Dental goes mental

Because I know you all can’t get enough of my dental escapades, I’m making sure to give you an update. I’ll change up the format to make it seem different and exciting. Highlights:

    Yesterday I was in the chair for over four hours. This included more of the same impressions prep, including the lower right molars for the fifth time, at which point my dentist had to leave and announced I needed electrosurgery to make it work and we’d do it next week.

    The assistant then took two hours to put my fourteen temporary plastic teeth back on my exposed stubs. The top ones had never been numbed and the follies took so long that the bottom ones all awakened from their anesthetic buzz (which never took all the way in the first place), resulting in a very painful and sensitive experience. Each time the teeth didn’t fit they had to be pried off and the excess cement had to be scraped away to start again.

    Now I have blisters between my gums and cheeks, tenderness along the tissues at the teeth where I was all scraped and bloody yesterday, and general jaw pain from holding my mouth open for four hours.

    Last week I discovered my dental insurance is changing from no limit (hello $30k restoration) to two grand a year, from 80% coverage to 50% on all this restorative stuff, and from pick-yer-dentist to a network which does not include the one who is doing all this work.

    I finally tracked down why I haven’t been reimbursed the $1200 I thought I was owed from flexible benefits (that magical tax shelter for medical procedures paid out of pocket). After a tricky conversation with the cranky lady at Anthem, I found out insurance pays just dandy for veneers, but alas, they are considered cosmetic surgery by flexible benefits (IRS I think?) and so sorry, you can’t have that tax-deferred. Uh, how often does insurance cover cosmetic surgery, especially when the government says they shouldn’t? Note I’m not complaining that loudly in case the insurance folks change their minds.

    Have I mentioned this is not cosmetic? Good grief, I don’t even comb my hair. I don’t think anyone could make the case that I care enough about my teeth to spend thirty thousand dollars on them to make them pretty. They looked fine before all this!

    One piece of good news: I found out Tuesday that I still have two original teeth in my head! I thought they’d all gone the way of the crown. That’s a couple grand saved!

8 thoughts on “Dental goes mental

  1. Since that was such a crummy time for you, here’s a cute doggie story to cheer you up:

    Numerous costumed children came to my door yesterday evening. I’m told it’s a tradition. But I found some candy will send them scampering from my threshold.

    Many of the kids saw Maddux since he bounds for the door, tail wagging, whenever a soul darkens my door. Despite the fact that most of the kids were eye-level with him, they all wanted to give him excessive amounts of love. He ate it up (not literally).

    After about an hour of snuggles and petting from strangers one little boy asked, “can I hwug da dawgy?” I said “okay” since Maddux was practically standing on him with joy already. The little boy hugged Maddux tightly and Maddux seemed please and so did the boy. Then the boy hugged him again, noticably tighter. Maddux, a little less enthused this time, was still content. Then the boy hugged him a third time with conviction (it was pure love from the kid, no malice intended). This time Maddux was noticably concerned, because you could almost see in his puppy eyes that this was rough, but “the next one might kill me.” The little boy let go. Just as his slightly disguised Spiderman-hooded eyes showed that a 4th hug was forthcoming, Maddux politely backed away just enough that the boys outstretched arms barely missed the mark. It was enough of a reaction that the kid got the idea. He quickly and with a pleased sense of finality said “okay, bye!” to Maddux and walked away. I almost burst out laughing as Maddux looked up to me and with an expression that might as well have been perfect English said, “That was close!”

    Hope your teeth feel better.

  2. That is cute! Of course David just chases Walt around with the lighted pumpkin, which makes him bark like a big man with a knife is trying to get us…

  3. I googled “temporary veeners” which brought me to your blog. I was trying to decided if my dentist had shaved too much off of my teeth in preparation for my veneers and also get some tips on how to get my temporaries to stick when they fall off.
    Your dental blog sounds so much like my experience. Yours definately being worse, reading your story actually made me feel better!
    My dental worked began in May, 2007 and $10,000 later, I’m nearly finished. Three root canals – one of which and endontic file broke inside the tooth sending me to an endontist. Three root canals, three permanent caps, two temporary caps, six temporary veneers, gums burnt off, packing, medicating and tooth shaving, I’ve about had it!
    My permanent veneers and two front crowns are due in the week of Thanksgiving and I think I’m done. A total of $12,000 and more hours in a dental chair than I can count and hopefully my teeth will not only be pretty but fully functional! I very nervous about how well the veneers will hold up since I’ve had such problems with the temporaries falling off. I actually bought denture cream today hoping that would work!
    Oh and I broke my eye glasses a few weeks ago and had to get new glasses also. How funny!
    Thanks for sharing!

    Rhonda

  4. The cement they use on crowns and veneers is much stronger than on temps (since they have to be able to get the temps on and off; when they removed my several-years-old crowns they had to cut them off with a diamond blade, which destroyed them, while the temps are just pulled off), so I’m assuming you’ll be ok. I’ve only had my permanent veneers for a few months but no issues other than a bit of cold sensitivity at the base of the front of those teeth. My temp veneers came loose in a few weeks, so this is a big improvement.

    I recommend you ask for some of the two-part epoxy in case anything falls off. It’s not quite as quick to mix as just using Fixodent (which I also keep handy), but the individual packets of epoxy have saved me more than once. That way I don’t have to go straight to the dentist! The epoxy also doesn’t hurt, while Fixodent has a sweet base that can feel like hell when you first put it on a raw shaved tooth.

    I hope you saw my previous posts too. I’m sure there’s a very small audience who cares, but I wish I’d known all this when I was getting started almost two years ago!

  5. Where did you get the two part epoxy? I’ve tried a crown repair kit that I found at CVS (Recapit). I works for about 24 hours. Fixodent just makes the inside of my mouth sticky and doesn’t hold the veneer on at all. I just need to make it through the week. I get my permanent veneers next Tuesday. The temporary just wont stick to this one tooth. I went back to the dentist over the weekend to have it reattached and it came off again at the dentist office!
    What made you start all of your dental work? Sounds like you had even more work than me – I didn’t know that was possible. I now have fake teeth than I have real!
    Thanks for responding.
    Rhonda

  6. My dentist gave me the epoxy in case I needed it between appointments. I don’t think you can buy it in a drugstore but maybe online? Here’s a link to mine: http://www.duxdental.com/28/products/restorative/cement.html
    It’s a single-use packet of the Zinc Oxide Non-Eugenol temp cement.

    If it’s coming off at the office, I’m not sure what can help! If the tooth isn’t bothering you you don’t necessarily have to have the temp on (unless it’s preventing the tooth from moving before perms are installed, but that should be less of a case with a veneer than a full crown).

    I did have a few stubborn temps that didn’t last the week between my serial appointments, so they used a stronger cement on them at the office (still “temporary” but better than what they normally used) and that worked much better. It’s harder to scrape out of the temp at the appointment so they don’t use it first try, but it worked great for my temps that didn’t stay on well and it also didn’t irritate my tissues as much (we’d take off the temps a week later and everything looked nice instead of swollen and needing so much chemical retraction to do the packing and impressions). Are they getting the tooth nice and clean/dry first? The temps won’t stick well if damp.

    You can use toothpaste or Fixodent to last 24 hrs or so, and stay away from chewy things like taffy, Viactiv chews, even milk chocolate! Hershey’s did my temps in a lot this year! I suppose it’s harder to keep a veneer on with these products than a crown. At one point I went without my six temp veneers in the front because my teeth didn’t bother me and didn’t look that bad even shaved.

    My problem was years of grinding my teeth. I ground away the surface of my teeth so much that bacteria got into the nerve and caused the need for root canals. All my teeth were headed that way so I just got 20 crowns instead (after much deliberation and several dentists and trying just a few crowns the last few years). I had to have my bite reopened since I had ground away so much!

    I’m very lucky with a good prosthodontist (and endodontist and periodontist) and good insurance. My general dentist was definitely not up to this task.

  7. I just wanted to wish you continued good luck with your dental work. With fingers crossed, my ordeal with be over tomorrow! I expect to get my final two permanent crows and 6 veneers tomorrow afternoon. I’ve been carrying Poligrip around in my purse as a quick fix for the one temporary veneer that just wont say on.

    I can’t wait to see what my new smile will look like. I have hated my teeth all of my life. I’m a little concerned that they just wont feel real. It’ll probably take me a little while before I am completely confident that they wont fall off. The good news is that this has really helped my diet and I’ve kicked the candy habit. No more gummy bears for me!

    Rhonda

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