This week’s TMI Tuesday post is about dental stuff. If this doesn’t interest you, you’d rather not know about my dental procedures and struggles, do come back tomorrow for your regularly scheduled random fatty talk right here on my blog-a-ma-thing. Thanks! <3
Oh the dentist! I don’t know many people who like going to the dentist, but I’ll admit that for awhile I actually did. I hadn’t been to the dentist in many years and had a “root canal” go bad in that the tooth was falling apart. Turns out there was never a root canal done on the tooth and two different dentists had told me and my father’s insurance that this had been done. *HeadDesk* At one point I was convinced that a good dentist, much like a good mechanic, either didn’t exist or was truly worth their weight in gold…I was kind of right!
I eventually was recommended by my BFF (though at the time he was my boss and not a friend at all, more like a jerk! Ha-ha!) to a dentist in the mall we worked in. I was terrified! My then-boyfriend (later husband) went with me for moral support. After the initial exam and cleaning I was a bit more at ease, except the tooth had to be extracted (removed). No fun! It was kind of awful and scary, but relatively painless after all was said and done.
Later I had two root canals, some fillings, gum surgery and a gold crown. I began to like my dentist and recommended him to anyone I knew. We developed a friendly relationship and all was well…until that gum surgery. I needed a “crown lengthening” in order for him to put the crown on. So he referred me to a periodontist and assured me it was what was best in the long run. I trusted and believed (still do actually). Unfortunately the periodontist was a giant jerk! He was so rough on me he even, actually, joked about it! (More on that later*.) When I left his office after the procedure I was in shock and couldn’t even speak. By the time I paid and got to my car I was sobbing uncontrollably. The receptionist could not understand what my problem was and chose to give me major attitude and stink-eye over the usual friendly chatter one would expect in such an environment.
I was in such a state of shock and horror that I ran a red light on my way home (the kind where they mail you a picture of yourself running the light). I got home and looked in the mirror…it lo0ked like I’d been in a bar room brawl! My face was black and blue, clear up to my eyeballs! I followed the instructions on caring for my gums and took lots of vicodin to keep the pain at bay. It took the edge off but I was in horrible throbbing pain for a few days straight. The day after the procedure I left a tear-filled message for my dentist about what had happened. When he called back I begged him to not make me go back to that jerk and asked if he could inspect and remove my stitches when the time came. He agreed and said that he would no longer refer his patients to that guy.
I healed up and got my shiny gold crown and all was right in the world. Except that I had to have the exact same procedure on my opposite tooth. D’oh! My dentist recommended another periodontist, but it took me several years to go back and even consider having that procedure again. Even now when I tell the story of what had happened I tear up and get emotional about it. It seems silly, but I was traumatized. Yet another dental disaster after building a trusting relationship with my dentist.
Then my temporary filling began to fail and crack and they patched it here and there but I knew I would have to get a crown which meant that damned gum surgery again. I didn’t have insurance this time though and so I called a few places to find out prices and stuff. Turns out this is something very guarded. They don’t like to tell you anything over the phone and most will charge upwards of $175 just to do a consult on what may need to be done, regardless of whether or not x-rays are needed. I couldn’t afford to blow that kind of money on top of however much the actual surgery would be. So I turned to Yelp.com. I am so glad that I did!
I looked up the highest rated dentist/periodontist in my area and found some incredible reviews and a lot of information. I called and not only did they offer me a discount, but they told me roughly how much the procedure would be over the phone! Woo! So, I go in for an exam (which included x-rays at no extra charge) and the dentist insists that I don’t need the surgery! Woo! So I schedule my crown appointments and get the show on the road. The day of the NAAFA convention I’d gone in for my last appointment and have a shiny new gold crown as a result. I now have a matching set in my back of my mouth and I couldn’t be happier.
I don’t have to worry about chewing on a certain side or what I eat or anything. I’m all set. With the except of the extracted tooth, which is now just a gap in my teeth on one side in the back, I have a perfectly healthy set of chompers now. Both dentists recommend an implant for this spot, but it’s $3,000 and I don’t have that kind of money, period. I would love to get the implant, but I also don’t feel that it’s a major concern.
I wanted to write about this today because I struggled for a very long time about going to the dentist, especially after some pretty terrible experiences. But I want you to know that it is worth it, that we must insist on proper patient care and that this is your health! Your dental health impacts all of your health. It impacts your moods and social interactions, too. When I had a broken tooth I wouldn’t smile or laugh as easily, I was self conscious. I was constantly worried about having bad breath or getting food caught in that area. It was awful. Once I found a good dentist and started to get my dental health in order (luckily my dentist took payments) I felt better and was generally happier.
You must take care of yourself. You are far too valuable to let things like fear keeping you from proper self-care. It’s been proven that gum disease can lead to heart disease, so let’s not take this lightly, folks. This is serious! This is your life! Please get your regular check ups, once a year is enough and if you have insurance, use that shit now! For me! Ha! But seriously, it is more important than you realize and you will be glad you took care of your teeth and gums later in life.
*Now, about that asshole who joked about being rough on me…I cannot help but wonder if my size had something to do with it. His assistants all looked like they stepped out of a Marie Claire magazine and while they were nice, he and his receptionist were just terrible people in my opinion. When I first walked in I got the up-down and an eyebrow raise from the receptionist. But I have noticed that some people believe you must be more aggressive with fatties. That a simple handshake isn’t enough, you must crush! You must squeeze extra hard with hugs and you must be more direct with your speech. NO! STOP THAT!
I wish I had spoken up and directly to these people, but I was not able to. The periodontist did call me a couple of days later to apologize (I let it go to voice mail), but I have no doubt that he did so only because my dentist called him. We do need to demand proper care and comfort and advocate for ourselves. But we should also feel comfortable bringing someone with us and even not saying anything if that is what feels right at that time.
Take care of you! <3
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