Thursday, December 13, 2012

That's a tooth decision.

Today I hit myself in the tooth with my earring. You might be wondering how I managed to hit myself in the tooth with my earring, but I believe all will be explained when you see the earring, with its heavy glass bead at the end of its long flexible chain.
Imagine what happens when I turn my head while wearing these earrings and smiling! This is one of my favorite earrings, and I talk about it all the time on my Unfashion blog, but I never knew it could be hazardous to my health!

I only bring this up because it reminded me of some upcoming dental work I have, and I'm only going to talk about that because I've been a little short on Things to Blog About lately.

Next Tuesday, I get my first cavity filled. Oh, the shame.

When I went to the dentist for my cleaning last Tuesday, I can't say I was surprised when she told me she'd found a cavity. After all, it was my first cleaning since 2005 or so, and up until early this year, I had never flossed in my life! In defense of my oral hygiene, she did say my mouth looked great for someone who hadn't been to the dentist in 7 years.

I had resisted flossing for my whole life for a number of reasons--namely, the inconvenience, the discomfort, and the bloody mess that it would inevitably make of my mouth. Who wants to subject themselves to that, especially if they've never had a cavity and don't see a compelling reason to!? In more recent years, I'd developed the rationale that my teeth were so tightly packed that all flossing would do is open up gaps between them, making them more susceptible to tartar and bacteria, and I actually began to honestly worry that flossing would be the end of my teeth!

My boyfriend, upon finding I was a non-flosser, was just horrified (his mother was a dentist). He tried so many times to persuade me to come around to his side, but I always expressed my trepidations and refused. However, last year, when my gums started bleeding every time I brushed, I realized something had to change. I began flossing sort-of nightly (I only did one row of teeth per night, to give my gums a chance to heal between assaults, and I forgot frequently), but my mouth eventually stopped bleeding.

Sadly, it was too late for my teeth. There is one particularly rough spot between two of my teeth that shreds the floss every time. That's where they found the cavity.

Another thing the dentist found was some exposed roots on three of my teeth. Well, she didn't have to tell me that. My tooth tells me every time I accidentally stick my toothbrush bristles into it.

The last thing the dentist said, which did come as a shock, was that I should put a crown on the front tooth that had a root canal. What? I've been to so many dentists since that root canal, and none of them mentioned anything about a crown. They mentioned whitening oodles of times (since it's discolored compared to my other teeth) but never a crown. But my new dentist said the root canal makes the tooth extra brittle, and the filling they put over the hole was porous and susceptible to infiltration! I looked online, and sure enough, everything I read about "root canal and crown" said, "Do it!" Or else the tooth is highly likely to break. It happened to "me" and "me" and "me" (various people on forums). So apparently my front tooth is a ticking time bomb.

However, I am not getting the crown done at Tuesday's appointment, because it is going to cost me 970 dollars (and that's after insurance!). That's not the only reason, though. For a few years (actually, ever since a dentist suggested it when I visited his office for some mysterious pain), I've been contemplating whitening my teeth. I've held off because it costs money and effort and I've heard it makes your teeth sensitive, and I'm pretty sure my teeth have always been pretty yellow and I don't know if it will work that well on me. But sooner or later, some day, I want to try.

And I don't want to get a 970-dollar crown to match my lovely yellow teeth, only to actually succeed in making them pearly white, and then have to recolor the crown to match them again. What a pain that would be! Presumably, less of a pain than having my tooth shatter in my mouth and having to get a permanent bridge, but (insert breezy gesture here) that's a distant possibility!

The moral of this story is: I made a bad decision by choosing not to floss, and I hope I haven't made a bad decision by choosing to postpone the crowning of my front tooth.


mom said...

All that "whitening" is is high power hydrogen peroxide treatment.And way overpriced. Mom recommends getting a bottle of peroxide and swishing it around in your mouth a couple times weekly. That's what I do-and it does whiten them to some extent-at least till my next coffee or red wine, which means , not too long.