So, yesterday, I had my first appointment with a dentist in who knows how long. Turns out I have periodontitis (aka periodontal disease; basically an advanced form of gingivitis). As a result, I had to get an "open flap debridement," which is where they take that water drill-type thing and basically blast off the top two or three millimetres of your gums (which are filled with the bacteria Actinomyces naeslundii that causes tooth decay), so that the gums can heal and grow back onto the teeth without impediment by bacteria. I was told that I have very strong teeth but diseased gums. I go back in three weeks for a dust-off and to see how my stuff has responded to the deep gums-cleaning, and to find out if any scaling (not sure what that involves) is necessary. After that we start working on my broken front teeth, which will be very expensive indeed, even with insurance coverage, which, of course, doesn't go out of its way to cover much. I think my annual limit for dental care is about $1500. Not nearly enough to get all I need done, especially since Cigna (my dental insurance provider) covers an average of about 15% of the total for each procedure, apart from X-rays, which they seem to cover completely.
The oral hygienist was a cutie. Over six feet tall, too. Mmm, tall girls.
So now, at age 32, I'm obsessively flossing my teeth after every time I eat something, and using a chlorhexidine gluconate/hydrogen peroxide mix-based mouthwash to help my gums heal after the debridement. My teeth are now clear of calculus. (No, not the mathematical discipline; it's a dental buzzword. Look it up.)
I went a place called Taylor Made Smiles in Franklin. The people there were extremely nice, very caring and genuinely concerned with my well-being. I'd recommend them to anyone local who needs a new dentist. Their XM Satellite Radio channel selection was terrible, though; the "pop hits of the 1980s" station assailed me with Milli Vanilli, UB40, Haircut 100 and other such unspeakable horrors. Luckily, on that score, the whole time spent in the exam/oral hygiene room took only about an hour.
I'm looking at (depending on what my evil insurance company decides to cover (or not!)) either about $1500 or $2400 for the work on my broken front teeth. I hope the dentist's office has a payment plan available, and although I could probably afford $1500 all at once, it'd cramp my living expenses for a couple weeks. This is, of course, dependent on whether or not my broken teeth, which have been gradually shifting backwards into my mouth in the absence of anything to prevent them from doing so since I broke them being able to accept crowns in the first place. If they can't, some cutting and repositioning, and/or root canals for all three may be required. Eek!
Also, now that I'm seeing a psychiatrist (a very nice gay boy who's only a year younger than me), I have prescriptions for clonazepam (ah, sweet benzos; sweet sleep) and venlafaxine, which I started taking about three weeks ago, increasing the dosage from 37.5mg the first week, to 75mg the second week. This has me sporting an almost positive outlook. Suicidal thoughts are fewer and further between. My broken teeth, however, are a major block in my social confidence. So is my damned baldness, though I shave my whole head so I don't end up looking like my hairstyle is modeled after Patrick Stewart circa 1986. I probably won't be able to socialize with much of anyone until they're fixed.
I got new glasses today, too. There's a picture on my homenode of me wearing them. A no-doubt incredibly stylish pair made by Donna Karan—the DKNY DY 5566. They actually fit me right! They're the first pair I've ever owned that doesn't cock off to one side because one of my ears (the right one) is a couple millimeters higher on my head than the other one. So I've got that going for me. Which is nice.
By the way, if you're an American, and you have vision insurance through a company called VSP, I wish you good luck in finding an eye doctor who'll accept it. None of the places I called would touch VSP coverage with a ten-metre cattle prod.