Friday, April 13, 2018
The joys of dentistry - NOT!
Way back when, as the result of an old injury and some not-very-well-made repairs, I ended up getting all my upper teeth removed, and was fitted with a full upper denture. The first one (made in South Africa) lasted quite a while, and the second one (made in Louisiana) did OK. Of course, one's jaw shape changes over time, particularly as one gets older, and one needs to have new dentures made. I had that done for the third time in Nashville, the year before Miss D. and I moved to Texas. The denture was never very satisfactory compared to the first two. It didn't seem to fit as well, and moved more as I chewed. Not a comfortable feeling, but money was tight at the time, so I lived with it as long as I could.
Last year the denture cracked. I had it repaired by the local laboratory, and asked them to put in a piece of reinforcing mesh while they were at it. I wasn't impressed by their workmanship, and the denture ended up going back and forth three times until they got it sort-of-right. Oh, well . . . one learns to live with it. However, last Friday, eating (of all things!) a piece of soft bread with butter, there came a loud CRACK from my mouth. You guessed it. Busted denture again - and not even biting into something worthwhile, like steak!
I went in to the dentist on Monday, and asked about repairing it, only to be told that it's been fixed too often. No dice. Oh, well . . . time to invest in a new denture again (and at denture prices today, they really are an investment). This time I've specified a steel liner, rather than a plastic or polymer one, in the hope that it'll last longer and hold its shape better. However, that also makes them more expensive, and delays completion by a couple of weeks longer than usual. (I could always specify a gold or platinum liner, of course. Why not? It couldn't make them that much more costly!)
Meanwhile, Miss D. has been having fun (NOT!) for several months with a nagging ache in her cheek. Over time, it resolved to the upper jaw, and she went in to the same dentist for a root canal and crown. (They price that procedure as if they were implanting one of the Crown Jewels, for heaven's sake!) The root canal did not go well. She continued to have severe pain, and after a week, went back to check on that. Further X-rays revealed that there's a probable extra nerve root, well hidden and hard to locate. The dentist has therefore referred her to an endodontist, and refunded what he charged for the root canal procedure so far. That helps, but even so, we'll have to find a couple of thousand for her root canal re-treatment, endodontic costs being what they are.
So, we're both eating soft foods for an extended period, and Miss D. is popping pain-killers to boot. (Fortunately, I like soup, and can make a good one when required.) At times like these I'm grateful that we've forced ourselves to live a financially disciplined life, and build up an emergency cash reserve. It's about to take a hammering!