Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Dentist Math

So, please feel free to skip this post, because I'm going to vent. Last March I went to the dentist. I hadn't gone in 5 years. I went, and the chick said, "Wow! You have almost no tartar buildup! No gingivitis! Your gums are healthy! That's amazing for not having gone to the dentist for 5 years!"

I had one tooth that needed a root canal and one cavity, though.

Okay, fine.

After getting a teeth cleaning (see that? a teeth cleaning? the thing that is supposed to help?), and saving up my money for three months, I went to another dentist. I now had two root canals and two cavities.

Okay. That doesn't make sense, but whatever. Still, I take exceptional care of my teeth. There's never tartar, I always floss. I use an electric toothbrush.

So it takes my student dentist SIX MONTHS to do two root canals and caps, with many, many visits. We're talking between twice a month to twice a week at times.

And now?

My two root canals are done, but it's highly likely one needs to be re-done. One cavity is done, but the other two mostly like need root canals.

I can't close my teeth. The valleys and ridges have to line up, did you know that? Now only some teeth meet.

So after being a good girl and going to the dentist? I have gained FOUR root canals and TWO cavities, for a total of FIVE root canals and THREE cavities.

All in nine months, after first seeing the dentist.

Can someone please explain this to me? Because, from my perspective, my teeth just get progressively and progressively worse with each dental visit.

Oh yeah, and I forgot: because both sides of my mouth were in various stages of root canal disrepair for six months, I've been chewing a lot with my front teeth. And now my front tooth hurts.

I just don't understand.

50 bonus scribbles:

Janna Qualman 12/10/2008 02:27:00 PM  

Oh my goodness, you poor thing! I think your student dentist needs some more study.

Aimless Writer 12/10/2008 02:53:00 PM  

Find a new dentist and stay away from students!
Either the first dentist missed a lot on the xrays or the students are using you for practise?
Time for a second opinion?
Sorry you have to go through all this.

spyscribbler 12/10/2008 03:06:00 PM  

Janna and Aimless, I left out the best part. When I went in today, I said, "If this cavity is going to turn into a root canal, don't do it." Because I need to chew on both sides of my mouth, and he already screwed up the one side.

He swore up and down it wouldn't. I forced him to take another xray, just to be sure. He AGAIN swore up and down it wouldn't.

Well, guess the heck what?

I can't chew with either side of my mouth.

Rick 12/10/2008 03:53:00 PM  

It's time for implants. If they go bad, you unscrew the tooth portion (the titanium peg beneath tooth is screwed right into your jawbone and stays there) and screw a new one back on. They're only $1500 per replacement tooth, and so affordable for anyone that owns a motel chain.

Rick 12/10/2008 03:53:00 PM  

PS, Spy, you have my deepest sympathies on this whole matter. Sorry you're in so much pain.

Edie 12/10/2008 04:16:00 PM  

Spy, that sucks! Ask someone whose opinion you trust to recommend a dentist. My dentist is so good, I convinced my husband to quit his dentist and go to her. Big hugs to you.

Robin 12/10/2008 04:30:00 PM  

Oh, Spy, I feel so bad for you!! I'm with Aimless and Edie. New dentist, pronto.

My dad's mom thought he was allergic to milk and he has horrible teeth. (I think she was right. He farts constantly.) He has caps on all of his teeth, and cavities in almost all of his teeth, also. I'll tell you what he told me when I was having all that trouble with the root canal, blah blah.

He said, "Robin, I've had caps and fillings my whole life, and never had this sort of shit go on. Your dentist sucks. Get a new one. If you don't, you're a moron."

I'll leave out the moron part for you, because you're so sweet.

Lisa 12/10/2008 07:13:00 PM  

I laughed out loud at what you said to the dentist. I agree with the other posters - time for a new dentist and skip the students!
It does all sound suspicious.
These root canals -where they bothering you? Or did they just happen to notice that it was needed.

my dentist has been telling me to redo some fillings for the past 9 or so years . . . I've been dragging my feet a bit. I feel like, if it isn't broke !

I had a root canal about 5 years ago and the cap fell off within the year. it was a different dentist who did the cap and i didn't like him and didn't want to go back. Unfortunately I'd have to had paid my dentist to redo it because the insurance wouldn't cover it again within 5 years.
So . . . I never recapped it and it is still there.
Quite frankly I'm really irked that i didn't just have the stupid tooth yanked out -it is a moler. I felt like if I had that, I'd be done with.

Yes, I've heard the save the tooth thing, save the hassle in this case., I had the one on the other side yanked out after a botched root canal (different dentist) and I haven't had any problems.

Sorry to hear about your experience. This is a good place to vent! I have you on my blog roll list and the 'caption caught my eye.'

Keep us posted on how things go.

Lisa 12/10/2008 07:15:00 PM  

Sorry about writing a book - I got on a roll

Melanie Avila 12/10/2008 08:29:00 PM  

I'm sorry Spy. I know you're frustrated. I agree that you should find a new dentist. I hope this all ends for you soon.

McKoala 12/10/2008 08:36:00 PM  

Hm, I also have reservations about your dentist. Good brushing goes a long way and it sounds like he's creating problems where there should not have been any.

lainey bancroft 12/10/2008 08:42:00 PM  

Oh, Spy! I so feel for you. :(

After years of ortho as a kid complete with extactions (I have no eye teeth if anyone cares--crowding problems) when I supposedly 'grew up' and had no dental insurance I just shrugged.

Tooth? Finally had it checked. One cavity grew into three plus a root canal (which I declined for financial reasons and also because, um...THAT part of my mouth didn't hurt!)

Had the root canal and filling...had the filling replaced less than a year later. I still don't chew on the right side of my back teeth. (don't tell my dad, who paid for the orthodontist!)

(((Feel Better!)))

Rhonda Leigh Jones 12/10/2008 09:20:00 PM  

Why is it that so many people are having dental issues right now? A friend of mine just had to get extractions for braces and is not happy at all.

I also wanted to stop by and thank you for your wonderful compliment at Susan G's blog. Why not post it at Ravenous? And...I'd LOVE to know which parts you read three times!!

I'm going to be posting an interview with Claudio tomorrow, so come by and check it out!


Robin 12/10/2008 10:45:00 PM  

I just thought of a weird dentist fact. I never did dump my dentist, despite the fact I think he sucks and my father thinks I'm a moron. I can't because he once did me a huge favor. I was treating a teenage boy sex offender (yeah, my life sucks), who I adored (what can I say) who had no front teeth! He was from an inbred clan in the Poconos, and no one would treat him - not even the dental clinic at Penn.

I asked my dentist if he'd do it. He said he felt weird because the kid was a sex offender, and he'd consult with his priest. He ended up doing it, and doing a great job. I'm his for life even if all my teeth get infected and my head falls off.

It just wasn't feasible to listen to my dad.

colbymarshall 12/10/2008 11:19:00 PM  

I can't talk about dentists...I have dentist-a-phobia, or whatever the technical name for it is. For once, I'm really not kidding!

Barbara Martin 12/11/2008 02:17:00 AM  

Question: Did you tell them it had been 5 years since you went to the dentist? Or did he/she ask you? If you offered then, of course, they're going to say things are worse than they are. That's why you're getting root canals.

Dentists do root canals in stages because they earn more money that way. (For me they have to do it in one shot, because ordinarily the hole is packed with supha compounds and I'm allergic to that).

Next time tell them you don't have a dental plan even if you do. Doctors gouge the plans because they can get away with it. Think on it.

conley730 12/11/2008 10:02:00 AM  

Poor Spy! It sounds like you were much better off before you set foot in the dentist's office. I had some dental issues about this time last year, but it was nothing compared to yours. I agree with everyone else that your dentist needs to be dumped! I hope you can at least chew before the holidays hit.

conley730 12/11/2008 10:02:00 AM  

Poor Spy! It sounds like you were much better off before you set foot in the dentist's office. I had some dental issues about this time last year, but it was nothing compared to yours. I agree with everyone else that your dentist needs to be dumped! I hope you can at least chew before the holidays hit.

spyscribbler 12/11/2008 10:07:00 AM  

Rick, I am going to buy a motel chain immediately, so I can afford implants! Gosh, wouldn't that be nice? I'm sick of teeth!

spyscribbler 12/11/2008 10:08:00 AM  

Wow, Edie. I'm sorta stuck where I'm at, given I just can't afford more than this, at the moment.

I can't tell you how tempting it is.

spyscribbler 12/11/2008 10:09:00 AM  

Ohmigosh, Robin, I'm allergic to milk, too! Maybe that's why my teeth are going nuts. I've been taking Calcium, though, but not every day; I keep forgetting.

At this point, I think I would rather have asthma attacks than dental visits.

Lisa 12/11/2008 10:11:00 AM  

All this pain of dental visits is worsened by the bill. They torture us, we pay them for it - something is wrong with this picture!

spyscribbler 12/11/2008 10:27:00 AM  

Lisa, only the one was bothering me, but now they both are. I am SO TIRED of going to the dentist. It has been, no joking, a part-time job.

I do want a mercury filling out of my mouth, but at the moment, I'm too exhausted to broach the subject. Ah, well.

And, btw, I love books, LOL, so comment as long as you like! :-)

spyscribbler 12/11/2008 10:27:00 AM  

Oh, Melanie, I wish I could. I really do.

spyscribbler 12/11/2008 10:28:00 AM  

McKoala, I'm starting, after Robin's comment, to think I need to start taking extra calcium pills.

spyscribbler 12/11/2008 10:29:00 AM  

Lainey, that's awful! When I came out of this, I really wanted to be able to chew normally. Now I chew all weird, distributing the food in the far left, up towards the front on the right, and sometimes just chew with my front teeth.

It makes chewing SUCH HARD WORK! It's like trying to learn how to do those tongue tricks or something.

I just want to eat!

Kath Calarco 12/11/2008 01:00:00 PM  

Spy, not only should you seek out a new dentist, but report the "student" dentist to the department chair. Better yet, threaten a malpractice suit against the college. The guy totally messed you up. He doesn't deserve to pass the state boards (if they have them in your state).

Be a meanie!

LaDonna 12/11/2008 01:42:00 PM  

Spy, I really feel your pain. As a gal with her fair share of dental history, my latest included $1500 worth of appliances lost in the dental office, and while replacement was free I had to repeat office visits for fitting, and general numb-jaw fun. I've had it with dental problems. He suggested the replacement teeth for my back ones, the ones Rick spoke of, and all I could think is the personal cost even with insurance,and the things buried in my actual bone.

Think I'll just go along my merry way, and hopefully regular visits will keep what I've got.

I wish you a happy ending to those annoying problems, Spy. We could chat for days about this one, you and I! LOL.

Lisa 12/11/2008 01:53:00 PM  

LaDonna - what do you mean by appliances - you bought things like toothbrush cleaners and the like?

laughingwolf 12/11/2008 02:17:00 PM  

well, the poor dupes need to make $$$ somehow, no? :(

my son broke a tooth the other day, and it cost $300 to fix grrrrrr

spyscribbler 12/11/2008 02:31:00 PM  

Sure, Rhonda! I didn't know there was a place to post comments at Ravenous. :-) I'll have to go check it out.

PS: The last scene. :-)

spyscribbler 12/11/2008 02:34:00 PM  

Robin, that's great of your dentist. How did they know he was a sex offender?

That's a cool thing of him to do. He really consulted his priest, seriously? That kinda cracks me up!

spyscribbler 12/11/2008 02:35:00 PM  

Colby, I can relate. I shake and cry and everything else. It's terrible! After so many visits, I got better, but this last time, I just lost it!

spyscribbler 12/11/2008 02:36:00 PM  

Barbara, no that was a dental assistant I told, at a "real" dentist. I only had 1 cavity and 1 root canal with him. Then when I went to the university place, it sorta exploded. *sigh*

I have no dental plan, which is why I'm going to student dentists. :-( Great tip, though!

spyscribbler 12/11/2008 02:37:00 PM  

Conley, I'm hoping so, particularly because both my "cavities" were FINE until he dug in and turned them into throbbing teeth that need root canals!

spyscribbler 12/11/2008 02:38:00 PM  

Isn't that the truth, Lisa?!

Robin 12/11/2008 06:50:00 PM  

Spy: I saw the kid at a sex offender treatment program. Most of the kids had a judge stick them there. Their victims tattled, thank you know who.

It was cool of my dentist! Even the priest thing was sort of cute. Yeah, he sucks, but he owns me.

Hope you feel better today!!!!

spyscribbler 12/11/2008 08:13:00 PM  

LOL, Kath, I need a little of your spirit! I love it!

Sarah Laurenson 12/11/2008 08:20:00 PM  

I have heard a lot of horror stories from student dentists. And those were just about the deep scaling cleaning they seemed to think you had to have.

My dentist sent me to an endodontist for this past root canal. The reason I was in pain so long was more due to the time it took to decide I had to have the root canal rather than the work of it itself. And I probably needed to see the endodontist since that tooth has 4 roots when it's only supposed to have 3 and they're really narrow, too.

I have the really good dental insurance and my out of pocket wasn't too bad, but the total bill for root canal and crown was probably in excess of $1800. You just can't win.

If you can at all afford it, please try a real grownup dentist. At least for a consultation if nothing else.

spyscribbler 12/11/2008 08:20:00 PM  

Oh, LaDonna, I can't tell you. They're closed for the next two weeks, and these two "little" cavities are in SO much pain I can't eat or sleep.

And Glenn messed up, so now I can't go to the dentist tomorrow, so I can't eat through the holidays. This is torture for me, I swear! I can deal with pain, but I can't deal with no Christmas cookies!

spyscribbler 12/11/2008 08:21:00 PM  

Laughingwolf, they sure charge a fortune!

Sarah Laurenson 12/11/2008 08:25:00 PM  

BTW, the number one profession for suicide rates is... dentistry.

spyscribbler 12/11/2008 08:26:00 PM  

Oh man, really, Sarah? Wow. Unfortunately, there's just no way.

I don't know. Right now, I just am so tired of the dentist. And I supposed I can go on a juice fast for the next three weeks. I don't know. Lordy. Sometimes it feels like if it's not one thing it's another.

spyscribbler 12/11/2008 08:28:00 PM  

Hah! Yes, I knew that! I wonder how many of those suicides are murders staged as suicides by former patients, LOL.

Actually, Sarah, I think of that. I cry and shake like crazy, and it makes me feel bad for them, because I'm not making their job fun.

I think too much, LOL.

Sarah Laurenson 12/11/2008 08:33:00 PM  

I like the idea of threatening the college and getting your mouth fixed - for free - by an instructor.

But you can afford a consult? Getting an outside opinion might help you. I don't suppose you're anywhere near L.A.

Angie 12/12/2008 03:31:00 AM  

Are you sure your student dentist has actually, like graduated? :/ It sure doesn't sound like it. Jeez....


Kath Calarco 12/12/2008 01:46:00 PM  

Spy, what can I say? My husband's a lawyer. ;)

Kristal Byrnes 3/12/2013 10:57:00 AM  

Oh no! I’m so sorry about what’s been happening with your teeth! That must be so frustrating. I think you should go to a different dentist now. Ask your friends for recommendations. It might be good to see a doctor as well. There might be something else behind the deterioration of your teeth’s health.