Thursday, April 09, 2009

Serious Dental Issues

I don't have many "vices," but I do have a weakness for sweets. For instance, I really like Werther's caramels --- smooth, creamy and sweet. And sticky. The sticky part wasn't a problem for me when I was younger, but that was before years of financial problems made it hard for me to afford regular dental care.

A couple of weeks ago, I was endulging in one of the aforementioned caramels, when I felt a hard substance which normally isn't a part of such treats. I carefully removed the caramel from my mouth in order to see if my suspicion was correct. Sure enough, another one of my front teeth had basically rotted off, becoming embedded in the piece of caramel.

Then last night, I was eating a normal meal (nothing sticky) when I lost another portion of a tooth. Most of that tooth was already gone, and the part which remained had previously been covered with a dental crown, but those things have a tendency to become detached after a while, as this one had quite some time ago. It's possible that I might have saved the remaining part of the tooth if I'd had a new crown put on it immediately, but that wasn't an option for me financially.

I didn't feel any pain during either one of the most recent incidents, although I'd felt dental pain earlier, in the latter part of 2008. At that time, I didn't have the money to go to the dentist, so I just treated myself with Anbesol until the pain eventually went away. I knew that that wasn't really the way Anbesol was meant to be used, but going to the dentist (and getting the expensive root canal which almost certainly would have been necessary in order to save the tooth) wasn't an option for me.

I grew up in the Ozarks of southwestern Missouri. The stereotype, regarding the "hillbillies" for which that region is known, is that of ignorant, inordinately poor folks who wear overalls, go barefoot, drive pickup trucks, drink moonshine, carry shotguns, and have big gaps in front where their teeth ought to be. It's a ludicrously unfair stereotype (although it may contain elements of truth on rare occasions), but it exists nevertheless. It doesn't help that there are savvy business people from the Ozarks who have milked the stereotype for commercial purposes (particularly in relation to certain music shows common in the Branson area). The negative image of hillbillies may be beneficial to certain businesses in Branson, but it is not conducive to the process of trying to find a good job in Chicago (especially if it's a job as a receptionist for a dental clinic, but really in any situation which requires face-to-face contact with the public). But one doesn't always have control over every aspect of one's life.

It's a Catch 22 type of situation, also known as a vicious circle. The dental issues significantly hinder my efforts to find work, and my inability to find a good job (or a good and legitimate alternative source of income) hinders my ability to pay a dentist to address the dental issues. Of course, there are also other issues, having nothing to do with dentistry, which are hindering my job search. But it would definitely help me in my job search if I didn't have to deal with the dental impediment as well. First impressions can make a big difference, and big gaps in one's teeth do not make for a good first impression.

(Nor does the noticeable bulge from my hernia --- but that's a topic for another blog article.)

I know that lawyers sometimes do "pro bono" work for the poor and destitute. I don't know if there are any dentists in the Chicago area who would be able and willing to do such work. If you do know of someone fitting that description (or if you know of someone who'd help me by paying for such dental work), that information would be greatly appreciated.

The truth is that I really need implants, particularly for the front teeth, but also for some of my missing back teeth as well.

I had partial dentures back in the late 80's, but it was so hard for me to eat with them in my mouth that I basically stopped wearing them after just a little while. Try eating pizza with a topping of stringy cheese while wearing partials, if you don't believe me. What a nightmare! What's the point of dentures if you can't eat the foods you love while wearing them in your mouth? Beats me.

To contact me to discuss these matters, please send me an e-mail at mwp1212(AT)

No comments: