Saturday, December 10, 2011

Do It Yourself Dentistry

This is major confession time. No, we are not bad parents, nor do we avoid dentists and doctors normally. We do live on a budget and don't have a lot of extra for out-of-pocket dental bills.

When Amy was in late elementary and junior high, she was getting more of her adult teeth. Unfortunately, her baby teeth were not coming out. The permanent teeth were coming in behind the baby teeth. Our dentist charged over $60 to pull a baby tooth. We didn't have any dental coverage at the time and my friend, who is a pediatrician, showed us how to remove baby teeth ourselves. Amy had two weeks to work on loosening her baby teeth and then we tied string around the tooth and pulled it. There is a definite trick in regards to the angle necessary to remove the teeth. Amy wasn't thrilled, but did appreciate the $10 we paid her for each extraction. This was in the early 90s, so $10 went pretty far.

Last January, I had a retreat on a root canal on a tooth with a crown. Our insurance only pays a small portion on a crown, so we have invested heavily in this molar. The specialist who did the retreat used up $200 of my dental benefits from last year and ALL of this years benefits. The retreat did not include putting a filling in the crown. I've been trying to not eat with that tooth, but eventually the temporary filling wore away. About 3 months ago, the crown started falling out. I have been able to put the tooth back in position, but eventually it would fall out again.

Yesterday, the tooth kept falling out. I considered just having the tooth stump in place, but feared that the shape of my gums and position of my other teeth would change, thus rendering the crown unusable. I was tossing around ideas on ways to keep the tooth in place. Wax would probably melt, clay could possible be toxic or damage the crown, tape wouldn't stick. Amy got on the internet and looked for possible treatments. Hurray! There is a product that is used for temporary fillings. This afternoon, I reattached the crown and filled the hole in it. All for $5. It was an easy repair and I feel much more confident knowing that my tooth won't fall out at any moment.

Next time, I'm going to check the internet for possible solutions immediately.

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