Mar. 11th, 2010

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Yesterday I went for my second session at the University of Washington dental school, to go over the results of the intake examination and talk about treatment options. It went very well indeed.

The student assigned to my case is a big fellow with a grin almost wide enough to look like something in Terry Gilliam animation, with a very clear voice and a genuine enthusiasm for answering questions. I had a bunch, and the friend who drove me had more, and he really welcomed them, going into extra details of lots of kinds and happy to do so. My fellow sickies know what a precious and reassuring thing that is.

The upshot is: at the foundational level, my mouth is much better than I had any reason to expect. ("Your bone condition is awesome", he said.) Just as I turn out not to have any developing glaucoma, so I have no major gum disease or anything like that, either. This is a genuine happy surprise.

I do have a lot of small areas of decay, which they can and will treat with straightforward decay removal and fillings. I'll be starting in with a comprehensive cleaning and the first of many filling sessions in a couple of weeks, after their spring break.

Two teeth got extra attention. One in the upper front has a very large visible cavity. But the nerve there proves to actually be still alive and well, to everyone's surprise. It's quite possible that a major removal of decay and a big filling will take care of it, rather than a root canal. In the upper back right, one is a little mysterious: X-rays suggest a nasty big cavity, visual examination doesn't offer any of the expected confirming signs, and as my guy explained, sometimes X-rays give misleading impressions. So they'll watch that for developments while tending the rest.

To my very great relief, Medicaid coverage in the flavor I have is really good. It'll pay for all the cleaning and filling, and for anterior (front) root canals, so if that one up at the front of my mouth needs it, it's set. It wouldn't pay for a root canal for the back one, though it would cover extraction; I can start a little saving fund for in case action's needed back there.

I did expect to be in for a lot of treatment, and I am. A dozen or more sessions may well be necessary, in the months to come. But the nature of the work and my overall prospects are way better than I'd have guessed.


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Ceri B.

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