Thursday, July 31, 2008

Root Canal!?

My recent dental history starts with a routine cleaning on Thursday the 24th when my hygienist of 10 years tells me I have a tooth with deep decay and an “abscess”. Upon hearing this I am naturally alarmed as I had another deep cavity in March. This is after a track record to 4-5 cavities total over the past thirty years.

The visit to the dentist’s office was surprisingly pleasant, but she noticed several things that my hygienist had not. She saw small decay on two other teeth and decay around a filling in addition to the cavity of interest. Upon drilling into the primary cavity she dug around and recommended a trip to the endodontist for a root canal.

The dentist went ahead and cleaned up the decay around the one cavity and put a temporary filling in place for the endodontist. She also prescribed a rinse and some antibiotics for the “abscess” which in her opinion was just a boil or similar irritation of the gum.

I will probably be making a follow up visit for the other 2 small cavities before they get any bigger.

The question now is whether my hygienist has been doing me a disservice by not catching some of this stuff in advance or cleaning my teeth well enough. I am tempted to have my cleaning done at the dentist’s office to ensure continuity of care and a quick consult which would be the benefit of a large staff versus having a solo hygienist and receptionist working out of a small office.

Financially all of this will be quite the setback as well. My insurance pays for regular cleanings and 80% of procedures after my co-pay. However the annual payout is capped at $1000 which I will certainly exceed and have to pay for much of the treatment out of pocket. Stay tuned for the update sometime in August.

The biggest shock was the tumultuous state of my dental health. I thought everything was fine. I have not had any pain or hot/cold sensitivity. I also brush and floss daily, although I should probably brush at least 2+ times per day. Asymptomatic issues really reinforce the importance of check-ups as I may not have gone in until the tooth fell out.

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