Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Oral Surgery, the Oral Surgeon, & My General Dentist. . .

I'm having my wisdom teeth out on May 22nd at 9:00 a.m. and, rather than being nervous, I'm feeling really good about it. I saw the oral surgeon this morning, she assured me that my wisdom teeth are not, in fact, as bad as I thought they were and I made an appointment to go back to get them taken out two weeks from today. She said I have one half-impacted wisdom tooth and one that's completely erupted--both are on the bottom. She's also going to remove an upper tooth that's developed a fistula as a result of a bad root canal. So, it looks like I'm getting all of my major tooth issues fixed at once!

And after seeing the oral surgeon this morning and seeing how nice she was, and how nice her staff was, I'm going to look for a new general dentist, too. The one I've been seeing is nice, but he's overly expensive and he's always trying to talk me into expensive, unnecessary, treatments. He told me getting a bridge on my lowers to replace the tooth I had surgically removed last year was more important than getting two broken, decaying wisdom teeth out or taking care of that fistula, which is infection leaking out through my gums. Then, he told me when I did take care of the fistula that I should get my root canal re-worked which is really expensive. Oh, and he wants me to have all of my old amalgam fillings drilled out and refilled, even though they're okay right now.

When I saw the oral surgeon today,I asked her what I should do about the tooth with the fistula. Rather than trying to talk me into something painful and expensive, like a re-work or an apicoectomy, she said I should have it pulled. That's exactly what I've been wanting all along--it's also what I wanted before I got the root canal on that tooth to begin with--and all the dentists I've seen before have all but refused. She won me over right then. She said that if removing it becomes a problem I could look at getting an implant at some point, but she didn't push it or seem overly concerned about it.

Really, though, all of that unnecessary work aside, my general dentist is so expensive and he's out of network for my insurance which makes him even more expensive. It's not worth it. The oral surgeon quoted me a really good price for those extractions I'm having in a few weeks and after insurance it's going to cost me only about $315 $543 out of pocket (out of Care Credit?). When I had that tooth removed and the three fillings last year, it cost me about $1800, of which my insurance reimbursed only about $300. It's insane how much he charges. I don't know how anyone affords him. It's unbelievable.

So, when I find a new dentist, the only work I'll have left after this is to have my teeth cleaned and figure out what to do about the tooth on the top left that my current general dentist (I'm going to start calling him Dr. Moneybags) says needs a root canal. I'm just hoping he's wrong. I'm also thinking about having it yanked and going ahead with the bridge on bottom, though I don't even notice the place the tooth is missing anymore and it's not noticeable, even when I smile. You really have to be looking for it. We'll see. Then, maybe I'll have my teeth whitened. I've never done it, but I've always been a bit self-conscious about the fact that my teeth are a bit yellow (it's an enamel issue, they've always been like that). It's not completely necessary, so it's certainly not a must do.

I'll just be glad when I'm laying on the sofa moaning about my swollen face. Melanie agreed to take me, the procedure will take an hour or so, and then I'll be done. I've wasted so much anxiety and emotional distress on worrying over these teeth for the last five or so years, I don't have any more worry in me.  At this point, the 22nd can't come soon enough! Wish me luck.