teeth are, and also how terrible they are.

It's one of those root canals that's the problem now. Apparently, there's a teeming infection underneath it, which hasn't been causing me any pain or bother, and now the whole thing needs to be removed and replaced - and possibly not just the post and crown but my entire tooth.

Yes, they're talking about yanking out my entire tooth and giving me an implant.

I'm THIRTY. I'm so not old enough for this! I felt a wave of despair sitting on the dentist's chair while he told me that.

Ultimately, I have no choice. I saw in the news this weekend that some guy died from a toothache recently. This has been identified and it's time to get it fixed, no matter what it costs. I'll continue on like I'm doing with the brushing and flossing (I got prescribed a special fluoride toothpaste, which might help a little), and we'll have to rethink our plans to get rid of dental coverage later this year*. I guess if I had to pick any health problem to have, this is a pretty minor one, but it's also one that's preventable and despite my careful care of my teeth, I feel a little like a failure every time I go in and have more problems to fix.

* Peanut's work pays 100% of the premium for health insurance through them - but it's medical only, no dental. My work provides medical + dental on one policy, but it's several hundred bucks a month for the two of us. We figured we'd drop mine and go with his policy and self-insure for dental, but now I'm not sure that's a good financial decision. I'll be looking into individual policies for dental soon!


  1. Oh man. I recently went to a brand new dentist in my new area and was pleased they were so conscientious, and that they didn't find anything surprising!

    If you do look for individual dental insurance, please post about it. I'm a self-employed contractor and have individual medical insurance, but I found dental to be impossible to find. I just pay out of pocket and hope that my good teeth continue to be good.

  2. I'm sorry. Dental work is always a bummer. I usually have the same reaction from dentists: nice yet horrible teeth, which drives me crazy!

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  4. I think it's mostly genetic. My mom, who is 75, hasn't seen a dentist since she was 20, and though she has lost a couple of molars, most of her teeth are there and her doctor last month told my sisters that they are firmly in place and she won't be losing any more. They're yellow, because she smoked her whole life and I don't think she ever flossed. My sister and I have great teeth while my other sister has teeth from my dad's side of the family; she had her first root canal before she was 20. It's just luck.

    That said, I think you're doing all you can with what you have.

    And get dental insurance -- it can cost in the 10s of thousands once you start to get implants.

    (My word verification word is "denistes!" Coincidence?)

  5. Please have a second opinion done before doing any dental work. The dentist I had as a child up until I was 20 was very drill happy and caused me to have a lot of unnecessary work.

    Then after a string of great dentists as I moved from one city to another, I lucked upon another dentist just itching to line her pocket. She said that I needed several crowns and root canals done before 'my teeth fall out." That was 11 years ago. I went to another dentist who did not gloom and doom me into so much work. I will admit that I now have 2 crowns, but no root canals in the past 11 years, but nowhere near what the other dentist wanted to do all at once.

    The same drill happy dentist told my DH that he needed 7 cavities filled. The current dentist has filled one cavity in 11 years and could not find hide nor hair of the other 10 that were "imperative."

  6. I'm very sorry to hear about your dental troubles, but very relieved to know that someone else takes great care of their teeth and STILL has tons of dental problems. All my life I've had horrible teeth...when I was a kid I had four teeth pulled at once, and as a teenager I went to the dentist and had 12 cavities. I even have a cap on one of my teeth! Yet I have always brushed 2-3 times a day, flossed religiously, etc. It's so frustrating because my husband brushes for about 30 seconds a day, doesn't floss, and has great, strong teeth with no history of cavities. ><

  7. Remember the old song by frank sinatra saying if you can make it here you can make it anywhere referring to new york new york sorry not true. If you were a store manager at the limited in new york city anywhere within a fifty mile radios. You would pay four times what you would pay for the same house or condo in omaha or san antonio. Why is it that all the new york cityers recent arrivers with modest incomes would want anything at all to do with it. Your money goes a lot further in these other places than it does in new york city area. If you made only two thirds as much money at a store managers job at a office max or a petsmart in san antonio or omaha compared with a store manager of a office max or petsmart in the new york city area you would have more buying power and a higher standard of living than you would ever have as a store manager of a office max or petsmart in new york city area. New york city has a city income tax and new york state a very high state income tax also property taxes are much higher in the new york city area than in san antonio or omaha. And remember texas has no income tax. The fact of the matter is you might make considerable more money as a store manager of a office max or petsmart in the new york city area than a store manager of a office max or petsmart in san antonio or omaha yet you would be considerable POORER in the new york city area than you would be in omaha or san antonio.

  8. My teeth have always caused me problems. The dentist says my teeth are sparkling clean & appear to look lovely but are rubbish! I've got fillings, a bridge and root canals . Apparently I will also need a crown. Oh & last week I paid £65 for a night splint! Marvellous!! We have NHS dentists in the UK but they are few & far between & you still have to pay on top. Luckily, I get insurance through work so am covered for most stuff. Nice to hear it's not just me with terrible teeth! Keep smiling!

  9. I feel your pain! I'm saving 1,400 dollars for two front veneers and I'm only 23! My dental troubles are 100% my fault and captain morgans when I was a stupid freshman 5 years ago - but still something that I desperately want to fix! I actually just blogged about it when I officially decided to start saving for it!

  10. Dental insurance is a real pain and I feel like I have been gambling with mine lately and not being covered. I have been to the same dentist since I was born, but I feel like if something went really wrong - I would end up paying a huge bill in the end! I'd be interested in seeing what individual policies that you find - will you post on them?


Thanks for commenting!