April 25, 2006

Toof Hurty

So. Apparently I have thin gums and thin bones (at least in my mouth). This, plus the joy of having braces as a teen and a bit of tooth grinding (I conveniently just grind upper and lower canines against each other for pinpoint damage accuracy) my gums are receding in 4 spots.

This is a pretty sexy problem, where my gums rise up (or lower down) and show the stalk of my teeth here and there. It isn't a big deal except that once you run out of gum, there's really not much that holds your teeth in your mouth… that and it can expose the tooth shaft or root or whatever it was the dental guy said when I forgot to pay close attention. It could be worse, some people have this problem due to disease. My mouth though? Not diseased.

What will happen is I will take an Advil and some benzodiazepine I hadn’t heard of yet an hour before I get to my appointment. Then they'll numb my face up and steal some tissue from the roof of my mouth. They'll then graft this roof of mouth tissue onto my gums (first procedure will be right side upper and lower together), give me a retainer thing that protects the now terribly sore roof of my mouth, and send me home telling me to eat soft foods for a week. The best part is that it costs $1300 per area, and like I said, there are 4 areas. My insurance will likely cover 50% of it, but only up to $1500 total… including the routine visits and consultation expenses that I already had this year. So, I get to write a fat check to the nice dentist guy for the rest. Then wait till the next calendar year so my insurance will pay to have some of the other side done. They say it doesn't hurt much, and if I can manage not to grind my canines, it should hold it for good.

I just hope the apocalypse doesn't come before the next calendar year, I'd hate to have asymmetrical gums in the mad max world of the future.

Posted by allison at April 25, 2006 04:20 PM

I have that same problem (dissapearing gums due to excesssive brushing) and have been trying to get a consultation with a periodontist out here. You'll have to let me know how it goes, and I guess I'll have to start saving up my money :(

Posted by: Zahra Langford at April 27, 2006 10:43 AM

have you considered getting a second opinion? a dentist once told me i had the same issue. she wanted to schedule me for the same kind of tissue replacement procedure. i decided to get a second opinion. the second opinion said that i had to be careful about not pressing too hard w/ my toothbrush, and that my gums needed to be monitored with each visit, but the situation was not so severe as to warrant the procedure. this was over ten years ago and obviously i have been to other dentists since then. none of them have recommended tissue replacement and each one tells me to just take it easy with the pressure when brushing.

i highly recommend my very excellent san francisco dentist, roger kussman. (415) 981-9000. he's on montgomery street. he's very honest, gentle, experienced. he even gave me a free check up once. i thought i had tmj, he checked me out, said it was stress, and told me not to worry about paying. and he was right. it was stress. he rocks. i have never had such a good dentist since.

you might need the procedure, but at that cost, it would be worth a second opinion. in the mean time, take it easy with the toothbrush.

Posted by: zoe at May 1, 2006 06:46 PM

I've had several dentists and another oral surgeon over the years tell me I need this, and have been putting it off for a long time. Unfortunately it is not due to brushing, and is pretty advanced. Poop!

Posted by: at May 3, 2006 01:24 PM
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