Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The ongoing saga of MLE's teeth, starring punk-ass enamel and failed sealants

Once upon a time (it's story time again, yay!) there was a girl who inherited every crappy teeth-related thing from both parents.

That girl, of course, is me. My teeth are crooked, the enamel is yellow (not stained! I don't drink coffee ever and rarely tea - whitening stuff wouldn't do me any good), and I have a strong proclivity for dental caries. I think that if my teeth were not as shitty as they are, I would be a few grand richer. Over the last seven years, I've spent approximately $3500 out of pocket (that's WITH dental insurance, mind you) on fillings, more fillings, crowns, wisdom teeth removal, and a root canal. And I've never had braces, which I'll be paying for myself (eventually), so that's going to add another several thou onto my expensive mouth.

(of course, it doesn't make me feel any better to know that one of my sisters inherited perfect straight white teeth and has never had any cavities. She got the perfect skin, too.)

It seems as though every time I have work done on my teeth, it causes some other problem. When I was a teenager my family dentist extolled the virtues of dental sealants to seal up my (also inherited) deep molars so I wouldn't get cavities. And guess what? Every single one of those sealants leaked. Every last one. I got a cavity under every single damn sealant. And one of those fillings pushed up against the tooth next to it, so I couldn't get the floss beneath my gum inbetween those two teeth. I ended up with a cavity under the gumline that got so bad I had to have a root canal. I couldn't afford a crown at the time so I had a temporary one until about two years ago.

And my wisdom teeth! The bottom ones grew in sideways, pushing up against the back molars. This created pockets where stuff got in (of course) and I got bad cavities in both back molars. The wisdom teeth had to come out to keep the problem from getting worse, but once those were out I couldn't afford to fill the cavities. Another thing I paid for about two years ago, one of which ended up needing a crown. So that's two crowns, one root canal, and about 8 fillings for the bitch-ass leaky sealants.

Every damn time I go into the dentist for a checkup/cleaning, they find something else. I get praised for my brushing and flossing and how healthy my gums are and how little tartar or plaque I have, but it doesn't seem to make any difference to the damn enamel, because I continue to get cavities. In case you hadn't guessed, I had my six-month appointment today. "Your gums look great!" said the hygenist. Of course, the bite wing Xrays told the true story - the horrible filling that caused the root canal needs replacing (and it's a doozy, one step away from ANOTHER crown), another filling has a cavity underneath it, and two fillings that were done like a year and a half ago just aren't sitting right against each other and need replacing. So that's FOUR fillings I need dealt with, only one of which actually has a cavity associated with it, and said cavity is because the damn filling is so old and crappy and of course it got a cavity underneath it.

GODDAMN MUTHERFRACKING TEETH. I would be a rich woman if it weren't for my teeth. And I really need braces, not just for cosmetic reasons, but because I have a crossbite that's weakening one of my front teeth and I would probably get fewer cavities if my teeth had enough room to sit properly in my damn mouth. But I can't afford it just yet. Of course my insurance would pay for braces for any spawn of mine, but for me? No frakking way.


Yank In Texas said...

And that is why I haven't been to a dentist in 3 years. i can't afford to. i know my teeth are bad. i too have inherited the stained enamel (they came in yellowish. dentist couldn't figure it out.) i don't want to know how many cavities i have. i just don't have the money. i have insurance but it won't pay for all that i need. i feel the pain. oh do i.
and i know i should but well, our money is going other places right now.

Monkey McWearingChaps said...

I think it's really shitty they don't allow singletons/adults to get braces from insurance. WTH? Not everyone grows up with parents who can afford it.

MLE said...

Exactly. My little sis got braces after we found out about the local low-income braces program, but I was too old for it by then (18).

Monkey McWearingChaps said...

I suppose the smarmy insurance argument would be that if we let adults get it, you'd end up paying for a lot of cosmetic dentistry or something, and "costs would rise".

Oh gods, BULLSHIT. There are plenty of kids who get it with one or two crooked teeth (I know, I was one of them...OTOH, my sister was definitely "severe need") and quite frankly, I don't know a single adult who'd go through 3-5 years of wearing metal brackets on their teeth if it weren't for a serious issue. By that time you sort of want to be over the whole "adolescent" look.

Now I feel like punching an insurance agent. Not exactly the same for self-esteem, but I usually send myself into migraine territory before I get my eyes checked. Keep in mind I had 4 grandparents with cataracts. Greaaaattt.

Anonymous said...

I love that my work benefits cover 100% dental.

Plus my dentist is uber hot, so I enjoy visiting with them every 6 months. Sometimes I wish I could go once a month. :)

Great teeth....