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Thursday, September 01, 2011


Dental Disease

Dental Disease

Yes, this week’s subject is probably going to turn into a rant on dentistry. Oh, and periodontal disease.

Mind you-in 53 years on this planet, I have NEVER even had a real cavity. This means I was unaware of just how disgusting Novocain and its effects are and how uncomfortable it is to have both arthritis and vertigo in a dentist’s chair for 2 hours.

It all started with a “regular” visit to get my teeth cleaned. It started off wrong. I was the first one to arrive that morning. They called me in second. No, it wasn’t because the hygienist or the dentist was the “other” patients. No, this is just the way this office rolls.

Then I stood there waiting for 35 minutes for the dentist. I was curtly told to have a seat in the “chair”. I kept explaining that sitting hurt after an extended period of time-and where were the dentist and the hygienist anyway?

Finally the doctor arrived, took a 2 minute peek and mumbled for the umpteenth visit “won’t make any money off your mouth” and told me the hygienist would be in shortly.

I asked what was “shortly”, given the amount of time I waited for him. He came back and said “10 minutes”. It was 20, but at this point-who was counting, except me?

Let me back up-the previous 4-6 visits the dentist actually wound up doing the cleaning. Something I would suggest VERY STRONGLY that you never allow to happen (you’ll know why in the next paragraph).

A perky and very nice hygienist came in and proceeded to check my gums. Then she laid the very unexpected news on me: I had bone loss in my lower jaw, the beginnings of periodontal disease and something about extreme PLAQUE build-up from “obviously not having my teeth cleaned.”

At that I replied, “Not cleaned? I come in every 6 months no fail and Dr. Tran has done the cleaning every time for the last 2-3 years! I guess we can see HE missed that course in college.”

She merely looked at me at that remark. Anyway-she told me that I had to be anesthetized and have a very deep and thorough cleaning, irrigation and 8 shots of antibiotics into my jaw to clean up the “infection” and hopefully help the bone loss.

Read that: We’re billing you $600 and sending a bill to your insurance company for $2,100.


I immediately called my husband to share the news with him. You know, he didn’t sound very happy about this either. And he didn’t even have to endure the 4 “quadrant” Novocain injections, the irrigation, the hanging almost upside down in a chair built for torture and the 8 extra needles. May I add the 3-1/2 hours of numbness or the ensuing 24 hours of throwing up???

He told me to use the “Care Credit” card that we used for our cat Pepper’s dental surgery.

Hey, according to that company-medical is medical, whether you walk on 4 legs or 2.

As for the bone loss, I’ve been taking Fosamax since the “broken foot” incident 5 years ago, so I believe this is the “very slim chance” side effect that I’m having. Believe me, I’m visiting my rheumatologist either as you’re reading this or will have returned. We will definitely be discussing this “bone loss” thing.

I guess some good came out of this-I don’t think the dentist will be allowed to practice being a hygienist anymore (at least I’m not allowing him to come near me anymore) and I had something to share with all of you this week.

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