08 September 2016

I just want to have teeth when I'm old

I had a dentist appointment today.
Nothing hurts, but I figured since I opted to get dental coverage this year, I might as well use it.

My last appointment 4 years ago yielded only 3 cavities after 6 years of neglect, and I had everything taken care of. Since then I've been brushing and flossing well, so I had no specific worries. That didn't stop me from being nervous about the xrays and cleaning. My blood pressure was even high when the tech took it, but I really thought, worst case, maybe a few of the older fillings might have to be replaced.

Oh, wow. I was horribly, horribly wrong.

After the very first x-ray, the tech asked if I drank a lot of soda. Um, no. Then she asked if I flossed. Yes, I floss. Especially since 4 years ago when I was scolded by the dentist, who mentioned that one of my cavities could have been prevented if I had just flossed. So now I floss. Like every night. And randomly throughout the day. I keep it in my car so if I'm stuck at a train or something, I floss.

What prompted her questions? Cavities. A shitload of them. Almost every single tooth.
Many forming between the teeth. You know, WHERE I FLOSS.

Shocked, I asked her to show me on the x-ray. In addition, she pointed out two more cavities so deep that she was surprised I didn't have any pain. The dentist confirmed they would require root canals and crowns.

Excuse me? Root canals? I brush! I floss! What the hell!

It turns out, those really couldn't be helped. One formed under an old filling that got loose and... one of the root canals is from a filling I got 4 years ago. They didn't get it all and it continued to rot my tooth underneath the filling. SERIOUSLY. Really.

I was floored. And terrified. And overwhelmed. The panic started to rise.

It's not even about the money; I can take that out of savings. It's about the procedures themselves. My blood pressure jumps up 20 points for a simple cleaning, and the last fillings were so bad I could barely stand it. And there were only 3 of them. I have to go back HOW many more times, for HOW many more fillings??  I can't handle it. I held back tears.

I'm so disappointed. I've been taking such good care of my teeth! How did things even get so bad? I don't even have much of a sweet tooth anymore. The hygienist even said my teeth weren't very dirty and I do a great job brushing and flossing.

I can think of two things:
1. Wine. That stuff can be pretty sugary, and I wasn't always great about brushing after getting drunk.
2. Gum. I don't chew gum as much anymore since my teeth got sensitive. I used to chew sugarless gum constantly, which they say washes away all the cavity-causing junk.

I'm starting to think that I just have bad teeth.

Trying to remain calm, I asked the dentist about sedation. Fine, I thought. Knock me completely out and get everything done at once. She said that it would cost an extra $1000+ and she doesn't offer it at her facility, so she suggested that I try Valium first.

Valium? Valium doesn't render me unconscious with no memory of the procedure! This is psyche-scarring shit! Clearly!

I held it together and waited until I got in my car to start panicking and crying and calling mom, who made me feel a lot better.

I got home and did a little research. It is pretty uncommon to get IV anesthesia at a regular dentist, and the cost is up there since it's not considered necessary by the insurance company.

So, it looks like I'll be trying Valium. The whole thing will be done in several smallish appointments. I'm scheduled to get the top right side done on Tuesday, and it's 4 cavities. No root canals on that section. Since the 3 cavities last time was definitely crossing the line, I wonder if the 4 cavities will be doable with the help of Prince Valium.

God, help me.

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