Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A Bad Tooth Day

So, you know how when you move it can take you awhile to get into the swing of your new community? Things like figuring out where the grocery store, the dry cleaner and the post office are happen right away. Finding a pediatrician, when you have six kids, follows shortly after. Inevitably, however, some things lag behind. Such as finding a dentist.

I am ashamed to admit that it has been nearly two years since I have been to the dentist. I went regularly before we moved but just haven't dealt with finding a new dentist down here. I took the kids to their old dentist last summer for checkups when we were in town for bible camp, and this only further reduced my urgency to take care of this detail of our new life.

In the last month or so, Julia has been complaining of a toothache, so I finally had to get my act together and find a dentist. I asked people for recommendations and finally settled on a family dentist rather than the pediatric/adult dual dentist situation I had up north. Simplify, simplify! Anyway, in making the appointment for Julia I figured I had better get myself taken care of too and since I had already picked a dentist for us all, I had no further excuses.

Now, I figured I would need a little work. A thorough cleaning. A repair of a chip in some old bonding. An old silver filling that looked as if it had seen better days. But since I take pretty good care of my teeth by flossing regularly and using a sonicare toothbrush, I was in no way prepared for what his high-tech tooth camera made very clear, even to my untrained eyes: my teeth are a mess!

I need--now brace yourself--two crowns and 12 fillings. Yes, I did say 12. As in a dozen. I really should be too embarrassed to admit this in a public forum, but since becoming a mother I have no pride left, so what the hey.

It would be my inclination to believe this new dentist was exaggerating my need for dental work in an effort to fill his pockets, but I could not ignore the visual evidence. I myself could see large fractures in two molars, hairline fractures in two more. These teeth are just waiting for the crunchy tidbit that will split them in half. The old silver fillings were literally crumbling and I could see the dark pits of cavities in previously healthy teeth. To top this off, I need some sort of special deep cleaning to repair the gum damage I did in letting my teeth go uncleaned for so long.

I asked the dentist if this was some sort of record, and he said, to my chagrin, that my teeth weren't bad at all compared to some he had seen. How scary is that?! He further "reassured" me by saying that my teeth were simply aging along with the rest of me. Soothing, that comment was, let me tell you.

At any rate, he and I are about to become good friends, I'm afraid. Just how I wanted to spend my summer...in the dentist's chair.

Now doesn't this make you want to go and brush?


Michelle said...

your teeth are "aging along with the rest of you"????

have fun trying to squeeze all those appointments in. My dentist recommmended replacing my old fillings with new ones, and I was all for it, but then I looked at the calendar and decided it could wait another year. hmmm...maybe not...

Jen Savard said...

Suz, if you trust this dentist go for it but it has been my experience that the "deep gum cleaning" can be a total racket. I was told by a dentist in Dallas I needed that to save my teeth from falling out then came to a dentist in San Antonio who said my gums were just fine! My teeth suck but what was holding them in was good! :)Good Luck!

Renee said...

I have a phobia of the dentist. I've been in braces twice in my life as a child. Haven't been in years.

oh, just guess ... said...

hmmm....I almost said "no comment" but I just can't do it !! I think I MAY have told you this, but when you are pregnant you really should go see the dentist for regular teeth cleanings more often than you usually do. With all that hormone activity you can sometimes develop gestational gingivitis. That would be that gum condition - has nothing really to do with neglecting your teeth for two years, its more like you've been pregnant for the last two years of your life - uh, i mean 10 years of your life !! Studies have linked gum disease to heart disease as well as some other serious conditions, most recently pancreatic cancer even. So it's not a frivilous procedure but I agree with Jen that it can be recommended to "boost" production even when not needed. You should ask to see your probe chart readings - Healthy gum readings should be be between 1mm and 3mm - 4mm is getting into the danger zone but is quite common around crowns and such. Higher than that and I would recommend the deep scaling (can even be spot scaling in those areas) - you don't want bone loss, which would happen if left untreated cuz you can't get that back - short of surgery....and then your teeth really will fall out !! Enough said... okay, have a nice day !!! Hope Julia's experience with her new dentist was better then yours.... XXOO

Tina said...

I have a dentist appointment on the 11th. Your encounter makes me want to go all the more to keep up with my every 6 month visits since my teeth must be aging also with the rest of my old body.

How did Scooter do? Is her tooth better? Tell her Mrs. P sends her lots of love.

anna lisa said...

go see my Dad in SB. I think it would be worth it after all the horror stories he tells us. Garvan Kuskey DDS. 1515 state st. 805 965 9831. He'll tell you the bottom line. Good luck!

Qtpies7 said...

I was "SO" close to making a dentist appointment for myself after 2 years, but now there's no way, thank you very much!
Being a mother can really ruin your teeth. Its frustrating to make those appointments. Its frustrating to pay so much money for dental coverage that doesn't really cover. Its frustrating to have to pay so much money for teeth, and there is none left for mom's teeth. Its frustrating that baring children in your body strips your teeth and bones of needed calcium, and throwing up for 22 weeks per pregnancy eats away at your enamal, but you can't stop throwing up long enough to GET dental care. And where is the time to go to the dentist going to come from?

Ok, long rant! I have a tooth falling apart I can't take care of, and a child who needs braces because an adult tooth grew in sideways over the other teeth and can't come down.

Have fun with your new friend the dentist!

motiur nuggeta said...

Good sharing

Mike Lintro said...

Finding a new dentist is really the worst. I had an awesome one though my insurance but had to switch when i got laid off. I still have insurance but the only dental options i have are terrible. http://www.nevilledentalcare.com/services.php