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Monday, February 1, 2010

My Date With Dentistry

I, along with seven siblings, inherited soft teeth from my father.  Why we all couldn't have inherited my mother's rock hard teeth, I'll never know.  As a matter of fact, I believe that the reason why my parents shelled out for orthodontia for every last one of us Jack was because they wanted our teeth to last beyond the age of twenty.

With the exception of losing four teeth to the cause of the aforementioned orthodontia, I actually managed to keep all my teeth past the age of forty, but things pretty much went south after that. In the short span of the eight years that Steve and I have been married, I have had four root canals, five crowns and two dental implants. Once, when paying the bill at the dentist's office, I mentioned that my husband told me that I was an expensive date.

An old man behind me in line said, "you'd better watch out- he'll trade you in for two twenty-year olds."

And I said, "That's okay- he's only wired for one-ten".

Which is a fine way to speak of a man who agreed to shell out five grand just so I could continue to floss between all my teeth.  The dentist had put a double temporary crown on two adjacent teeth and I couldn't floss in between them for two weeks while my permanent crowns were being made and it nearly drove me nuts. I think he did it on purpose. At any rate, I insisted that a couple of bridges (the affected teeth were on opposite sides of my mouth) was probably not a good idea for me, given that I misplace things regularly.  Anyway, it was my argument and it worked- I got my dental implants.  At the price he paid, I could have had the other kind- you know- really big ones, but I wouldn't have been able to chew dinner with them, and let's face it- food is more important.

Oh sure, I'm taking care of my teeth now, but all those years of just getting by with brushing  are still taking their toll.  And my ice chewing habit in my teens isn't helping either.   Even though I now floss religiously every day, sometimes twice, and do it correctly (I had to watch an instructional video at the dentist's), I am still getting cavities. Or dental caries, if you will.  The sad truth is this: of the many huge and old fillings in my molars, two are in such bad shape that I have new cavities under them.   My mother regrets ever taking us to Dr. Calvert, because  he would just drill and drill and drill.  (I once, as an adult, had a dentist tell me that I had a little molar in my fillings.)  Seemed like we were always at the dentist's office when I was little.  Wealthy Wade, my mother used to call him. 

Then last January, a dentist in Portland, performed a root canal on a tooth that had a crown on it.  Rather than remove the crown, he drilled through it. I thought all was well and good, but he evidently unseated the crown enough that it's been catching food up where I can't floss it, and now I have a new cavity in the tooth next to it that otherwise until now had nothing wrong with it.  So I'm getting three cavities fixed and a new crown, tomorrow morning at 9:30.

I am so not looking forward to this.


Cottage Smallholder said...

Poor you. I hate going to the dentist too.

Cottage Garden said...

Ouch! I do feel for you Paula. You've been through a lot and I admire your sense of humour and resignation through it all but you deserve better treatment! I wish you all the very best for tomorrow. Think lovely thoughts:)

Take care. Jeanne x