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So, teeth. Teeth are something you take for granted, until they start falling apart on you. Medicaid in this state does not cover dental for adults at all. I can go to the dental clinic for reduced fee care, but even that takes money I don’t have. And they won’t touch my bottom teeth at all because the nerve is tangled with too many roots. I need a dental surgeon for that. They don’t have one in the clinic, I’d have to pay for that entirely out of pocket, full price.  I take extra calcium, I brush extra, I use a mouth wash rinse, I’ve stopped flossing because that was just making it worse.

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I guess I should start at the beginning. I’ve been asthmatic since I was about 15 years old, and it’s gradually gotten more and more severe until at this point I have permanent lung damage and I’m sitting at about 60% of average lung volume for my age. This means I’ve been using an albuterol inhaler for almost 30 years now. I also use albuterol nebulizer treatments regularly, singulair twice a day, and take prednisone daily amongst other things.  There’s a reason you are supposed to rinse your mouth after using albuterol. It can affect the enamel on teeth.

They haven’t done any studies I’ve been able to find, but I’ve spoken with a few dentists and dental assistants and it seems to be common knowledge (to the point they note it in dental charts) that asthmatics are at risk for higher rates of tooth decay due to inhaler use. I went to college with an orthodontic assistant, and she talked to the orthodontist about it, and he said as well that my tooth issues were due to the inhalers and really there was nothing that could be done about it other than what I was doing to slow the damage. My sister was told the same thing by her dentist. She hasn’t been on albuterol as long and her asthma isn’t as severe, but she’s still having issues.

So now, my teeth are falling apart, from the inside out. I can see it. First one will change color; the enamel will almost be opaque. Then it will darken. This can take a few days or a few weeks depending on the tooth. Then I’ll wake up and half the tooth will be gone, or I’ll bite into something and half of it will fall away. It doesn’t hurt. Not yet. The tooth itself is dead. It isn’t until weeks or months later once most of the tooth is gone and the gum gets aggravated that swelling and pain starts.

Sometimes in the time between the first piece falling out and most of it being gone, edges get sharp and cut the inside of my lips and my tongue. Then I end up rubbing at the tooth with my finger hoping to rub the edges off so it stops. Sometimes I’ll get chewing gum and fold it over the sharp part for a while to give my mouth a break. I’ve found bits of tooth in my chewing gum as well. But the gum helps relieve some of the pain.

Right now I have four teeth on the bottom mostly gone and one in process, all molars. On the top I have three teeth gone, one mostly gone, and three others which are affected. One has a hole and is black inside, one has just turned black, and a third is slowly going opaque. Those four are in the front. Soon I’ll lose my bite, or at least the top half. If I ever win the lottery I think I just want to have them all pulled and get false teeth; teeth I can take out when I use my inhaler and put back in after I’ve rinsed my mouth. They’re all going to fall out piece by piece anyway, I think it would be better to get it all done and over with; it may hurt more in the short run but I could stop worrying about it and stop worrying about something getting infected and causing more problems.

As I write this a sliver of one of the bottom teeth has broken off of the rest of the tooth. It wiggles, it hurts, and it’s still lodged in the gum. If I can get it loose it will bleed a bit, but the gum will heal and it will stop hurting. At least until another piece or tooth gets to this point. If I don’t it will swell up and get infected. I know this from experience.

Maybe if I had dental insurance they wouldn’t be this bad. Maybe they would be just as bad but I’d be able to get them taken care of instead of just dealing with it and hoping for the best.  Instead I do what I can to reduce the effects of my medicine on my teeth. I take extra supplements, I take extra care of my teeth, I watch my nutrition (because several of my meds leech other nutrients as well), and as I said I’ve stopped flossing because that just seems to break them apart faster. I’m careful what I bite into; nothing too hard or too cold. Nothing too sticky either because that just gets wedged in and nothing gets it free. Everything is linked; lungs, teeth, meds, calcium, etc.  What I don’t understand is why the people who designed the safety net, the ones who care about those of us who need it, can’t seem to consider that. I guess I’ll just have to focus on winning the lottery.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (22+ / 0-)

    "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

    by FloridaSNMOM on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 02:00:05 PM PDT

  •  Call for KosAbility Writers (9+ / 0-)

    October is fast approaching, as are open dates on the KosAbility schedule.  We could sure use volunteers to write for us, especially on Sundays.  Here's the current roster:

    Cut and paste into the Wed, 9/12 KA diary, with an appropriate subject line:

    Wednesday Diaries

    Sept 12  FloridaSNMOM
    Sept 19  Noddy
    Sept 26  glendaw271
    Oct   3   chicating
    Oct  10
    Oct  17

    Yours truly, Father John-Mark (jgilhousen) is the interim moderator of KosAbility’s Wednesday diaries and maintains that schedule. If you’d like to sign up for an open Wednesday, reply to this comment, send me a private message or email me at PadreJM[at]excite[dot]com.

    Sunday Diaries

    Sept 16  michelewln
    Sept 23  ulookarmless
    Sept 30  AntKat
    Oct    7
    Oct  14
    Oct   21

    Nurse Kelley (KelleyRN2) is the moderator of KosAbility’s Sunday diaries and maintains that schedule. If you’d like to sign up for an open Sunday, reply to this comment, send her a private message, or email her at KelleyRN2[at]gmail[dot]com.

    The content of the KosAbility diaries is important to many folk who depend on the exchange of information and ideas about their struggles with real life-changing conditions. The moderators of these diaries will not tolerate rude, disruptive, off topic, and/or threadjacking behavior. If in doubt, read our mission statement in the diary.

    Ad creandos magis et meliores democratas. h/t to codairem for correcting my dreadful Latin grammar.

    by jgilhousen on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 02:05:26 PM PDT

  •  I'm here to field comments as well (10+ / 0-)

    as our internet issues were rectified last night finally! I was worried the new modem was going to be late and I'd miss it, but no, I'm here :).

    "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

    by FloridaSNMOM on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 02:12:19 PM PDT

  •  Special Moderator's Comment - My days are numbered (9+ / 0-)

    Before we get well into a discussion of FloridaSNMom's diary -- which is great as usual -- I need to let y'all know what's going on with the KosAbility moderating team.

    As you know, I've been filling in for CJ (ulookarmless) for the summer as he dealt with a couple more rounds of chemo and their aftermath.  The good news is he has informed me that he is about ready to resume those duties.  The bad news is that his leukemia has advanced to the next stage, and he is having to contend with blinding headaches and other difficult symptoms.  He'll know more after a biopsy to be scheduled soon.  Despite all of that, he is intent on returning to us sooner rather than later.

    More recently, I've also been covering the last couple of Sundays for Kelley, as she underwent surgery and needed some time to recuperate.  She is doing well, and is planning to take the helm again this coming Sunday, barring any unforeseen circumstances.

    It's been a privilege and a pleasure to serve as your moderator.  I knew there was no way to fill the shoes of either Kelley or CJ, but I've had a lot of fun, learned a lot, and am grateful for the chance to become part of this community within a community again.  I'm looking forward to passing the baton back, but be warned: you're not likely to be fully rid of me any time soon.

    Ad creandos magis et meliores democratas. h/t to codairem for correcting my dreadful Latin grammar.

    by jgilhousen on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 02:15:44 PM PDT

  •  God bless you, FloridaSNMOM (9+ / 0-)

    I wish I had a way to help, but all I can do is let you know that I'm thinking about you and hoping you find a good solution.

    "Mitt Romney isn't a vulture capitalist: vultures only eat things that are dead." -S. Colbert

    by newinfluence on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 02:31:12 PM PDT

  •  I've never understood... (11+ / 0-)

    why dental care is not included in private comprehensive medical coverage, medicare and medicaid.

    Given how much we know about the medical consequences of deferred oral health care, it seems not only a cruel omission, but penny-wise, pound foolish.

    To wit: Dental Health and Medical Conditions---Six Serious Medical Consequences of Poor Oral Health

    It sounds as if you are doing all you can to mitigate the potential dangers of not having access to adequate dental care, but you shouldn't have to be taking these risks at all.

    Ad creandos magis et meliores democratas. h/t to codairem for correcting my dreadful Latin grammar.

    by jgilhousen on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 02:40:16 PM PDT

  •  BIG OOPS... (8+ / 0-)

    I thought attendance was kinda sparse today.  FloridaSNMOM and I both forgot to add KosAbility to the diary title, and put the boilerplate in the intro.  So, maybe people lookin' for us aren't finding us.

    I just fixed it.

    Mea culpa.

    Ad creandos magis et meliores democratas. h/t to codairem for correcting my dreadful Latin grammar.

    by jgilhousen on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 02:48:32 PM PDT

  •  *meeps* (8+ / 0-)

    I remembered to put it in the tags? heh.

    "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

    by FloridaSNMOM on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 02:51:00 PM PDT

    •  It'll all work out, my dear. (7+ / 0-)

      But it reminds me of a story my father used to tell (and which I think I've passed along here on DK a time or two, because it's one of my faves, and one of the few good memories I have of him, but that's another story).

      Anyway, when he was in Med School, he and one of his best friends both tanked on an exam they were expecting to ace.  So, to assuage their humiliation, they decided to form a club, complete with by-laws.  They called it the "witless society" and as first charter member, dad claimed the title of half wit.  His friend, as second, was the quarter wit.  Each succeeding member would be titled accordingly.  Their stated goal was to recruit sufficient members to comprise a whole wit.  The specified duration of the society, of course, was perpetual.

      Ad creandos magis et meliores democratas. h/t to codairem for correcting my dreadful Latin grammar.

      by jgilhousen on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 02:58:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Well, I had a drs appt today (7+ / 0-)

    if you can call it that. /sigh

    It was expensive, out of pocket (for insurance surely doesn't cover it!), and all to get a certificate so that I can get MMJ legally.

    I knew there was no question of me getting the certificate, I have several of the qualifying conditions. But it only lasts a year, and I don't know when I'll have the money to actually get the product (or when the dispensary will be able to take me as a client).

    It disturbed me that the doctor assumed I was already using.

    I'm hoping the dispensary will be more professional, and will take more time with me.

    Now back to life. My back is spasming again, but at least I have Skelaxin now. And hopefully this month I can keep Sarah from over-spending our budget... I'm so fucking stressed out it isn't funny, but she just has to get her junk food! Even if it means me going without my daily Mobic for a week (which is why I'm having back spasms today, but thankfully I was able to pick up my meds yesterday).

    May I cry? I'm so fucking tired of wearing this mask for everyone! I'm in pain, damn it! So much fucking pain!

    Get 10% off with KATALOGUE2012 at my shop, or go to the Kos Katalogue!

    by LoreleiHI on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 04:10:00 PM PDT

    •  I'm so sorry about the pain and... (5+ / 0-)

      I wish the Doctor hadn't made you feel even worse.  But, at least you got your certificate.

      Expect a KosMail from me in a bit.

      Ad creandos magis et meliores democratas. h/t to codairem for correcting my dreadful Latin grammar.

      by jgilhousen on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 04:12:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  ((hugs lorelei gently)) (7+ / 0-)

      I'm sorry hun. I know about going without meds due to money issues, even now with medicaid I sometimes have to do without my cough med for a week or so sometimes because medicaid won't cover that one. I do get it at a discount, but sometimes we don't have the $21 to cover it.  I've started taking it twice a day when I'm not in an exacerbation instead of three times a day like I'm supposed to, to build up a bit of a reserve in case.

      And yes, yell, cry, scream, whatever you need to do. No need for the 'mask' here.

      "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

      by FloridaSNMOM on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 04:17:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  When I have Adderall (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LoreleiHI, ladybug53

        I take about two weeks at regular dosage to get my life back under control, and then do every other day for a few weeks, and omit totally on a day that is guaranteed to be high pain (first day of period, storm front parked and spinning over the state) because I won't be able to focus anyway. That way I have four or five just in case.

        But I normally don't admit to it, as they say hoarding your medication is a sign of abuse.

        When you come to find how essential the comfort of a well-kept home is to the bodily strength and good conditions, to a sound mind and spirit, and useful days, you will reverence the good housekeeper as I do above artist or poet, beauty or genius.

        by Alexandra Lynch on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 06:46:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's not a sign of abuse (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          LoreleiHI, ladybug53

          when you're doing it for financial reasons. It's a sign of poverty. It's only a sign of abuse if you're abusing the meds in the first place.

          "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

          by FloridaSNMOM on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 09:24:35 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  OT & FYI: Researcher looking for feedback... (4+ / 0-)

    on mobility device issues.

    I just republished his diary, The Disability Researcher - Journey into knowledge to KosAbility.  Whether or not mobility is among your issues, it's an interesting read, nice to see a Kossack working in that field, and especially heartening that he or she is interested in hearing from actual users, not just experts and academics.

    Ad creandos magis et meliores democratas. h/t to codairem for correcting my dreadful Latin grammar.

    by jgilhousen on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 05:06:01 PM PDT

  •  ((((((FloridaSNMOM)))))))) and teeth! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FloridaSNMOM, LoreleiHI, ladybug53

    Indeed, separating dental from medical is SO stupid!

    We have been really lucky since I retired, no insurance of any sort, but had a good dental foundation, because my (former) work-tied insurance had good preventive coverage. So we were able to keep up with cleaning and exams for all three of us, and teh boyo got his PIT AND FISSURE SEALANT! He just turned 20 and has never had a cavity in his life, no fillings, just a couple of minor alignment issues, things are a LITTLE crowded, but wouldn't take much to straighten if he ever decides to do it.

    Of course, Dad & I have horrid 50's-60's giganto fillings ( => tooth-crackers!), so are gradually changing those out for crowns, but we can save up for those usually.

    "real" work : a job where you wash your hands BEFORE you use the bathroom...

    by chimene on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 02:19:28 AM PDT

  •  Some good news! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FloridaSNMOM, ladybug53

    I'm still in OMG pain, but I got some great unrelated medical news!

    My doctor prescribed the name brand thyroid medication I was on in Hawaii (Synthroid), so I no longer have to deal with fluctuating dosages (generic medications are allowed to have a 17% deviation from the name brand AND between batch--for thyroid meds, this is BAD, especially since doses are so tiny)!
    I'll end up paying $18 more over a 3 month period, but it's worth it to know I'm getting a standard dose. When I didn't have insurance, yes, the generic was all I could get. But now, I'm going back to what's considered 'best practice'.
    YAY!

    Get 10% off with KATALOGUE2012 at my shop, or go to the Kos Katalogue!

    by LoreleiHI on Thu Sep 13, 2012 at 12:04:06 PM PDT

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