bitches gotta have teeth

One of my favorite blogger/writers Samantha Irby has been talking about her dental issues lately and because the Internet is awesome, there’s now a gofundme because yeah…bitches gotta have teeth  .

Reading Sam’s post today [ bitches gotta eat. – this is what’s up with my teeth.] …oh, I am so hoping the beautiful people of the Internet raise the money she needs. Sincerely crossing fingers.

Her post about what’s up with her teeth? That’s pretty much where I am right now.Except that I don’t have the extra complication of Crohn’s. I also didn’t grow up poor. I was raised in a trailer park, surrounded by a lot of poor people but my own family wasn’t poor. People assume I was poor because of where I lived but that’s another story…
I literally was never made to brush my teeth. I went to the dentist ONCE before I turned 18. The dentist told my mom I needed braces and that was that. We’re never going back to THAT place again. I mean, I figured a lot  out myself…thanks to Dental Health Month and everything but I think it’s probably common sense that someone who brushes their teeth but can’t go to a dentist is probably going to still end up with issues. As an adult, I had some pretty crappy dentists who did more harm than good. And then I had 2 separate accidents that caused me to break my front teeth. I’m a major klutz. It’s also been pointed out that my periods of food scarcity & poor nutrition haven’t exactly helped.

I also have not gotten an official quote from the dentist. I don’t even have a dentist right now. I just got dental coverage through my new married-lady insurance . I’m also pretty scared. I know they’re going to demand my last born child as payment. I know – usually they demand first born but he just turned 24. I don’t know what they’d want with him.

Well, I don’t know what they’d want with my 3 year old,either.

Ok, forget them demanding children as payment because I’m sure this is sounding way weirder than I intended.

Money. They’re going to want a lot of money. That’s what I meant.

The only perk I can find right now in this teeth situation is that I’ve lost weight on my new soup & banana diet. I really did need to lose weight. I’m glad I spent years studying herbal medicine because that’s coming in super handy right now for fighting infection and keeping pain to a minimum.

Everyone remember that one woman who wrote a thing about being poor on the Huffington Post that went viral? Linda Something. (I’m not linking to it. Feel free to use the Google).

I was not a huge gushing fan of that article. I was actually a little furious. In the essay-thing , she mentioned that her bad teeth were the reason she couldn’t get a decent job.  I can completely attest to this being a legit reason someone could not get a decent job. THAT’S ME. I’m educated, great resume, I have all sorts of crazy skills that people used to pay me for but really,the teeth keep people from hiring me now. It’s that bad. So, I wasn’t mad that this Linda chick said that about her teeth. I was mad that she went on Huff Post live to talk about her viral article and guess what?

Her teeth were fine.

Refresher for anyone who might remember that whole article: The Internet came together and raised at least $60,000 for this woman who they thought had a mouth full of rotten teeth and was  living in poverty deeper than anyone could imagine.

I don’t know why I’m rehashing all this because really…. let it go . I just think about that from time to time, especially when someone requests an interview with me and I feel that I have to decline. I am beyond self-conscious of my mouth and every time I talk, I’m pretty sure none of my words matter at all .It’s all undone by the dental nightmare that my mouth is. Well, interviews and job opportunities.  I’ve lost out on some good opportunities because of this. This isn’t just me being insecure. It’s a totally honest truth. It’s been a forthright comment about why I wasn’t hired. People judge people by their teeth . A lot. It sucks because the state of my teeth have nothing to do with how much I care about myself . It’s a pure reflection of poverty.

I am also uber sensitive to jokes about stupid people without teeth now. That shit is not ok.

Someday soon, I will get a quote from a dentist and find out how much money it’s going to take to make me a person again, a career employable woman people take seriously because the words coming out of her mouth are just words and there’s no crappy teeth getting in the way. A friend who doesn’t live in the U.S. says I made a HUGE mistake marrying my husband. I shoulda married someone from a country with excellent dental health care.  I have never understood why dental insurance is seen as an entirely separate thing than Health Care and I’m pretty sure that my insurance will cover like 0.000012% of that I need done.
Um, yeah…. heart disease, sepsis, diabetes,respiratory infections (I have one now) ,and …crap…Alzheimer’s,even. Nah, dental health isn’t important at all!

Excellent. The last sentence has now made me have a panic attack. Tomorrow morning, I think I need to make that appointment. Anyone want to hold my hand when I go? In spirit, even. That’d be cool.

Advertisements

21 thoughts on “bitches gotta have teeth

  1. I would go and hold your hand if I could. Because I loves you. I can be with you in spirit? I can dance in a circle and chant for you. No one will mind. 🙂

  2. Ug, yah….teeth. I have so much anxiety about mine. A lot of the same issues and fears noted hear. I feel completely held back by my teeth…….

  3. I can’t do one thing about mine. I have a chipped front tooth that needs to be extracted, plus I am sure I need massive periodontal work. Can’t do anything about it. It’s an absolutely horrible situation.

    1. I had some woman I’ve known for years tell me recently, “You should have them fixed.”
      Uh…no duh! Amazes me when people think it’s THAT easy.

      1. Dental insurance is absolutely worthless apart from semiannual checkups.

        Once you are unemployed, it doesn’t take long for the teeth to go to hell.

        I will have to suffer with this until I die. I am not in pain, but the front tooth IS quite unattractive.

  4. My teeth rotted after my pregnancies, and I was able to get a bunch of them pulled while I was still on medicaid. However, of course, when the dentist tried to get pre-authorization for partial dentures to replace them, Indiana realized that my Medicaid time was running out. (go figure). So, I still have to find out how much it would cost to get partials, but at least I don’t have painful, swollen, broken molars and stuff…Eventually, I’ll have enough money to go back to the dentist to try to keep the few teeth I have left healthy as well.

    1. My last couple pregnancies definitely were not any help,either. I’m sorry you weren’t able to get the rest done :-/
      Medicaid dentists here are terrible to the point of leaving some people traumatized.

  5. I understand that you’ve had bad experiences at the dentist. I hope you go to one who is as kind, gentle, compassionate and understanding as the one I go to now! It’s taken years, but I have made up for the years I neglected mine, and I
    don’t dread going at all any more. But it’s sure not cheap!

  6. I’m amazed that dental care for poor and low income people is so bad. I mean, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that this happens considering the general trends, but it seems so f*^%$ing wrong. Yeah, taking care of your teeth impacts your health in lots of ways, so it would make sense I never understood why dental care isn’t generally included in health insurance. It’s important to overall health to have healthy teeth, that’s proven.

    I added my partner to my insurance this year ’cause my employer is really cool and allows me to do stuff like that. I signed him up for health, dental, and vision coverage (which are all separate benefits, of course) and despite promising to use these benefits he is balking at going to the dentist. We’ve been together about 5 years and in that time he’s never been to the dentist. I’m not sure when he last went. He admits he’s scared/anxious about it, but I keep nagging him.

    Taking care of teeth seems complicated for many, even those with coverage. I guess I’ve had good dental care all my life, partly because I have good teeth. My parents never made me brush, too, but I inherited some awesome teeth genes or something because once the adult teeth came in I have had 0 cavities. I brush daily now and have gotten in the habit of flossing regularly, too, but I know I’m also lucky. One dentist I visited years ago looked in my mouth and said “I can see I’ll never make any money off of you.” I think he was only kinda joking.

    I hope you get your teeth fixed and you can maintain them. Being able to chew and bite things is really important, as well as being confident in your smile.

  7. I don’t know, perhaps this can help someone, somewhere. The American Association of Cosmetic Dentistry has a program called “Give Back A Smile” which is free and available to victims of domestic violence. They connect you with a dentist who does the work for free. You can get/copy the application on their website. I think there is also mention of and referral to other organizations who help with removal/treatment of scars and tattoos.

    Personally, I feel like I’ve spent my entire long life in a dentist’s chair. At ungodly expense. I’ve had good dentists and bad. I’ve had wonderful care from dental schools (they just take a great deal of time.) I could rant for days about my observations and opinions, but that doesn’t help. What I can personally vouch for : I recently read Weston Price’s “Nutrition and Physical Degeneration”. He was a dentist in the 30’s who studied native populations without tooth decay or need for orthodontia. Lots of photos. Very convincing. And he was an uber dentist. He established the research department of the ADA. And was a contemporary of Mayo (who made the Mayo Clinic) He spent 10 years analyzing what was in the native foods that kept people healthy enough to ward off and repair cavities. (Prior to that, he spent 25 years researching root canals and dental infections. His ultimate conclusions were that root canals were evil and people with proper nutrition wouldn’t need dental repair per say, so of course he was dismissed by the profession and banished to obscurity.) Per that, I started taking 1 1/2 teaspoons daily of the butter/cod liver oil, I think they call it ‘blue ice royal’ and it’s from Green Pastures. I can personally vouch for the fact that after a month and a half of the oil I went to the dentist (it had been 6 months, and when I was last there they told me I had a cavity) and there was no cavity at all. All my numbers (when they go around each tooth and measure the gum depth) were ones and twos (which is as good as it gets.) They really had no interest in/had never heard of Weston Price. They were fascinated with one little area, wouldn’t tell me why, just kept looking and poking around… assured me that everything was fine….. (If you ask me, they were seeing something re-mineralize, had never seen that before, wouldn’t admit it….but that’s just my opinion.) The only down side to this is that the oil’s expensive, it’s about $60 a month, shipped. Oh, and something else…My previous time to the dentist they put some antibiotic up into a place on my gum, saying they’d noticed infection. (I had noticed that something was on and off bothering me.) Something else I read, “Root Canal Cover Up” by George Meinig, another uber dentist who founded the American Association of Endodontists, wrote in the 90’s about finding Weston Prices’s book (which I know is free online somewhere, try something like the Guttenberg Library) and he was amazed etcetcetc… But mentioned in that book, how well iodine kills infection. Because I now know what a slight gum infection feels like, I started self-treating when I would feel something. I have a waterpik, and I’ll put just one drop of iodine in the reservoir with the water. It’s practically instant. Within half an hour, no more feeling up in my gum. I’ll do it maybe twice a week (I have lots of old root canals.) I know you’d want to be careful. You couldn’t drink iodine. It would be poisoness. If I accidentally put three or four drops in, it makes my tongue tingle. So I keep it to one drop. When I mentioned to the hygienist that I was doing this, she said everything looked good but she looked at me like I was nuts and said “well, I’ll just put you down as ‘herbal’.” .What I’ve been brushing with is coconut oil with baking soda and a little sea salt.

    Wishing you and everyone with tooth problems all the best. Healthcare and dental care in this country is a disaster. I don’t know what’s to become of us all. But for the first time in my 63 years I finally feel in control of the health of my mouth. Try to do whatever it takes to keep your real teeth.

  8. Dental care is a huge problem for the poor. I should hope that no one makes fun of someone because their teeth are bad. I went for years without having dental care and needed much work. I did not want to lose my teeth and did not have money to pay the cost of treatment. Alot of dental offices have a payment plan or a dental “credit card” you can sign up for which allows you to make payments to the company that just paid the dentist, but if you have absolutely nothing—-that is not going to work. For some, even a $15 dollar a month payment is not affordable. So, what to do??? In some areas, they have a free dental service day. Dentists from the area get together and clean teeth, pull teeth if necessary, fill cavitities. In our area it happens once a year, and you just wait your turn. No money required. Having good teeth is important for overall health. Bad teeth affects the heart—basically poisons the system. If you can afford a box of good quality green tea, start drinking at least 4 cups a day. Have a cup with each meal because it destroys the bacteria in the mouth and then have a cup before bed. In our food pantry I have seen boxes of green and other herbal teas. Vitamin D is also essential for good teeth and bones. Again, supplements are available at some food pantries, but the cost of a bottle of Vitamin D is minimal and worth having to support strong teeth. I once spoke with a girl who told me her family was so poor that they did not have toothbrushes or toothpaste. The children were given clean washcloths to clean their teeth with after every meal. The cloth wiped away the plaque which can lead to tartar and decay. And don’t forget floss—for about $1.50 you can get floss—-cheaper at the dollar stores. Floss cleans under the gum line and gets the food a brush (or wash cloth) can’t. If you can’t afford floss, swhising warm water around in your mouth for several minutes will loosen food particles. Swish hard.
    For those who have rotting teeth or no teeth at all, my heart goes out to you. Keep your eyes and ears open. Free programs pop up occasionally….try and take advantage of them.
    Blessings to all

  9. I would so hold your hand if I could be there to do so, so I am doing so in spirit.
    (Please ignore the grammar of that last sentence. The message is that I care, and I’m thinking of you.)

    So much of my self-image/appearance is tied up with my teeth, so I shouldn’t be surprised if it is that way with anyone else. Surprise.

    I wish that there was more I could do to help you than comment on this…and commiserate :-/

  10. The reason dental insurance (and vision insurance) aren’t included in regular medical insurance is simple: It’s because people, including young people, are more likely to use dentists and get their eyes checked than they are going to regular doctors.

    Can’t have that, and therefore dental and vision coverage is stingy to the point of worthlessness.

  11. Jupiter I will hold your hand, because I’ve sincerely thought about asking my husband to go to an appointment with me to hold mine. If I could afford said appointment.
    I had bad pregnancies where I threw up for 6 months, and basically eroded all my enamel no matter how much I rinsed my mouth afterward. After 20+ years of relatively good dental health (despite being raised poor & lack of a dental routine as a child), my teeth exploded in cavities. Now I need crowns and fillings galore. I have two teeth in particular that are so decayed you can the the black shadow of it between my teeth (how gross is that??). Occasionally I’ll be eating something, and feel like I’m suddenly chewing sand, and I’ll know yet another piece of tooth has slivered off. Then comes a couple days of terrible pain before the nerves “calm down” again. Because of this I have frequent nightmares of my teeth falling out in splinters. Dental trouble for a low income person, is literally, a nightmare.

    Sure preventative care would eliminate some of the issues, so many if we could have some programs to help with that (besides Medicaid), that would help. But what does one do when you get to the point of needing one or two $800 crowns and a handful of fillings?? Just another thing that keeps you in the poverty cycle. With all the money our government wastes on things, I’m certain there’s enough money somewhere to cover a program to help with that, too. I wish we had some leaders who were focused on leading and caring, and not on getting richer.

    Sorry, that ended up being a bit of a rant!

    1. Oh, I’m so sorry, Trisha :-/
      I’m so angry at the state of things for poor people everywhere right now. We can send shit into space and build some super state of the art weapons to blast whole cities and people to pieces but we can’t fix people’s teeth or feed people? Huge WTF…every single day….

Say what you need to say here! If this is your first time commenting, here, comments are moderated and will only be visible after I approve it .

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s