Thursday, December 2, 2010

Falling Apart One Tooth At A Time

A girl I once worked with told me her mom got dentures in her thirties because she was sick of all the dental work she had to have done. For some reason this story stuck in my head. I thought that sounded pretty crazy. How much dental work could you possibly have done before you were 40-years-old that would make you that desperate? Well, apparently I'm on the path to find out.

I always thought root canals were mythical stories that old people told us, and that by the time I might need one I'd be geriatric and wouldn't know what the hell was going on anyway. Well, I'm 27 and unfortunately I know all too well what's going on...I'm on a slow decline starting with my mouth.

A couple months ago I went to the dentist to tell him about a pain I felt when chewing. People said, "Oh, I'm sure it's nothing!" and I told myself it was probably just a filling that needed to be replaced. But I will tell you something...optimism gets you nowhere. I'll never try it again. I needed a root canal restored with a crown which cost about $3,000 and my work doesn't have dental insurance. That's when I figured out optimism is actually the cause of depression. Fast forward two months later and replay the same pain on the opposite side of my mouth only this time I think it's two teeth. I go to the dentist depressed, which is a good thing because it's worse than I even thought...there's a good chance I need two more root canals and two more crowns. Did I mention this is the first time in my life I haven't had dental insurance? How ironic.

My dentist told me I'm probably worsening the issue by grinding my teeth at night due to stress. I told him this wasn't helping.

My mom blames candy like Sour Patch Kids which, she reminded me, "Were made of pure sugar and were the worst because that gummy stuff just sticks in your teeth, though they tasted so good I used to beg you and your sister to share them with me but you'd only let me eat the ones off the floor." Well, you're welcome, Mom. We were only looking out for you.
I have always taken care of my teeth, but it's gotten me no where. I'm indignant. Winter is upon us, I've peaked at age 27, and my slow decline has begun one tooth at a time.


  1. oh dear :(

    well, if you've only started on the slow decline now consider yourself lucky! did you know that if you look closely to my 1st grade school portrait you can see two silver crowns on my front baby molars? i mean, really, who gives a 7 year old silver teeth that are only going to fall out?? oh, i don't think i will ever trust dentists.

    i've had dental issues all my wee 27 years of life. i never had braces because my teeth are so freaking soft they have the likelihood of only being damaged by them.

    another fun, short story: my first summer in portland, i too didn't have dental insurance and i was told that i had to have a root canal on a tooth that had previously been infected. they told me the same quote of $3,000 for a drill, fil, & cap. i asked them how much it was to pull it. the answer? $125. hmmm guess which one i chose?

    you could check out Tufts here in boston. since they teach dentistry there in their dental department, and their prices are usually MUCH cheaper. when we were in high school their rate was pretty much $50 for just about anything. then again, i'm not so sure you want a student dentist bumping around in your mouth. i, personally, view all dentists at car mechanics (auto orals?) who are always trying to swindle me out of money....but then again, i am a very paranoid person.

    but hey, on the flip side, it looks like we are both on the same path to our long lost dream: to end up in an old folks home toothless & crazy. excellent. only 28-32 more teeth and 70 years to go.

  2. Sorry to hear that!
    I've had two crowns since starting med school (to pre-empt needing root canals) and apparently need at least 3 more. Crowns were originally sold to me as some permanent solution to prevent root canals but they apparently also need to be redone every few years (convenient how that was left out...). And while I have dental insurance, my share is still $$$. If implants weren't 8k each I'd have all my teeth pulled right now and replaced.

  3. great blog! i learn few things in this post, thanks for the share.