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October 21, 2016
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Bad Dental News

Sigh. I hate the dentist. Like a lot. It takes every iota of courage I have to go for bi-annual cleanings. And it takes even more gumption to head in for a filling or other procedure. They had to completely knock me out to take my wisdom teeth. The whole experience is just horrible for me. I don't like the smell, the sounds, the sites. It is a torture chamber, the dental office.

So, yesterday, when I went for about my seven hundredth periodontal consultation, I had that same sick feeling in my stomach I always get. He poked at my gums, which have been assaulted by periodontal disease since I was in my late teens (that's over twenty years, folks). I recalled the fourteen deep cleanings I've had in the last decade. Where they numb you up and try to remove deposits from large spaces that form in the gums of people with gum disease.

Between diabetes and a family history of periodontal issues, I drew a terrible hand with my gums. I knew that my front teeth on the bottom, which have serious recession and have had two infections over the past five years, were not in a good way. I spent this past weekend with the worst toothache I have ever had and a soreness in my gums that would not relent.

The periodontist delivered news that I knew would eventually come, but that I certainly did not want to hear. At forty, I'm going to lose three of my front teeth to extraction and I'm going to need a bridge to maintain that space. Weirdly, I don't have a mouth full of cavities. I brush and floss and rinse everyday - at least once, mostly twice. I take care of my teeth. Seems enormously unfair that I'm going to have to have them pulled. I blame diabetes. So does my dentist. He says this is probably one of the most common type 1 diabetes complications in people my age. He assured me that this isn't my own doing. At least I can afford this, just barely, but I can. And at least it can wait - the teeth aren't going anywhere in the meantime. I've got a consultation at the end of the month to map out a plan and figure out how to best cover the expense of having this done. I'm excited, because they think they may be able to at least fix the crowded look of my bottom teeth with the bridge (there's looking on the bright, but vain, side).

I'm terrified, yes. Because I've only ever been knocked out for extractions and that is not something I can afford given the other expenses involved with this. I'm terrified because I know my normal anxiety levels will be multiplied by ten. They assure me that they can give me enough anti-anxiety medication to keep me from jumping out of the chair and running away... I'm not so sure...

Can I just say - damn you, diabetes.

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