Sunday, May 15, 2016

Tooth Tales: More setbacks

On Thursday I had my latest periodontist appointment. The results were not good, and I need two (expensive) treatments. After some ten days of negative news, I should be used to this, and yet…

It’s possible that I could have been better in my oral hygiene regimen—is it ever NOT possible to be better?! Even though I’ve probably been better than ever, all things considered, I still need treatment. That’s that.

What this means in practical terms is that I’ll probably delay my orthodontist work until late June or, more likely, July, due to how expensive the periodontist treatments will be. It also means putting off the other crowns they say I need for even longer.

That’s the reality of pay as you go dentistry: It’s always a case of what one needs right away vs. what one can afford, and hardly anyone has the money to pay for everything the dental experts say one needs. Priorities determine everything and delay anything that’s not urgent.

The areas of concern are areas that I can reach easily and floss and brush well—or, so I thought. One of the areas includes where my crown will go, so maybe there was more going on there than we knew. Whatever, it makes me feel like a bot of a failure, that if only I’d been better (perfect?), I wouldn't need these treatments. But, I don’t know that and, truth be told, neither does the periodontist. After all, I may be prone to periodontal disease and if it wasn’t for my efforts, things would be even worse. I can’t know that, either, but I prefer to think that than beat myself up over what is; I can’t change what it is, I can only fix it.

It’s now reaching a point, however, where what once was a joke or fatalistic musing is now becoming true: It almost would have been cheaper to have my teeth ripped out and gotten dentures. I’m no longer certain that if I’d known two years ago how much this was going to cost that I would have chosen this path. And, I even have to question whether the orthodontist work is justifiable any more.

In any case, on Friday I go for the first periodontist treatment. The following Friday I go to have my permanent crown installed. The following Thursday I go for my second periodontal treatment. That’s as totally not fun as it sounds, and very expensive, as well.

It’s also what it is, like much of this journey.

The image above is a reproduction from the 20th US edition of Gray's Anatomy, and is in the public domain. It is available from Wikimedia Commons.

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