My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Everything You Never Wanted To Know About My Teeth

I feel like blogging today. I didn't sleep well last night and am having some shoulder pain so I'm taking a day off from sewing which is usually my morning activity. I'll blog and work on my Family Tree instead.

About ten years ago, give or take since I can't remember stuff here lately, I got an estimate from a dentist to have ALL THE WORK done on my teeth for a grand total of $13,000. It was during that time that I coined the phrase, "I need a man with a dental plan." And we all know what a miserable detour the "man with the dental plan" was for me. Once I moved up here I had dental insurance so I was able to do a few things... I had my wisdom teeth pulled and had some fillings done. Then I started having back pain and started the downward spiral from full time work to part time work to no work to trying to get approved for disability. There has been zero money for teeth during that time so I went to the dentist last week to get a treatment plan for fixing my teeth. I'm such a complicated case that they wanted to take my xrays, photos and impressions to work out a treatment plan and I went back yesterday for my "presentation".

New paragraph. Deep breath. Sticker shock ahead. In my mind I had budgeted up to $15,000 from my back pay from Social Security to put toward my teeth. I didn't WANT to spend that much money on my teeth but I did want to get to a point of the best dental health I can afford to achieve. The treatment plan comes out to a total of just under $13,000. I'm not doing implants or anything fancy/schmancy. This is for removal of several problem teeth, fillings and crowns on the teeth they can save and temporary partial dentures. This also covers building up the teeth that will anchor the partials which is costly but will be the longest lasting solution. The temporary partials will be good for a year or two while everything heals and finds it's "normal" shape and then I'll get permanent/long term partials for another $4200.

It's a lot of money, y'all. I have enough to do it although I'm not going to pay for the full thing in advance. There's no discount for paying in advance and you just never know what may happen down the road. I am leaning toward paying half of it after the first visit or two, once I make sure things are going well and I'm comfortable using this dentist. I think this will help me make sure I'm not tempted to use the dental money for something else. Once I've paid, I'm more likely to finish the entire treatment plan. Once I get halfway through, I'm more likely to finish the race.

Random thoughts about this process:

  • If I were older, I might not do this. I don't expect to live to a hundred or anything but I hope I still have a few decades ahead of me and I want to continue to eat/chew/smile for the rest of my life.
  • I want to smile without worrying about how my smile looks. I've grown self-conscious about it and I don't like feeling that way. I need to make every smile as good as it can be because smiles are hard to come by when you live with pain. When I smile at my grandkids I don't want them to confuse me for a jack-o-lantern.
  • My health is probably already negatively impacted by the condition of my teeth. If it isn't already it certainly will be in the future. 
  • There's a lot of pain in my life that I can't do anything about. I want to prevent as much future pain as possible. 
  • I might be able to find some place cheaper but I like this dentist and I like his office. It's close to home, close enough that my mom would be comfortable driving me home whenever I'm zonked out, which keeps me from having to work around Pop's very busy schedule. They took an hour with me yesterday to review everything. There was no judgement and lots of compassion. They asked a lot of questions about my overall health and had a lot of suggestions for making this the least traumatic experience as possible. They're also going to get in touch with my pain doctor to discuss what pain relief I can have that fits in with the pain meds I'm already on. 
  • I have major dental anxiety. They will be giving me meds to keep me mellow during each procedure. 
  • I feel guilty spending this much money on myself but... I also know that things are this bad because my priorities throughout my adult life were taking care of my kids and keeping a roof over their heads. I couldn't have expensive work done during those years because I couldn't afford it nor could I afford taking time off to heal. It's collateral damage from being a divorced mom without consistent child support. 

So that's what's happening in my mouth. My first appointment is October 20th where they will extract three teeth in my upper right hand side of my mouth. They are the most damaged and the most sensitive. They're also the most likely to abscess so we'll get those out of the way first. I'd love to hear your dental health stories and experiences! I'd also love to have your prayers / good wishes that things will go well.

Love and hugs and big open mouthed smiles!


monique said...

Are you sure we're not related? I have major dental issues as well.
$13K doesn't sound bad for all that it involves/includes. Hopefully you have a good 30 - 40 years left on this earth. Being able to eat and chew is so important, not to mention feeling confidant about your smile and not being embarrassed to smile.
Consider it an investment in you and your future being you.
I'm having some dental surgery coming up this month also, so I'm giving you the pep talk I'm trying to follow. haha My smile has gotten so bad and I want it back. People like us need to smile and laugh. It's great medicine.
You have my prayers and all positive thoughts. You owe this to yourself.
xo m~