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Health

Just heard from my mother that my Aunt M has been diagnosed with early stages of Alzheimers. I don't know what that will be like for her as it sets in, or how long it will take, but it's left me feeling very sad this morning.

However, narcissist that I am, I come to write about my own health instead. When I got my teeth cleaned a few weeks ago, the hygienist noticed a space under one of my molars that hadn't been there before, and the dentist concurred with her that this was probably something called "resorption". They recommended a periodontist, who agreed that's what it was. Apparently the molar itself is hollowing out and causing loss of bone in the jaw as well. They don't know what causes it, but it almost sounds like an autoimmune problem. That molar is where I had serious gum problems last year, so I wonder if it's connected.

Whatever the case, the recommendation is pulling the molar, putting some artificial bone in the gap, sticking a titanium screw in the bone, and then putting a crown on the screw. In other words, an implant. A few years ago they would have done a bridge, but now this is the preferred solution. However, it's very expensive, even with my dental insurance, and I'm trying to game out how to get through this with the least expense, which probably involves waiting to put the crown in until the start of next year. Not sure what that means for the timing of pulling the tooth and then putting the screw in.

None of this makes me very happy. But then I hear the news about my aunt (or I think about Stu still working so hard to recover from his stroke), and I realize my problems are peanuts.

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( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
replyhazy
Mar. 1st, 2013 04:28 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry to hear that! Dental procedures like that are no joke, either experience- or money-wise.

You might be interested to know that resorption is very very common in cats... for whom the treatment is simply to pull the teeth and perhaps eat soft food forever. You might not prefer to go that route...
randy_byers
Mar. 1st, 2013 04:39 pm (UTC)
Actually my dentist said that if it had been a rear molar he would have recommended just pulling it and not replacing it, although when I mentioned this to the periodontist he seemed dubious about the wisdom of that.
replyhazy
Mar. 1st, 2013 04:51 pm (UTC)
...mmm, pudding...
randy_byers
Mar. 1st, 2013 04:55 pm (UTC)
And jello! And porridge! And gruel!
replyhazy
Mar. 1st, 2013 04:55 pm (UTC)
FRUIT SMOOTHIES EVERY DAY!!
holyoutlaw
Mar. 1st, 2013 05:57 pm (UTC)
Don't forget ice cream!

Which I guess conflicts with the keeping blood sugars low goal.

Darn it all anyway!

(Anonymous)
Mar. 1st, 2013 07:49 pm (UTC)
The surgery to pull the tooth and implant the post is separate from putting the crown on - and I vaguely recall having to wait a month or two after that surgery. Also, my regular dentist put the crown on but a dental surgeon did the implant. One plan to consider would be having the implant in November or even October, and then the crown in January. Since they're separate bills, you might be able to swing that financially.

-- Denys
randy_byers
Mar. 1st, 2013 07:55 pm (UTC)
Yes, that all lines up with what I've been told. There's a healing period both after the tooth is pulled and after the implant is put in. I believe that what the periodontist said was that the earliest I could have the crown put on is August, if I have the tooth pulled right away. My question for them now is whether I should wait to have the tooth pulled/implant put in until later in the year (so I still have the tooth for chewing until then) or if it's better to have the tooth pulled right away before there's more deterioration of the jaw.

Edited at 2013-03-01 07:56 pm (UTC)
(Anonymous)
Mar. 1st, 2013 09:13 pm (UTC)
I suspect the doctors will tell you that stopping the bone degeneration is a high priority. (My surgeon joked that my jawbone had been reduced so badly that when he pulled the tooth he could see through the socket and into my mouth. I was not amused.)

I wonder if they could put in a temporary crown after the implant heals?

-- Denys
randy_byers
Mar. 1st, 2013 09:15 pm (UTC)
Good thought. I'll ask.
(Anonymous)
Mar. 1st, 2013 11:09 pm (UTC)
I've had an implant put in after a crown broke off because the stump had decayed - actually far less painful than it sounds. The first I knew of it, the crown came off while I was chewing something. Looking at the crown, I realized there were bits of tooth inside...

The implant is like a metal socket, and has a sort of cap screwed into it both to protect it while it heals and to protect your tongue from any edges. Then they take a cast and make up a crown, and the crown attaches securely to the implant. I didn't have the bone loss issue that confronts you, so mine was less urgent.

I sympathize with cost-saving measures for this; it's not cheap and the procedure isn't much fun, but the implants are tough and look great. Best of luck and do keep us posted on how things go.
billzilla
Mar. 1st, 2013 11:11 pm (UTC)
Gah! LJ you stinkbug! It said I was logged in when I posted the above note - really!
randy_byers
Mar. 1st, 2013 11:29 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Bill. I keep imagining my slowly-hollowing tooth falling out, but sounds like you've actually seen something like that happen.

I think I've finally accepted that the implant really has to happen, although I still haven't called the periodontist back. Next week!
(Deleted comment)
randy_byers
Mar. 2nd, 2013 05:23 am (UTC)
Ha! Okay, I like cyborgs. Everybody I know who has gotten an implant seems to be happy with it. Better living through technology, I guess.
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )

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