It was approximately 3 years ago I decided to investigate options to address the “darkening” of #7 & #10 post-root canal. I was regularly bothered by their color and made quite self-conscious about smiling.
At that time I had been living in my current city for 4 years, but still wasn’t completely happy with my dentist. Within those 4 years I was on my 4th dentist. My changes were based on lack of state-of-the-art tools, feeling I was being “sold” unnecessary treatments, and one dentist who served his patients POPCORN at the end of every visit! HELLO?! The last time I ate popcorn it cost me $1600 for a new molar crown!
So anyway, I was on city dentist #4 - Dr. A. During my consultation with Dr. A about addressing the darkening of #7 & #10, he told me my only option was to file down and have crowns put on all 6, if not 8, of my front upper teeth! This did NOT sound right to me! So I headed home and started doing research on cosmetic dentistry and cosmetic dentists.
Luckily, my best friend was insanely happy with her dentist, Dr. F, based in Indianapolis (an hour drive away for me), who I learned was a member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.
Within minutes of my initial consultation with Dr. F, I knew I’d found the dentist for me! We developed a bond and a partnership in which we would both achieve our goals. Better yet, Dr. F assured me, while it would be quite a bit of work, I certainly didn’t need to have all 6 or 8 of my front teeth crowned!
I must admit I knew this wouldn’t be cheap, so I’d accepted a 2nd job as an online community college math instructor and set aside 100% of that salary toward my dental work. The procedures would also account for the entirety of my annual dental insurance allocation, as well as nearly all of two years of Flex spending account. (The procedures were split across two “years” of Flex spending calendars.)
Yet as always, nothing related to my teeth would be a smooth ride. Dr. F stated I needed to start bleaching my teeth. (Luckily, I’d acquired a bleaching kit from my previous dentist.) The bleaching was needed to brighten & whiten my natural teeth as much as possible and then match my natural teeth color to any surface fillings or crowns.
While many people experience sensitivity &/or low-level pain with bleaching, I was willing to take it on. It was actually a good thing to not have all of my natural teeth with regard to the sensitivity, bleaching cannot change the color of synthetic materials, such as fillings and crowns.
To create a complete treatment plan and decide which procedure to apply to each tooth, a new full set of x-rays was taken. It was at this time, things started to “run off the rails”. Dr. F thought she may have detected some fluid leakage and/or problems in the root canals of #7 & #10. Uh oh. So back to the endodontist I went. :(
The bad news was fully confirmed for one of the teeth and unknown, but suspected, on the other. I was told the root canals needed to be “retreated” (i.e. a “do over”). I nearly had a breakdown, as I’d in no way financially planned for two root canals! Yet, this had to be done. If we’d proceeded with crowns and the root problems grew, they’d have to drill holes in the crowns!
So on June 22, 2009, I was in the chair for root canal re-treatments on #7 & #10. Per the prior treatment, there was virtually no pain. I did still opt for the oral sedation (Halcion), as I only endure pain when absolutely necessary.
The re-treatment incurred a total charge of $1700! It was $700 to re-treat each tooth and $150 for post removal. As it turns out only #7 had a post in it; not sure why there wasn’t one in #10? Of this total I paid $430 out of pocket (through my Flex account) and the rest encompassed all the remaining dental insurance benefit I had for the entire year. :(
After all of that, we could finally progress to creating a treatment plan.