Saturday, April 10, 2010

Poking the Sinus to the Root

For about a year I'd been having a chronic sinus infection. On Christmas eve 2 years ago I went to the ENT and started a journey that, four months later, led to my having sinus surgery. During the summer I was still plagued with a sinus infection. While the MRI results had suggested something was up with my sinuses it was not definitive, but enough to warrant the surgery. A CT scan was ordered.

The ENT said that, according to the scan, something was poking up into my sinus cavity. She was sure that was the cause of the chronic sinus infections and suggested I go to the dentist. So six months later, when I was back to work and had a form of dental coverage, I did - with the CD of the CT scan in hand.

The dentist got all excited with my having brought the CD and got the periodontist to look at it with him. They came back, took some x-rays of my upper left teeth, went back to study the CD some more and compared it to the x-rays. They mutually came to the conclusion that something was poking up into my sinus cavity.

The periodontist, about a month later, pulled the remains of a root of a tooth that had been extracted years ago. A bridge had been installed to span the space where the tooth used to be; he was able to go up under (above?) the bridge and pull out a piece of bone that was the size of a piece of orzo. If you don't know what orzo is, it's a pasta that looks like large, fat grains of rice.

No more sinus infection.

I was able to go through Care Credit to get an interest free loan spread out over 6 monthly payments to pay for it. What's a few hundred and a half a month for half a year?

Last week I went back to the dentist because, ever since the old root was taken out I'd been having a toothache in one of my lower left teeth. The dentist did his -"does it hurt here? How about here? routines with a utensil until he hit the mark. Upon further examination he determined the crown I'd had for many years was loose. So he grabbed the appropriate tool and whacked at the crown until it lifted off. Hmmn.

"While I have the crown off," he said, "I might as well do a root canal." I felt an ouch all the way from my tooth down to my wallet. The price of neglecting tooth care when I was younger was once again coming back to bite me. Yesterday, in exchange for a check for a little more than a grand I had a temporary crown put on. In about a month I'll get the final crown.

Then he said to me - "you know the tooth next to it is cracked and will need at least a crown. How about in January we get that done?" He was being considerate, given the expense involved, in lieu of the expediency of getting it done immediately. When I got home my significant other said to me - "you know you might as well just get a root canal."

It's at this point that I start to rail about how dental work is not considered medical, just like vision isn't. They're both, the dentists and the optometrists, an un-regulated industry. We can thank Ronald Reagan for that. Oh yeah, and we can also thank President Reagan for de-regulating the health insurance industry.

Health reform? I believe that dental and vision are medically related and should be covered under medical insurance. I'm glad I have health insurance. However, I believe that - don't get me started: I believe in universal health care.

Unfortunately, at this point all I can do is reach for my wallet. But, I vote and I plan on doing so until my children and their children and everyone else in America has health coverage - that includes dental and vision.


Post a Comment

<< Home