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Do I have major dental work (pull teeth, etc.) or are there alternatives for healing?

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 

I'll try to be concise here....I've not been blessed in the tooth dept. it seems. I had a lot of fillings as a kid (had "holes in my teeth") that seemed to be worst around puberty. I had my wisdom teeth pulled when I was around 18 (don't really remember why they were pulled) and I had dry sockets in all four. In my 20s I kept having my fillings/crowns come lose and they were just re-cemented. In my late 20s-early 30s (following my first pregnancy) the crowns continued to pop out and my then new dentist kept finding huge cavities under them, which led to a series of root canals as well as cycles of infections (sinus/tooth) and antibiotics. The good news was that we were removing amalgam fillings (although not using any special safe procedures), but the bad news was that some were replaced with porcelain bonded to metal (against my express wishes-sigh). In all I had 5 root canals in a span of 3-4 years. Two of these failed and had to be retroactively drilled (whatever you call that). One of those didn't work either and the tooth was pulled, I had a bone graft, and then an implant. About 6-12 mos. after all of this work was completed I found a large lump and was subsequently diagnosed with cancer. I've now been through radiation and surgery, but I continue to read, research, and worry about the role of my teeth and the infections harbored in my cavitations, root canals, and implant and how they may be impacting my immune system and making my body vulnerable to cancer.

 

I have met with a holistic dentist. She would like clean out the cysts in my wisdom teeth "spaces" and pull the 5 teeth with the root canals/implant. She would also like to remove all of the crowns that are bonded to metal and replace them with something safer for my body. She wants to biopsy everything too. This would cost well over $30k, which I do not have. After talking with her, she would prioritize the removal of infection (i.e. the cysts and "dead" teeth) and save the replacement of the metal bonded crowns for down the road. This would cost just over $20k, which I also do not have. I am talking with my insurance company right now to see how much of this would be covered under medical (surgery) vs. dental because we have already maxed most of our out-of-pocket medical expenses for the year because of our major health expenses this year wheras our dental coverage will only cover up to $2k/year which won't make a dent in this. If medical will cover a significant portion, this may be my only opportunity in the foreseeable future to do all of this work because I can't imagine another year (I pray) when we will max. out our medical out-of pocket.

 

So now the question is, IF (big if) it looks like the insurance coverage will make this possible to do in the next few weeks, should I do it? I'd be losing 5 teeth and I would have partials and bridges and "old lady stuff" as my DD puts it. I'm in my 30s and hadn't planned on losing my teeth at this point. I'm sure it will also impact my speech, my ability to chew certain foods, etc. I of course want to support the health of my body, but I also want to keep myself as whole as possible. After having my cancer surgery and having a major muscle removed, I am very aware of the physical repercussions of taking out pieces of your body.

 

I am of course not asking anyone to make my decision for me, but I don't have the time to educate myself from scratch before making this decision if it becomes available (will know in the next day or two), and if it isn't possible, I'd of course want to learn alternative ways to support my oral health and thus my whole-body health. So are there certain things that I should consider (nutrition, oral care practices, etc.) I appreciate any food for thought/advice.

 

TIA!

post #2 of 2

Wow, thats alot to think about.  Sorry you have not had any replies.  IMO I would try to get another opinion.  I've just had 2 crowns and a root canal and was stressed about the whole thing so I can imagine how hard it must be to decide to have so many teeth pulled.    Didn't your dentist tell you anything about how pulling all these teeth will affect your talking, chewing etc etc. 

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