2.15.2008

Oral ordeals

So - I spent some time last month thinking casually about dentists and how they don't suck anymore. Is that why I'm seeing a lot more of the dentist these days? I don't really believe that the universe works this way, but it sure feels like I willed myself into the world of dental health this month.

1. My boy cat has bad teeth, and always has. We brush his teeth, but not regularly enough. The vet showed me where his teeth are decaying (a cavity in a human is a tooth resorption in a cat) and how his jaw quivers and chatters when she touches his gums in certain places. Not good. In a couple of weeks we have to take him in for a cleaning, and possibly a tooth extraction. Poor cat. Fillings are not fun, but they aren't even an option for cats.

2. I'm probably going to lose one of my front teeth. I had a root canal treatment done when I was 15, and a cap installed on the remaining tooth. When I was 22, the tooth broke off, and I had it replaced with a metal post. Last fall, the post became loose, and my new dentist re-cemented it but cautioned that there might be a deeper problem with the underlying tooth. Sure enough, it felt loose again this week, and this, combined with other symptoms, confirmed my dentist's suspicions that there is a crack in the root of my tooth. Given that the treatment is tooth extraction and a dental implant (a very involved and expensive process), he tried shaving the crown to adjust my bite to see how that helps. The tooth has been dead for a long time, so it doesn't hurt or anything, but this blows.

3. The Code on Dental Procedures and Nomenclature, part of the Current Dental Terminology manual provides a standard way of coding dental procedures to meet the HIPAA standards.

So, this means that I have reached an age where..
  • I have enough health-related expenditures that I should utilize the flexible spending account option in my benefits package, and
  • I (to my horror) consider my medical procedures a worthy conversation topic at the water cooler. Oh man. Me and my busted up old self...

1 comment:

Kristin said...

Oh! Our boy cat has genetically bad teeth too. He just had his third tooth out a couple weeks ago. Because of this, we're trying to be better about maintenance, but that's tough, as you know. The vet told me that there's a product, OxyFresh, I think, sold at pet stores that loosens plaque. It's flavorless and goes in their water. We haven't tried it yet, but it sounds like a good idea to me!