quadmoniker: I’m going to endorse universal health care, or at least universal dental care. Because of the way I changed jobs and a lack of consistent coverage, I didn’t go to the dentist between 2004 and 2008. At the same time, I was fairly steadily on subscription antacids because I kept getting pretty bad ulcers, which I now know means I should have been paying closer attention to the health of my mouth. By the time I went to the dentist last year, I had 16 cavities in nearly every tooth but those in the front. I also needed two root canals. I had the doctor who found them fix them in a series of four visits. Since my dental insurance capped out at $1,000, I had my mother tap into the precious little bit of money she has and help me pay nearly $3,000 in additional costs out of pocket.
In January, my insurance changed again for the third time in two years, so I had to get a new dentist. Again. I went for a routine cleaning in March, and the dentist there took new X-rays of my mouth to show me the first dentist had not done the fillings correctly. Each one overlapped and hung down the side of my tooth, providing a pathway for bacteria under the filling and into my teeth. Also, each time I flossed, I was pulling up the fillings a little bit. Rather than fix them, that dentist said I should go back to the first dentist, show her the problem, and have her fix them because her work should be guaranteed. What he didn’t say, but what I suspected, is that he would not have been reimbursed for the new fillings.
After a couple of months of delay because I was alternately sick, busy, and scared, I finally went. The dentist was an hour late and in a rush. I’m not sure if she understood what I was saying, but she said she could fix the problem easy, no worries. She sat me down, immediately began drilling, without numbing my mouth at all, and used this weird floss between my top teeth. She didn’t even touch the bottom teeth, which are the worst. On the right lower side, the new dentist’s predictions have come true and I’ve lost a quarter of a filling. On the left lower side, two of the flaps have joined together in the middle, preventing me from flossing between those teeth at all. The teeth she “fixed” are now throbbing and bloody.
I want to go back to the dentist who identified the filling problem, but he is dropping my insurance as of August 1 and doesn’t have an appointment before then. I looked online to try to find a new one, but it puts me in the same problem of having to find a dentist in a town I still don’t know well who is both recommended by friends and takes my insurance. Either way, I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to pay out of pocket again. I know, I know. All of this is my fault because I didn’t go to the dentist for so long. But I grew up without health care, and going to a doctor before a problem starts is counterintuitive to me. More than that, I was switching doctors every time I got a new job or a new apartment, and there was no single person who could say, “You know, your stomach health problems might be altering the pH of your mouth. Make sure you get your teeth checked.”
slb: I first heard Georgia Anne Muldrow four years ago, on Platinum Pied Pipers‘ CD Triple P. Because I couldn’t stop blasting the tracks on which she was featured, “One Minute More” and a soulful, impassioned, superior-to-the-original cover of Lenny Kravitz’s “Flowers for Zoe,” I bought her EP, Worthnothings, from CDBaby (is that site still around?). Since then, I’ve sort of vaguely tracked her career, liking some of her work a lot better than other portions of it. But last week, I stumbled upon her tribute song to Michael Jackson, “King’s Ballad,” and completely fell in love with her sound again. I was already headed that way, after glomming on to her track, “Roses,” on Mos Def’s The Ecstatic, but this single really pushed my renewed Georgia fandom over the edge. I’ve played it at least once every day for the past week.