Friday, May 27, 2016

Dental Woes





 I have been attending to long ignored dental care and the universe is repaying my neglect.  Living on the line financially with a long standing fear (read terror) based on past experiences does not lead to a lifetime of staying faithful with dental visits.

 

 

I admit to the usual reasons for this neglect.  


Cost :     The costs of dental care are prohibitive and most of my life I have been squarely in the middle between not enough income for insurance to much income to qualify for assistance.  Many RV'ers go to Mexico to have dental work done.   Since I am land bound most of the year in Northern Washington State this is not an option for me.

This winter I discovered a deeply buried secret.  There are a number of clinics that have sliding scale copay's that are based on your income.  I made an appointment and started the process of regaining my dental health.  My avoidance lead to the not so fun process of dental scaling, a deep deep cleaning where they blast and scrap away tarter 1/4 of your teeth at a time.  I also needed a few fillings, and two crowns.   So it began..... 

FEAR:      All of my life I have had a difficult time with Novocaine being effective. Doctors and Dentists all have theories as to the cause and with each new Doctor they seem to start with anxiety as the cause. 





Needless to say I have had many difficult encounters through the trial and error of ineffective numbing. After many appointments they are realizing that I can't see what part of a tooth they are working on but I FEEL it.  The other issue is how much medication it takes  and that it often is wearing off before the procedure is done.  After many trials....

Nitrous Oxide and I have become fast friends.  
  
As is usual for me, my dental care seldom goes according to the plan.  We started with the blasting/ scaling and cleaning.  The second visit started an infection that has been difficult to treat.  The next step is a root canal the day after Memorial Day and then the prep and placement of the last crown.  It has taken so long and many appointments to get to this point.  I am looking forward to finishing this chapter.......for now.

Unfortunately, the additional care will cause a delay for our departure for summer travels. 
Since I have an inflammatory stimulated disorder,  I need to make continuing routine dental care a priority.  Finding appropriate dental care is challenging while living in one place.  Full time travel adds another layer of complexity and decision making to the process.  It clearly needs to be factored in when making a choice about state residency.  I am getting prepared for my future.

I am grateful to have found a place that helps make dental affordable for me
 AND 
the care professionals and I have become well acquainted 
they know my needs well. 

 
 AND,    I must congratulate myself.....I am doing it.


 PS.  I have to admit that given the subject matter, I had fun cruising images on the internet to entertain myself writing this post.  It has almost been therapeutic.

19 comments:

  1. Yep, been there, am back there now. I had so much dental work done while I was in Honduras. Prior to going down there I had an estimate of $60K, and that was with insurance. This was a practice in Lacey, WA. I didn't like that they acted like I was some kind of freak for needing so much work. When I went to Honduras I had to do something. I found a nice dentist. I about fainted when he said he didn't use nitrous. His look of deep concern when he sat down next to me to tell me how much work I needed and how much it would cost was comforting, he seemed really upset for me. I told him that it needed to be done so go for it. He saw me so tense before he started that he stopped, put down his tools. and looked at me. He said "I'm a Christian. If you wouldn't mind, I would like to say a prayer." I said "I'm for all the prayer I can get right now". After the prayer the room relaxed a bit. He put his cell phone with ear buds and 80's rock and roll playing on a loop. I had something like 6 or seven crowns, 4 root canals, and the cleaning and cavities he just took care of while he did that part of my mouth over the course of several months, going most Saturday mornings in a taxi I trusted. After the first visit he did get me a nerve pill that his wife/office assistant would hand me when I came in (no need for prescriptions for stuff like that in Honduras). They spoke in Spanish I did not understand during the procedures, so I could tune them out. I survived. All that to say, yeah, Good For You! I know.

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  2. Thank you... I have spent so much time beating myself up it didn't really occur to me that I deserved compassion. The really test will be.... Can I make the call to make an appointment again after this work is finally done or will I return to anxiety and avoidance.?

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    1. I don't know about you, but I'm back in the anxiety and avoidance routine. I've been to Algodonez once for a cleaning, but I need an implant as well. I keep putting it off, and as a result I put off going for the cleanings as well. I have little excuse, cleanings are $30 cash in Algodonez.

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  3. Oh man, I feel for you. I spent all last fall getting so many crowns I lost count (15?), plus a couple of bridges and one pulled tooth (will get an implant when I can afford it). No sliding scale around here or care for the poor. You either pay up or you don't get it done. I did get a 5% discount for cash. The dentist I used is a real gem and did a superb job. She's a true professional. I now go in for cleaning every 3 months, as I never want to go through all that again. I sold my Escape trailer to pay for it all (the dental care cost almost 30k), but I should be good to go for a long long time. I'll be thinking of you and hoping for the best. Let us know how it all went when you're done.

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    1. Thankyou for the encouragement....I keep thinking we are almost done....then something else goes wrong...I keep telling them if they miss me just call I'll come for a visit and bring cookies. It would be more fun for me!! Hopefully I will be done by the end of June!

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  4. Glad to hear that you are getting it taken care of. Like many problems, unattended, Dental problems get rapidly worse and worse. Wonderful that you've found a place that you can work with the get things taken care of. I've read in many places how your dental health can have far reaching other health consequences. Having had periodontal work done in my late 20's, I am an avid flosser and have my teeth cleaned every 6 months. Perio work is horrific. I hope NEVER to have to have it done agin.

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    1. I had periodontal work done when younger too. Obviously I am a slow learner...I am now fanatical about brushing and flossing too. They are now concerned that I am brushing the enamel off my teeth! I actually have a follow up appointment for cleaning on Tuesday morning....before the root canal that afternoon at 3:30. FUN day! But I am doing it!

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  5. I'm so sorry you are going through this, but it will be SO worth it! When I have something difficult health-wise (like a mammogram or colonoscopy) I view it as a gift to myself. You will be so proud of yourself and your courage when it's all done. I had heart surgery when I was 18, so now I'm required to take amoxicillin an hour before any dental work. Releasing bacteria during a cleaning (or just working on my teeth) could cause an infection in my blood that could injure my heart. I wonder, with your infection after that dental visit, if you should be doing the same. Dentists won't touch my teeth unless I've pre-medicated. The dentists prescribe the Rx - the one I just got cost me $4 at Wal-mart and will last three years. Worth asking about? Good luck!

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    1. Thanks Barbara, I'll check with the Dentist about ways to avoid this in the future....I'm sure it will prompt the come back for regular check ups and cleanings and I really do deserve the lecture. On the other hand I am getting close to 20 visits and I haven't missed one or cancelled and appointment. Not even been late..... Yep I'm proud of my progress!

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  6. I know this is unsolicited advice, but I feel your pain about the dentist. Get a Braun Vitality electric tooth brush. They're about $24 at Bed Bath and Beyond. You don't need one of the expensive ones. My dentist told me to do this several years ago, and between that and soft picks, my visits for cleaning have become non-events. I'm in, I'm out, there's so much less scraping. For me it really was life changing.

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    1. I already have a sonic care that I have used for years.... They said had I not been using the Tooth brush, I would have probably had significant tooth loss and far advanced periodontal disease. I am a believer!

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  7. Hi Karen......after you get through this, you'll be more than ready to hit the road! I'm so glad you are getting the dental work taken care of because if left untreated, it can get serious. You'll be in my thoughts on Tuesday.

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    1. Thanks my friend! If it wasn't for the support and encouragement and my slightly stubborn streak I wouldn't have gotten into this mess, or had the stick to it ness to get through it. Both the curse and the blessing!

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  8. You will feel so much better after all this is done. I'll be cheering you on from here. then You can get on the road even if they will be smaller less costly trips. Now get in there and know we are all here for you.

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  9. My last visit to the dentist was quite an adventure. I was expecting just a simple tooth extraction, but once the dentist began working I could tell there was trouble. He began pulling and pulling, finally telling me that the tooth had more roots that he thought. I was sore for a week after he finally got it all out.

    Eunice Greer @ Downtown Dental SC

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  10. Interesting blog. Much like yourself, my wife and I both have strong cases of dental avoidance, me more than her. Cost is a big issue for us as well, but I absolutely agree, fear is an even bigger part of the problem. I just don't like going, and delay, and delay, and no surprise, once I do go, problems abound.

    Sylvester Mckenzie @ Cody Dental

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  11. I had a similar experience very recently. I went to the dentist because I had an abscessed tooth. The left side of my face exploded and I could barely keep my eye open. The dentist said if I waited any longer I could have caused serious damage to my vision in just a few weeks.

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