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Staying Healthy
Curiouser and curiouser!
David, Aug 10, 2006

I finally made it to the dentist yesterday, after weeks of pain and waiting for various forms, little plastic cards and appointments. I arrived at UCSF right on time, and was led into the back room. The people at Progress Foundation told me that I could go to UCSF and the dental students would work on my teeth 'for free'.

The dental student told me that Medi-Cal doesn't cover crowns, and only covers root canals in some cases. Since I was in such extreme pain upon my arrival, they did an emergency procedure on me, called a 'pulpotomy'. I was sad to learn that the tooth in front of the bad one was equally screwed up. By the x-rays, it looks as if the roots have decayed out altogether.

I'm glad I got to be conscious during the surgery. I heard some notable remarks between student and professor. He showed his student how to properly numb the area. "This one will really save the bacon." I was so numb I couldn't feel the right side of my mouth at all, but when they got to the center of that tooth I could still feel it a little. "You see that pus coming out of there? He'll get relief." The professor was right, I got relief, but I can already feel the pressure building back up, I guess from the surrounding infection in the other teeth, or the infection deeper in the root of the one they worked on.

The student had explained to me that what they can do is put a metal ortho-band around the tooth, and Medi-Cal will cover that. The student had been taking his time on the process, and the professor reminded him that "if you're open after five you're a bad office." The filling process was rushed, and nothing was added to hold it in place. Today, the filling broke when I was trying to chew on a peanut.

Last night, I found out that my father's insurance, contrary to my mother's indications, does have dental coverage. Furthermore, she has my insurance card. Whoops! I'm covered until age 25 (or until he looses his job, whichever comes first). I'm glad I didn't go to a private dentist, however. The student, probably a first year, was kind enough to explain to me some of the more grave possibilities, such as a degenerative jaw condition similar to osteoporosis. I think I'd like to find a doctor with a background in holistic medicine to assess me, before I waste any more of my bone matter chasing an infection that could be curable only from the inside out.

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