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Thread: Oh no, my tooth is turning black! What should I do?

  1. #16
    legallyblonde Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Faith View Post
    I know I should post this under Health, but I'm hoping for all the good advice I can get. Here's the story...

    My back upper molar cracked 3 years ago. The tooth had a huge old filling (from when I was 9 years old) running through the middle. In fact there was more filling than tooth. The filling itself was jogged loose when the tooth cracked. But oddly enough, the filling kept the two halves of the tooth holding together. Then last summer, the filling suddenly fell out. And yet still the tooth has stayed in place, though it's a little loose. Now I just noticed it's turning black! There is no pain.

    Meanwhile, the nurse at my building arranged for me to see her private dentist for an evaluation... that was in 2011 (the nurse is gone now, moved to NY). The dentist said I definitely need to get the tooth extracted, it was too far gone for a crown. So I could either pay $800 for just an extraction, or $2300 for a titanium implant. Good grief, both are impossible for me.

    As far as I know, those are my only two options. Here's where I need your advice. Do I have other choices? Has anybody here had a problem with a broken black tooth like this?

    I have no dental insurance. I have Medicare and Medicaid (called MediCal here in California), and I'm on Social Security, below poverty level, and living in supportive housing. But none of the medical services available to me will cover dental extraction. There is a homeless dentistry clinic in SF... I've been there to inquire. The receptionist said it's only for men by default, because homeless men sleep in the alley behind the clinic each night in order to be first in line the next morning before the cutoff. So no women can ever get in (unless they're crazy enough to sleep in the alley too). Then I found out that UCSF offers free examinations and sometimes free treatment, but only up to age 60. I am 62.

    What to do?? I'm scared!

    Wow! 800 bucks for an extraction? I don't think I'd have to pay anything near that here. You do need to get it treated though. Go to Social Services and ask for a list of Dental programs that might fit your situation, disability, etc. Also, go to the nearest ER and tell them it hurts and see if they'll put you in an Oral Surgery Clinic to get it taken out. This is ONE way to get something done with it, even though it's not the best, having it placed. Is there a cheapo denture place near you? They advertise on TV for dentures. Often, they do extractions as well. Just take out your cell phone and go down the list and find out who will take it out for 200 or so? I know it's not great, but maybe if you talk to people someone will do it for a lower price.

    Ali

  2. #17
    legallyblonde Guest
    http://www.healthysanfrancisco.org/f...n_Resource.pdf

    It's a PDF file and I don't think I can upload it through ageless, but it's a starting point.

    Ali

  3. #18
    MissMuffins's Avatar
    MissMuffins is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Faith View Post
    Thanks everybody for your wonderful replies. I've been pulling the covers over my head the past couple of days, not wanting to face it, especially not all alone. But your responses have made me feel like I have friends helping me cope with this dentist phobia. I've never had that phobia before, but then, I've never had any serious tooth problems either, until this one.

    MM: Thank you so much. Your detailed response was really helpful in bringing me out of denial. You're right of course, that particular molar's removal won't show, it won't alter my face, and it will probably improve my chewing since I've been using only the right side to chew for the past 3 years!

    GG: Big thanks! The Denti-Cal link was a total revelation! I can't believe nobody ever told me about it, when I've been moaning about this cracked tooth all this time. The tragic part, though, is that California drastically cut back the dental program because of the state's budget crisis in 2009. But it appears that tooth extraction in a case like mine is still among the very few remaining services that Denti-Cal still covers. (At least it is if I've read the Denti-Cal FAQ sheet correctly.) The site includes a list of providers in SF who are accepting new patients, so now I can make some phone calls. Thank goodness for Yelp... I've already eliminated a couple of dentists on the list who came up with lousy reviews. But a couple of others look very promising.

    OK... I can do this... I think.
    You can do it!

    How's everything going?

    Here's an out-of-the-box thought: ask a friend in a less populated part of CA if you can stay a night or two there, so you can schedule the procedure with a dentist in that area who'll accept you as a patient, accept Denti-Cal & schedule you sooner.

    I had a scaling yesterday. I changed toothpaste about 18 months ago, and had required a scaling only once. Yesterday's scaling wasn't horrible, but it was enough to convince me to return to using tartar control Crest.

    *And* I need a crown on a lower right molar, a crown on an upper right molar, and a bridge on my upper left molars and bicuspid. The work is equally pressing. My dental coverage won't renew until Jan. 1, 2014, and I've maxed out my benefits for 2013. *sigh*

    Typing that out helped me...I'll have the work on the right molars done in 2014, pay out-of-pocket for a temporary filling on the upper left, and let the permanent restorations on the left side wait until my coverage renews in Jan 2015.

    MM
    Last edited by MissMuffins; 06-26-2013 at 12:42 AM.
    "Our past is a story existing only in our minds. Look, analyze, understand, and forgive. Then, as quickly as possible, chuck it." ~ Marianne Williamson

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