Wordless Wednesday: Dental Drama

Dental Drama and PT Pain

The past few days have been somewhat miserable for me. Anyone who’s read my blog for a while knows that I’ve had a ridiculous about of dental work and other tooth woes: crowns, root canals, periodontal work, the Cerec fiasco, etc. Last week I went to a new dentist, who informed me that two recent crowns would have to be replaced due to shoddy work, and one would need an implant. He also suggested to crown a molar that had an old gigantic amalam filling. I was bummed that I needed to have so much recent (expensive) work replaced, but I’m kinda used to it.

On Sunday night, after returning from my quick trip to Florida, my upper left gums and molars started throbbing. I was in an immense amount of pain, and I had no idea why (because all of the work scheduled was on my right side). Through the night, I used Orajel, Lortab, and many ice packs to try to take down the pain level. Between 2 am and 8 am, I only dozed off a few times because I hurt so bad. Despite my perpetually sore back, that pain had NOTHING on my jaw.

I called the dentist’s office as soon as they opened, and they got me in a few hours later. After a round of x-rays, he informed me that I had 4 abscessed teeth, with infection permeating both my upper and lower jaw. The two worst teeth were ones that had ceramic crowns, so he drilled them and did two pulpotomies. He handed me a prescription for Amoxicillin and told me to come back on Thursday to complete the root canals. He hoped that the other infected teeth would improve with the antibiotics, and would not require invasive treatment.

Over the past three days, I’ve been miserable. Not only was I dealing with the dental drama, I had a little mishap at physical therapy on my back. I finished an hour of electrostim and traction, and as I sat up, my hip popped about 3 cm out of place. My physical therapist did some manipulation and nearly and hour of electrical ultrasound to get me to the point I could walk. I still feel like a disconnected insect. Or a bowlegged cowboy.

Luckily, Taylor was home for a few days to take care of me. He replenished my ice packs, made sure I took my meds on time, prepared soft foods and offered general support and entertainment till he had to fly back to Memphis yesterday. Just before heading up to SLC to drop him off at the airport, I started getting a fever and body aches. By the time I dropped him off, my fever was up to 103*. My face was so hot, I felt like I could fry an egg on it. Something tells me the Amoxicillin wasn’t strong enough.

I have my appointment for the root canals this morning, right after the office opens. I have a sneaking suspicion that they will postpone the root canals, and send me straight to Urgent Care.

Bad Taste in my Mouth

We have been having a persistent ANT problem since we moved to Atlanta. Ants on the walls, ants in the toilet bowl, ants in our beds, ants on the windows. Our landlord has been working with the condo association to schedule a pest control company to come in, but it hasn’t happened yet. We’ve been using our aerosol cans of ant killer on a daily basis.

Their favorite spot (other than obvious food sources) is my bathroom counter. Especially my toothpaste and Waterpik machine. Last night when Taylor was spraying, I think he forgot to move my toothbrush. When I went to brush this morning, I tasted this VILE chemical taste. I immediately swished my mouth with mouthwash and threw out my toothbrush.

I bought a new toothbrush on my lunch break.

How my Tuesday actually went…

1. Readied my self for work (including a remarkably good flat iron job on my hair) and packed the car

2. Dropped off Rosie and drove safely to work in the snow

3. Nervously made it through 6.5 hours of work. Got an email from Emory, telling me that they were going to interview one more candidate before making their decision on the position. At 3:15, felt like a snack and bit down on a fruit snack, losing half of a tooth! This tooth was one that I knew needed a crown, but I was waiting till the new benefit year in January to have the work done. I called the dentist, and was able to get in for a 5:00 pm appointment.

4. Caught the shuttle to my car, drove from Ann Arbor to Rosie’s school in record time, picked her up from daycare, dropped her off with a family in my ward, got caught behind a train, and made it to the dentist’s office a few minutes late.

5. Had the dentist take a look at the tooth, and dishearteningly heard him say, “You need a root canal RIGHT NOW. If you wait even two days, you may lose the tooth.”

6. Was injected, drilled, medicated, poked, prodded for 90 minutes, and had the tooth covered in bonding to hold me over till Tuesday’s crown prep appointment.

7. Downed some Motrin, picked up Rosie, and started driving south on the 275, then the 75

8. Stopped in Mt. Cory, OH for $1.43/gallon gas and Arby’s

9. Arrived at Stacey’s in Union, KY at 11:45 pm



As many of my blog readers know, I’ve had some pretty terrible experiences with my teeth. From my early years, I dreaded visiting the otherwise lovely Dr. Edvalson from church because I knew the visit would end up in bad news, pain, and unhappy parents who couldn’t afford the fillings. I’ve had some pretty hellacious dental visits in my 28 years, but today took the cake.

I went to my new office in Canton today, as recommended by my coworker. I explained the last 8 months of my dental history, including which teeth had been worked on, pain, sensitivity, and rough edges. He looked in my mouth for less than a minute, and looked me in the eye and said “I’ve got some bad news.”

He came to explain that all of the teeth that I’d opted to have CEREC work done on were done incompetently. The two teeth have have been pushing me toward the Vicodin bottle for the last month were full of decay, and would need a root canal ASAP. The CEREC material was breaking off in chunks, and as I held up the mirror as he scraped…I knew he was right.

For those not familliar with CEREC, it is a dental restoration product that uses 3D technology and CAD/CAM to make a tooth replacement that does not require a dental lab. When I was deciding between CEREC and other crown substances, I was talked into the CEREC because I was told that it will last several years longer than ceramic fused to metal. It can supposedly be done in one office visit, but for some reason I always had to come back for a second visit. CEREC should be used with discretion, as not all patients are good candidates, especially on molars. It also causes a lot of tooth sensitivity, which I’ve been experiencing for months.

When I had the work done last fall, I had a lousy HMO plan, but the feel schedule said I should have been paying approximately $400 for the crown and buildup per tooth. But for some reason, they kept saying that I was required to pay an extra coinsurance on top of that. All the work ended up being around $2000. I talked to my dental HMO several times, and they told me that it was basically up to the discretion of the office to determine the coinsurance amount. That should have been my first red flag.

Another gripe I had with the office was that I knew I had several teeth that needed work, but very little time till I was moving out of state. In once terrible visit, I was subjected to nearly 5 hours in the chair, being shot, drilled, and bonded in all four quadrants of my mouth. I had asked to have only the most VITAL teeth worked on, and they took the liberty of starting every tooth in one visit. I left the office with a 2 year repayment plan and a majorly bad taste in my mouth.

So here we are…needed a mouthful of work done again, still paying off my shoddy work, and having the worry that my new insurance companies (I’m double covered now) may deny the work because it is less than 5 years old (*#%^*&!!!)

My new dentist suggests that I get the Michigan Board of Dentistry, California Board of Dentistry, and an attorney involved. He said that a reputable dentist would take accountability and refund the work and help cover the cost of restoration, but I have a funny feeling they’ll hire their own attorney and find a way to blame it on me. It’s going to be an expensive, painful, time-consuming and messy hassle!

Random thoughts on my last afternoon of freedom…

Yesterday I started my orientation with UofM Medical Center. Yesterday was a full day of patient safety, corporate culture, medication error reporting, HIPAA and JCAHO regulations, customer service videos, and all the other junk you’re required to review upon hire at a hospital. This morning was a little better…ID badges, benefits, retirement, and parking. They let us leave at 11 am, so I spent the afternoon with Taylor unpacking. Yes, we’ve lived in our apartment for two months now…but with all the travel, we still had a lot to do. We cleared out about 15 boxes, organized our bedroom, spent 2 hours on Rosie’s bedroom hurricane, and put up a few pictures on the wall. I start my job for real tomorrow.

My teeth have been hurting so bad lately. I’m not even sure it’s my teeth, more like the nerves to my teeth. I had so much dental work done in November and December (over $3000 out of pocket after insurance) and I’ve never felt back to “normal.” The left side’s bite still feels wrong after two adjustments on trips to Cali, and the nerve flare ups have been occasional, but never less frequent than a few times a week. Since I got back from Utah, it’s been constant pain on both sides. My new dental plan was in effect as of yesterday…and for the first time ever I have dual coverage. I need to talk to my new supervisor and see how soon I can take time off to see a dentist.

I’m so geeked for the NKOTB reuniting on Friday morning. If only I started work next week, I would SO be there…I’d fly out to Rockefeller Square and hold up my big sign while screaming till my lungs gave out. Yesterday, Taylor found a Russian legal download site where we found the whole NKOTB library for 10 cents per song. I downloaded about 30 songs. Unfortunately, my Ipod is on the fritz. The night before I left for Utah, my iTunes crashed, and I lost EVERYTHING. I had to do some mad file transferring to get it back, but I lost about 8 of my 25 GB of music. It’s been syncing for 3 hours now…

Oh, and I got a call from Becky Anderson, the guidance counselor from MHS. I was having terrible luck getting anyone to call me back about renting MHS for the reunion, but she called me back (the day after Robin got the info). We chatted for about 10 minutes…she ended the call with “Glad to hear that you’ve turned out to be such a success.” I smiled.


One caramel Nips candy that I broke my tooth on: about 3 cents
Root canal and gold crown to repair molar #16: $965
Knowing that I’m supporting the career of a local dentist? Priceless.


Even with dental insurance, I will have to pay almost $1000 for one tooth. And that doesn’t include the 4 other crowns that I need. I’ve got awful, soft teeth, and I’m not always 100% on brushing and flossing. I haven’t been to the dentist in just over a year, and now I’m kicking myself for waiting so long. I’ll have to apply for financing because it’ll be a couple thousand to get all the work done that I need. *sigh*