I’m still pretty groggy and on lots and lots of painkillers, so forgive me for any rambling or incoherence. But, since posting last night’s “Emergency Room Blogging”, I’ve been swamped with email from you. Thank you all for your kind thoughts and good wishes. I’d reply individually to you, but I’m running out of steam. These are good painkillers! Thank God, because the pain of this is in no short supply.
Anyway, as some of you know from emails we’ve exchanged, I’ve had numerous appointments with my ortho- and periodontist over the past 6 months to finally get my teeth fixed since my parents hadn’t done that when I was a kid. Having crooked teeth has been a major confidence killer throughout my life, and the matter has just gotten worse over the years. Every time we managed to save up enough money to do something about them, one financial crisis or another has risen and derailed my plans. Then, just this past year, the Venomous Hubby and I decided that no matter what crisis arose, we’d somehow find room in our budget to get my teeth straightened at long last.
This month, I was finally going to get my braces on. Then, after seven “preparatory” appointments, my ortho- and periodontists announced that I’d had too much bone loss and braces were no longer an option. I was back to square one: in my dentist’s chair, talking about my options. The best solution came down to extracting four teeth and having crowns with bridges put in their place.
Fine, I figured: they’ll look straight, they’ll work, they’re permanent, and they’re a lot faster than braces. What’s not to like? I found out the answer to that question when I left his office: the price tag of $6,580. After talking it over with the Venomous Hubby, we decided it was worth it. Besides, insurance would cover a portion of the cost.
Last week, I had another dental appointment and forked over the $6,340 — the amount the insurance company wouldn’t cover. The dentist took molds to serve as the models for the permanent bridges and for the “flippers” — temporary retainers with teeth affixed to them, which I’d have to wear for 4-6 weeks while the extractions heal — and scheduled me to come in next Friday to get the extractions and the “flippers.” The ball was rollling, and I was excited as hell.
I have to admit that last night, when the shock and pain of wiping out on my bike had passed and I was sitting – happily anesthetized — in the ER, the first thought that went through my head was: “Well, now we can save money on those extractions!”
I was wrong.
All told, when I hit the handlebars last night, I lost three teeth entirely, chipped two at the tip, and cracked three more from crown to root. The good news: two of the cracked teeth were already scheduled for extraction. The bad news: two of the teeth that got knocked out were to serve as the anchors for my permanent bridges. The even worse news: the other tooth that got knocked out, the two chipped teeth, and the other cracked tooth will all need crowns now, too. (One may possibly need to be extracted as well, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed.)
So, because the teeth which were to serve as anchors for my bridges are now gone, I have to get all-new bridges made — and I didn’t even get to wear the other ones yet! But I can’t get those new bridges made or installed until my injuries heal, so now they also have to make new “flippers” for me.
Meanwhile, I have no front teeth at all on either jaw and, I swear to God, I look like something out of Deliverance. It’s horrible. I can’t bear looking in the mirror — although, considering all the facial bruising I also have, I wouldn’t be looking in it that much anyway.
The kicker? (As if this wasn’t enough to send me over the edge?) That $6,340 we already put down paid for the original bridges and flippers which, because of my injury last night, I’ll never be able to wear! So now the Venomous Hubby and I have to figure out how to come up with an additional $8,200 to cover the cost of the new bridges, the new flippers, and the new crowns to repair the teeth I cracked in last night’s accident. And, since I’ve already reached my maximum annual benefit under our dental insurance, that’s all got to come out of our already-empty pockets.
In other words: because we’ve already exhausted our resources, I may very well remain a toothless wonder until we can save up enough to do this all over again. Lovely, eh?
Needless to say, if it weren’t for the painkillers numbing my senses, I’d probably be a basket case right now. Lucky for me, I have a supportive and doting husband who assures me that, teeth or no teeth, he still loves me and that somehow we’ll figure out a way to take care of this.
For now, though, I am going to go back to bed and hope that when I wake up I’ll discover this was all a bad dream. If it’s not — if all that money really was a big waste, if we have to come up with even more when I know we can’t afford it, if I really do have to walk around without teeth in the front of my mouth for the next several months — I’m gonna lose it. I know that sounds vain and I know I should be glad that I didn’t get injured even worse, but right now I just can’t make myself think noble thoughts.