evannichols (evannichols) wrote,

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It's August, Time to Talk Dentistry!

Being from Arizona, I'm proud to say that I have all of my own teeth (except for the impacted wisdom teeth extracted back in high school). You probably know all the classic Arizona jokes, so I'll skip them*, and merely point out that for whatever reason, I've been very fortunate, dentally-speaking. I got my first filling in my late 20's, and only have collected a few small ones in my entire lifetime.

As previously noted in this journal, my dentist visits tend to be simple. I chat with J the hygienist as she works (well, once thing get going, she does most of the talking, naturally. This time, I got to learn about her friend's son, who is trying out for "American Idol"). Then the dentist comes in, examines my teeth, jokingly apologizes for not finding any cavities, and I'm done, free to take my complimentary toothbrush and berry-flavored dental floss.

Except today. She says "Did we note the crack in #15?" No, they hadn't. It's new. Crap.

So, some Risk Analysis:

Option 1 - A porcelain 3-surface filling, for under $300. If the tooth isn't cracked too deeply, this could fix it permanently. As a bonus, I'd be replacing the old amalgam filling in that tooth.

Option 2 - Wait and See. I might go for weeks, months or years completely problem-free. However, if the tooth does fail, repair could require a crown or root canal, costing three to five times as much as Option 1. And breakage would also probably hurt a lot until fixed. I could improve my chances by only eating pureed foods at lukewarm temperatures, but that's not going to happen.

It's kind of like gambling, isn't it? I don't really want to spend $300 (especially after paying for four visits to the chiropractor in the last month), but given the choice of fixing a small problem now or possibly having to fix a messy, expensive problem later, I'll hedge my bets. I'd like to think I'm at the nadir of my income levels for this decade, but I'd hate to need a $1,500 root canal when I couldn't afford it. So I'll have some dental work done in the next week or so. Maybe they'll give me an extra pack of dental floss.

* Except for the ever-popular:
Q: What has 179 legs and 2000 teeth?
A: The Arizona State Legislature.


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