Thursday, July 8, 2010

Dental Disaster

Just a quick note-- Wednesday morning, just as I walked into the fabric store to buy a replacement "foot" for my sewing machine, I felt something kind of grinding and scratchy in my mouth. I reached up to rub whatever it was off of my front tooth, but guess what? It didn't come off-- it was already gone. "It" was part of my veneer, which had apparently shattered a bit sometime that morning, and finally slid off just then, leaving a narrow triangle of veneer gone from my tooth. Great. Not exactly what I wanted to have happen when I'm sitting here unemployed, without insurance, and with a bank account that basically has enough money for one more month of rent & bills-- and not much else.

I went home and called around to various dentist's offices, where I found out that the entire veneer would have to be replaced, at a cost of $600-900 plus x-rays and exam. Ack! I immediately went online to see if I could qualify for Care Credit, a sort of credit card/credit line for medical, vision, and dental expenses. The whole time I was stressing out, because there would be no way we could pay for the repair without using Care Credit. I'm just not willing to fix my tooth at the cost of paying rent. But, good news: I qualified! I set up the appointment for Wednesday afternoon, and asked my sister to babysit. I even got a cheaper estimate (around $650) for the veneer replacement, and it looked like things were working out, for once... and then I went to the appointment.

The office manager and dentist informed me that because I'd had those two root canals on my front teeth (which had been damaged in my 2003 car accident), I wouldn't be able to do the veneers. Instead, I'd have to do crowns, and on both teeth would be better so that I wouldn't have to just wait for the other tooth's veneer to crack off one day and go through the whole process again. I agreed-- which brought the price up to $1600-- and they got started right there. It was so painful! Even the shots brought me to tears; my hands were shaking for like 10 minutes after the roof-of-the-mouth shot. Then the grinding, and chipping away, and filing... it convinced me that I would not be a very good torture candidate. I would give up anyone or anything if they put me through that kind of stuff without pain relief; I'm just too much of a wuss.

At the end, they asked me to choose the tooth color I wanted, and I had to look in a mirror to see the utter destruction wrought up on my poor front teeth. They looked like they'd been filed down to about one quarter of their usual size, like little posts poking out of my purple, swollen gums... it was horrid. Sorry to be so descriptive, but I literally felt ill to see them like that. I had to put the mirror down and just asked the dentist to choose for me. The last thing she did was make a temporary "bridge" type thing that fit over my little tooth stumps (!!!). When I saw it, I gasped. It looks horrible! Ugly, hideous, disgusting. It's lumpy and misshapen and hardly even looks like teeth at the gumline. Sure, it will pass at a distance if I don't lift my lips past the mid-point on my teeth, but if I smile widely or laugh, it's obvious and just terrible. The worse news came when I got to the front to pay and set up my next appointment-- which wouldn't happen for another two to three WEEKS!!! AAAAARRRGGGGHHHH!!!!!! How am I going to get through it?! I just can't leave the house! Not to mention the painfulness; this is seriously so uncomfortable. Ugh. What a total disaster.

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