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Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Cavities and Credit Cards

I have nothing else so Cavities and Credit Cards
I thought about saving this entry for G for Grill! but nah.
Then Waffles started asking questions about my teeth and Blammo
This is my Story!

The great Waffles requested the story about my teeth and I feel the need to deliver.
In order to get to the point where my pretty smile is now you have to go back multiple years to a time when my smile was horrible and kept out of the view of the public.
You see, I've always had bad teeth.  My whole life I've had different teeth issues no matter what I did and as such I kind of gave up on them.  Before I moved to Vegas I had two (or 3?) extractions because I was too poor to be able to afford the root canal to save the tooth.  I also had a wisdom tooth on the top that at one point had cracked and broke while I was eating a pretzel.  However, there was no pain and so I ignored the tooth which eventually broke away until it was almost hidden beneath the skin.  I had multiple dentists tell me it should be removed but I held to my stance that if there was no pain there was no extraction.

I had two teeth abscess on me during my college years which was horribly painful (these were two of the removed teeth).

Then, to top it all off, I had some issues where my teeth just started to rot away on the outside near the gum line which caused me to never want to smile.

When I moved to Vegas I decided that this big change in my life deserved other big changes and so I ended up going to a dentist who gave me the same bad news that others have - my mouth was a horrible place and needed a fuck-ton of work done.  I told him that I was more than aware of the fact and that is when he brought in the Big Guns, Natasha.
I have said before in my blog that the office is going to miss this girl.  I still, to this day, do not know what exactly it was about here.  It could have been the accent for all I know.  She was a pretty lady but nothing that you'd find gracing the cover of My Wet Dreams weekly. She just had a knack for talking to people (I assume it was others and not just me) and she was able to break things down to make them seem very reasonable.  After he conversation with me I opened up a G.E. Carecredit card and let the charging begin.

So began a miserable 3 month experience for me.  We started off with root canals on the teeth that were good enough to save and then moved on to the porcelain caps for the ones that were pretty awful.  Throw in a bridge to cover one of my "gaps" and blammo - a f'n million dollar smile.   Getting to this point was the shitty part.

Ever get a root canal?  The thrill of the dentist taking a fucking Dewalt drill to your mouth and going ape shit on you.  Then pulling out the small Geiger counter looking device which detects depth and attaching it to a needle which he then will press with all of his unholy might into your skull until the counter decides to say "BEEP BEEP I THINK WE JUST NAILED A ROOT MOTHERFUCKER."
Ok, so that about sums up the process of a root canal nicely.
Now imagine getting about 10 of those all at once because that's about the hell I went through.
Multiple per visit spread out over about 3 months worth of visits.  dreading each visit more and more as time went on.  Tired of having my mouth and face sore, tired of being shot up with Novocaine and not being able to eat properly.  Oh lord was it fun.

However, the root canal's were all just a minor inconvenience for what was to come.  The caps/crowns/whatever you want to call them.  This is where the real hell of my story came in.
Because some of you might now know I'll tell you the process that they go through to put these crowns on your real teeth.

The first thing they do is numb the shit out of you.  Now, let me tell you that I'm slow to numb and it usually takes a few extra shots in order to get me to the point where they can do all their work without it wearing off - and that means that it's a lot like Juicy Fruit because it lasts an extra extra extra long time.
So you're fully numb and feeling not a damn thing and playing games with your saliva like lets try to suck this back into my mouth before it runs down my chin and all over my chest. 

Then the dentist brings out the grinding machines and proceeds to grind your teeth down to pointy vampire stubs (but smaller) where almost all of your tooth is actually removed except enough to throw some glue on and hold the crown.
At this point they have to prepare your mouth for the crown - This is an exceptionally fun portion of our show.
In order the prepare your mouth they have to push your gums away from what is left of your actual teeth. To do this they grab some medieval torture device and physically stick it between your gums and teeth to separate it, then take a piece of cloth or cotton or some other fabric which should never be in your body and  cram it into the new space that they have created - This causes your gums to stay wide open.
Then when they have the temporary crown ready they place it over your teeth to make sure it fits well and go back with the torture device to remove the fabric from the inside of your gums.  From here they use some temporary cement that smells awful and tastes like shit to affix the temps and allow you to leave telling you to not eat or drink anything hot or cold until you get the full amount of feeling back in your face.

What I have yet to mention in the above about my past is that my teeth have always been sensitive.  For most of my life I have used Aquafresh for sensitive teeth and that has worked pretty well.  However I was in for a whole new level of sensitivity.
Apparently there was not a great seal between the gum area and the new temporary fake tooth area because everything was causing me a great amount of pain.  Breathing cool air in through my teeth cause pain.
Cold water was pretty much the equivalent of sticking myself with with a splinter right up my gum line repeatedly.

For the two - three week period (which felt like a god damned lifetime) I had to take extreme caution with everything I did.  If I drank something it had to be luke warm.  I couldn't eat anything hot or cold.  I couldn't breathe air in through my mouth the wrong way.  I was in agonizing fucking pain at various times throughout every day.  It sucked more than most things have ever sucked before.

Then, finally, my crowns were done and I got to head in for one final painful visit.
The numbing, yanking off the temporary, stretching my gums out with an implement of destruction and stuffing them with whatever - Fitting the permanent and finally cementing it into place.
After a week or so the pain all went away and I pretended that the past 3 or so months of pure hell never existed because I had a pretty f'n smile for the first time in maybe ever.

That is the tale of all the major work that was done and all at once.  In all I had 7 teeth on the top removed and replaced with a crown and 14 bazillion root canals.

All in all that first round of fun cost me somewhere in the neighborhood of $10k out of pocket (or should I say on plastic) and the insurance picked up the rest.  When I finally paid the damned thing off and officially owned the fake teeth in my mouth is right around the time that I finally worked up the courage to go back to the dentist to start the process over again.
However, this last time there was a lot less work that needed done and therefore a lot less expensive (still too much money though).  One more crown, a couple more root canals, two wisdom teeth extractions and they really really want to put an implant in one of my holes but after dealing with the 2 weeks of pain from when they drilled out the fucking bone in my skull and stuffed it with whatever the hell that shit was to prep the area, I really think there is no way I'll put myself through the hell of getting an implant.

I was told that most people have some minor pain for about a week, however mine lasted over two weeks and the only thing that helped even the slightest was overdosing on anti inflammatories which are actually bad for me because they bring on asthma attacks.  There were times that I was in so much pain that I couldn't stop shaking.  Those two weeks were pure hell especially since I was at work during the most painful times.

So, 6 years later and approx $15k worth of work alter my teeth are mostly fake but I own them dammit.
I spent more money on my teeth than my car and that's pretty damned sad if you ask me.

Any questions?

14 comments:

  1. Yida, is much prettier than Natasha and far nicer to :)

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    Replies
    1. Yida can't talk me into spending more money like Natasha could.
      The Asian chick at the desk is the best looking of the lot

      Delete
  2. - and that means that it's a lot like Juicy Fruit because it lasts an extra extra extra long time.

    You win The Best Similes of the Year Award.

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  3. holy crap... i can't imagine how miserable that long experience had to have been. better you than me.

    pics of the smile? (and no I am not hitting on you I am burdened with more children than letters in VBJ.

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    Replies
    1. Yeah - it pretty much sucked ass but in the long run it has been worth it because now my smile is big and dorky on the 3 occasions per year that I actually show it.

      However, I pretty much never smile and when I do I rarely smile in a manner that shows more than a minor upcurve of the corner of my lips.
      So, Sorry - no pics of smile.

      Delete
    2. That is the reason I posted that picture of us in DuBois, I have never seen you smile that big! It was wonderful!

      Delete
  4. You know that Mt Dew is supposed to be one of the worst things out there for teeth. Of course my Dr told me yesterday to quit cigars and coffee. He is nuts. Not gonna happen.

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    Replies
    1. I've heard that and I agree that I am to blame for my issues.
      However, this is one of the reasons I have cut back from the obscene amounts that I used to drink when I was younger.

      Delete
  5. oh shit... I drink 2 or 3 diet mountain dews a day (nothing else but milk or water). I so hate the dentist but without my mountain dews I'd pass out at my desk with my daily ritual of 5-6 hours of sleep

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    1. I'm not sure I could survive a day without at least one can of my get up and go juice.

      I mean, I've got to have at least one vice

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  6. There was a documentry showing kids from the Apalacias that were raised on it and it rotted their teeth out. Looked like methmouth. Freind of mine spent some time in the hospital from complications from drinking Squirt soda. Lots of info on web. I'm not a health nut by any means but you might want to check it out.

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  7. I totally understand the pain you have gone through to get your teeth in some sort of presentable state. I've had bad teeth all of my life and was basically forced into going to the dentist back in 2005 because I had an abscessed tooth for two years. I actually had a bit of money so I went. I also got a GE Care Credit Card. I didn't have insurance and they made me a deal that if I was able to pay it off in a year that they would pay the interest for me. Woohoo. I got it paid off and with no interest.

    Novocain doesn't work well on me either, so when I had to get an extraction, root canal and several fillings, I opted for getting Nitrous gas. I was in the chair for 3.5 hours. Thank God I was knocked out. But, now that I'm basically "good to go", the only cost is cleanings and x-rays every now and then. Now that I am moving, I want to take the only dentist that hasn't screwed up my teeth with me. Think he'd move to NM?

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    Replies
    1. yes, you should just ask him to move to NM for you.

      I think he should be agreeable. Tell him about the better weather and that there's people with worse teeth out there and he'll make bank!!

      Delete
  8. brushing on its own is inadequate to effectively prevent decay. Multiple prophylactic measures are required to reduce the amount of bacteria in the mouth, with the appropriate techniques for each being key to successful decay prevention.

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