Last night I was eating a delicious piece of candy I love sugar, especially when it's covered by chocolate! Suddenly I was aware that there was a piece that was extremely hard. When I fished it out of my mouth I discovered that yet another of my teeth had broken off at the roots.
Sigh...it didn't hurt...it just gave up. So now I have an even bigger space where my upper teeth should be. Thank goodness that when I lived in Portland, Social Services actually paid for a dentist to crown my two front teeth. They are now two of the only 4 teeth I still have on the top level. Oh, the roots to the broken teeth are still there. Roots that abcess far too easily.
I am eager to have them all removed. I'm hoping, praying that my health will improve when I no longer fight this constant battle.
I have come to understand that I am extremely vain. I liked the way that I looked with teeth. After my parents sacrificed to get me braces my teeth were lovely. I often had people tell me that I had a beautiful smile. I liked hearing that.
Nobody would tell me that now. I look very much like a chipmunk. Remember how they only have two large teeth in front? Chewing is very entertaining. How much can you chew without teeth?
I know that it will take awhile for my gums to heal after the extractions. It will take awhile for me to get used to dentures. I still know that it will be better than it is now. It will be awesome to just see myself with teeth, even if I can't use them to chew for awhile!
In my late teens and early 20's I had nightmares of my teeth breaking to pieces and falling out. I studied dream psychology and found out that those dreams were showing a fear of lack of control. I no longer have to dream about my teeth falling out, and breaking off, it has become my reality.
I do not have the confidence to try to approach anyone to sell my books with these raggedy, jaggedy mess of teeth. All I have to do is to open my mouth and they will not listen to another word I say. I know that people are judgmental about bad teeth. I know this because I used to be.
I worked with a kind man who had all his teeth pulled in his 20's. He grew up in a desperately poor family. They never had money for tooth work. When I met him I thought that he was at least 60. He would have many days that he didn't wear his dentures. They did not fit properly. They caused him pain and so he would just go without them. I thought he was at least 60. He was in his early 40's.
Children growing up now do not have the benefit that I did of proper dental work. It's prohibitively expensive to get a tooth filled, or teeth cleaned. Unless you have a dental benefit through your employer I do not know how you could afford to keep your children's teeth healthy.
I remember an appointment with the dentist when I was 11 or 12. He just checked my teeth for decay. It cost $13.00. THIRTEEN DOLLARS! The same appointment now would cost at least $60.00. Our middle class income has NOT kept pace with inflation.
So is there a point to this post? I guess the point is that I needed to vent a bit about the situation that I am currently facing. I DO think that dentist's should have a sliding scale of charge for people who can't afford to get their children's teeth cared for, forget their own.
I also think that Social Services should understand that just because I live with my daughters (because I can't afford appropriate housing on my own), they should not count my daughter's income as though it is mine. I should still be able to get medical and dental assistance.
Venting is done. I wish that I had the answer to these problems. If I DID have the answer I would not need to vent. Anybody out there that knows these answers?
UPDATE: It was harder than I thought to become toothless. Suddenly the face looking back at me in the mirror looked about 20 years older. I still can't wear my bottom plate. Bone deterioration has left little for the plate to be attached. I had implants placed in my lower jaw, but I can't afford the $1,400.00 price to get my dentures prepared for that. (I didn't realize that cost was involved).
On the other hand, my health HAS improved. I have been able to make goals and actually meet them. That is such a freeing thing, when you know that you can plan for the future!