Chronic Tonic: At This Point, I’d Be Happy With Dentures

(4 pm. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Originally posted at Voices on the Square

Let’s talk about teeth. My teeth are just falling out. Kind of randomly. Has been a bit bothersome, but until the past month, didn’t bug me all that much; it was livable.

Ya see, my teeth have always been bad. I had my first cavities in grade school. Yeah, that’s plural. I had quite a few. And when I was around 9ish, a dentist said I had too many teeth for my jaw and I had a few permanent molars pulled. In hindsight, as bad a move as that might have been for a dentist to tell my ma, I have to say I agree – I just do not have that much jaw space – not even for the teeth I have left.

From 5th through 8th grade, I had the curse that is braces. I had crooked teeth and 4 years of painful braces and head gear – the whole 9 yards – and my teeth looked pretty good. Of course, over the ensuing years my teeth fought to return to their normal state and now, yeah, the braces did a little good but my teeth are still crooked, though thankfully, mostly just the bottom.

I mentioned the cavities – my enamel is thin and weak – it breaks and wears out easily. I cannot tell you how many root canals I’ve had, nor fillings, nor fillings that have fallen out, nor root canals that have failed and crowns that have broken off. Nor how many teeth I have broken. And I am the girl who used to floss religiously and always brushed her teeth. It’s really disheartening. I did everything right.

Which brings me to my gripe tonight. My upper right jaw is decimated. Out of the 4 molars that are in it, 3 of them are half teeth with fillings that are gone and the rear one is sans crown now. Thank gawd it’s on the side and not in front. Now, each time a tooth would break or a filling would fall out, I would spend a few days with my mouth in pain and then the pain would subside. Nothing has broken recently, but for some reason, for the past couple weeks, I have been in incredible pain. Not sustained, but frequent and in the same place. I’m wondering what happened and I’m eating advil. I also can’t do narcotics, but I have tramadol, but I’m almost out of that too. I’m really trying to practice some kind of mind control.

So I ask: Why on the Deity’s green earth is dental care not considered part of health care? Seriously, can anyone tell me why? Cuz I can go to the ER and get more tramadol, but I would need more money than my car is worth to get my damn teeth fixed cuz that’s not health care. Or even all pulled and dentures put in, which is what I would consider at this point. Last time I had a filling fall out and a tooth break, it cost me 3 grand to fix. Who has that kind of spare cash hanging around these days? So here I am, in pain and missing teeth, and the only thing I can actually do about it is get more pain pills. Fucked up that is.

So there ends my lovely toothache rant. The floor is yours.


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  1. poligirl
  2. Xanthe

    state of many Americans’ teeth.  Just get on a city bus and note the teeth – or lack thereof – of many passeners.  The young man who does my lawnwork occasionally is clean, well dressed, with two front teeth missing.  He just seems to accept it – I can’t imagine he makes much money.

    Do you have dental schools in your area – here in Chicago, one used to be able to get some work done by interns under the tutelage of their teachers for free.

    Why aren’t teeth considered part of health care?  Well, we don’t demand it – I see Americans becoming more and more placid as to what they think they deserve.  

    Teeth can cause many other health problems – as you know. Truly sorry for your plight – it makes me so mad.


    A friend of mine used to go to the border of Mexico where he told me Mexican dentists practice on the Mexican side – he had two teeth pulled – done quickly and cheaply with no after effects.  

  3. terryhallinan

    Dear poligirl,

    I am not making this up. It is one explanation for our rotten teeth told to us by dentists and denied by others.

    We got our water from a hot spring that was supercharged with fluoride. Our older half-sisters, whose teeth were already developed when they drank the water, had rock hard teeth with only a touch of the characteristic yellow stains that mottled our teeth like polka dots.

    Whatever the case, I suggest you get upper dentures if you can beg, borrow, steal the money but keep some lower snags if at all possible.

    I am deeply sympathetic to your problem because I know it all too well but it is only a memory for me now.  The cost has been enormous truly.

    Why doesn’t Obamacare cover teeth?  Because when Obama bought the non-universal, dreadful, ultra-expensive Heritage Foundation package, dental services weren’t included – dentists presumably being a lower life form than M.D.’s, hospitals, labs and, above all, health insurance vultures.

    I so wish I could offer more than useless advice.

    Best,  Terry

  4. Xanthe

    think of us very often – maybe an afterthought just before voting time.

    I recall seeing the lines of people waiting to get help when medical personnel go out to the cities, towns to give out free services.  They waited thru the night – cold, raining.

    Makes you proud to be American!  And the look on people’s faces in line – like somehow it is their fault.  

    You’d think President Toothy would be somewhat sympathetic and all.

  5. terryhallinan

    for dentures in the past.  

    I know no more than that, including any recent use, but I assumed they were treated as Americans totally independent of Canada’s health care system for residents.

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