Saturday, July 18, 2009

I never thought dentures would seem appealing . . .

I had a bit of a rough day today - not emotionally, thankfully, but Jelly Bean had a high fever all day yesterday and today, and was generally moping around/sleeping and Flower fell and had to go to the hospital to get her wrist checked out (just a sprain!), and on top of this, I had to go to the dentist office because I had a couple of teeth that have been bothering me for a couple weeks now. And teeth pain, man, it is right up there on the pain/can't function in your regular life sort of way. By this morning, I couldn't stand it anymore. I called as soon as the dentist's office was open, and they could see me today at 12:45. Diagnosis was that I needed two root canals. Make that two MORE root canals.

I should back up and say that I have terrible teeth. Mostly of my own doing from years of being bulimic. Which I don't do anymore, and haven't for years, but when you are bulimic for 14 years, well, you pretty much destroy all the enamel off your teeth, and then you get decay much easier than other people. I stopped being bulimic 14 years ago, and had my first root canal and crown shortly thereafter. Then a couple fillings. Then two crowns. Going to a cheap dentist. And scrounging and trying to pay back the dentist. Moving. Having to get a new dentist. Can't afford to get another new crown I need, so one of my molars gets pulled. Moving. Teeth hurting, but can't afford to go. Moving. And. Moving. Should have gone to the dentist, but knew it would be bad. Then there was the all the years of being pregnant and nursing.

4 years ago, when Super was 3 months old, I couldn't stand the pain another moment. I told the dentist that I knew that it would be bad. I was right. In the course of about 6 visits (some done under sedation), I had 8 crowns/root canals done (mostly on my top front teeth), and four fillings. And a deep gum treatment. The bill, after insurance, was enough that I could have purchased a Saturn 4 door sedan instead. It took years, and help from family, to pay off the bill.

Then in 2006, I had a couple teeth start hurting. I tried to ignore it. I just couldn't face another hefty dental bill. Then I found out I was pregnant. I'd do something about it after the baby was born. Had a miscarriage. Ignored the pain, even though I could have done something about it. Finally, in November 2007, I made an appointment. Found out I was pregnant. Decided to do something after the baby was born. Lost Christopher at the end of March 2008. Decided to go to a different dentist. Went back in August 2008. Needed a filling on one tooth, and a root canal and crown on another. Oh, and of course, all 3 kids needed check-ups and Flower had a few fillings. The bill was only in the 3 figures. Manageable. November comes, and suddenly, a couple of other teeth start hurting. Two days into it, I can't sleep, or eat. A week into it, I decide to go back to the dentist. He says that I probably need a couple root canals/crowns. Great. It is almost Christmas. We haven't even started paying on the other stuff, and now we are looking at $600 more?? Great. I schedule them for a couple of weeks later.

But, almost magically, the pain is gone in a couple of days. Surely, it will come back. But it doesn't. I know that I should have them fixed anyway, but I really didn't have money laying around, and if it wasn't bothering me?? I cancelled the appointments. That will make the pain come back for certain. Nope. And so it went on. I knew that I should start paying the dentist for the work in 2008. But February, then March, then April come, and there is no bill yet. I should call him and ask about it. Then May comes. School's out. I really need to call. And then it is July. Around the 4th, I feel a little twinge in the gum area by one of my teeth. I'm sure it is nothing. It is gone the next day. Then a different tooth hurts. Which teeth were bothering me a few months ago? Are these the same ones? Hmm. Not sure. The next day, PAIN. One tooth more than the other. PAIN for a few days. And then it is better. For 4 whole days. And then it is back. And it is worse. And it is constant. I take Motrin like candy. It doesn't help. I put Maximum Strength Ambusol by both teeth. Doesn't help. I take some leftover Xanax to see if I relax a little, I'll at least be able to sleep a little through the pain. Doesn't help. Take Tylenol. Doesn't help. I can't eat, I can't sleep.

So today, I called. I knew that before I showed up, that they would check my file and realize that they never sent me a bill for all that work for me and the kids back in 2008. The bill for somewhere in the $900 range, give or take a few hundred. And that if they wanted a partial payment, I'd have to offer them my Little Tikes Climber as payment or something because I didn't have the money right now. I could set up a plan and send them a little each month, and hope that my "little" and their "little" were in the same general range.

But they didn't. The dentist said "Both of these teeth are the same teeth that were bothering you before. Let's start with the worst one - make an appointment at the desk. Call me if you need more pain medication, and make sure and take the antibiotic in case some of the pain is from an infection."

Even if the pain is completely gone tomorrow, I will get my teeth fixed. Hopefully, by the end of Summer, I will have both root canals done and two new crowns put on. Hopefully, I'll get the dental bill paid off in a year. Hopefully, I won't need any more root canals or crowns. I'm running out of "real" teeth to replace!


Stacey said...

I feel so bad for you!! That really sucks! Tooth pain is right up there with labor pains. I have bad teeth too-several crowns, fillings and a few root canals. I never had any problems until I got pregnant and breastfeeding. This is ONE are where socialized medicine would be your friend-it would be free although you might have to wait a year to get it done. I hope you will be feeling better soon. Thank goodness for payment plans!

corn fed girl said...

What a nightmare! I'm so sorry you are going through this. We should set up some fund raising. A lemonaid stand. Walk for teeth rot. Or we can just rob a bank. That would be fun! At least, as we sit in jail we would get dental care!

Whacky Wheelers said...

Matthew used to bring his friends to me and say, "Mom, open your mouth."

Then . . . "See, I told you she had pirate treasure in her mouth!"

He and the kids so wanted gold caps on their teeth. (I have one gold, the rest are silver . . . I think.)

I told David if times got tough, he could pull the gold crown off and we could sell it! LOL!

Sorry for your pain -- I totally understand. I agree with Corn Fed Girl . . . we need to do a fundraiser . . . let's sell candy!!