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The Root of the Problem

Tomorrow, just in time for the holidays, Santa is delivering to my stocking...a root canal.   Thanks, Santa.  You're a peach.

I think it has something to do with the fact that I'm Jewish.  I have never left out a plate of cookies on Christmas Eve, much less properly cleaned the chimneys that lead to my (non-functional) fireplaces.  

Santa feels mistreated.  And Santa is pissed.

This whole root canal thing came out of a routine visit to the dentist:  my teeth look fine; nothing hurts.   Like most people, I don't much like going to the dentist, except that they always compliment me on my excellent home care.   As recently as last year, my dentist was marveling over how fabulously healthy my 50-year-old teeth were.   Look:  I will take all the praise I can get.

The dental technician did not disappoint (let me just say that I am VERY good at flossing).   But then they looked at my x-rays and showed me how someone had apparently colored in tooth #28 with a Sharpie.   Off I went to the endodontist (new vocabulary word!   It means "Root Canal Guy").  Root Canal Guy confirmed that Tooth #28 has Severe Blah Blah Blah Resorption, and that 1) if I don't take action immediately I will definitely lose the tooth; and that 2) even if I do go ahead with the root canal, there's some chance I might lose the tooth anyway.


I am deeply aware that I have many blessings.  In this case, I am profoundly grateful for the blessing that is dental insurance.  My co-pay will set me back a few hundred bucks -- not a welcome expense, but not, in my case, financially ruinous.   Root Canal Guy was very excited about my dental insurance - so excited that I began to wonder if the Blah Blah Blah Resorption was really as Severe as he made out.   Then I looked at his x-rays, which have better resolution than my dentist's -- and it now looks like the Sharpie that colored in Tooth #28 was of the extra-wide-tip variety.   Bring on the Yuletide root canal.

When life's hiccups arise, I ask three questions:

1. What can I learn from this?

2. Is there a blog post in there?

3. Is there a song or, better yet, a music video in it?

 

So first:  what can I learn?   Well, there is this matter of insurance.  I am lucky to have it.  Truth is, though, the co-pay alone would be enough to price out many families.   And without dental insurance?  We're talking about a month and half of rent for much of the country.   40% of Americans, apparently, have no dental coverage at all.   Obamacare does not include dental coverage, either.


No wonder the country voted for change in November!    128 million people can't pay for their root canals! 

And they are pissed.

I have to say, as well, that this matter of potentially losing a tooth has taken me a bit off guard.   Keys, earrings, gloves, and occasionally my lunch -- these are things that I lose.   But teeth -- really?

Of course, I am not alone in my dental jeopardy.   Tooth loss is a problem all over.   The Centers for Disease Control has published this rank-ordered list of states with the greatest incidence of adult tooth loss (apparently nobody told them that Puerto Rico is not a state):

#1 West Virginia
#2 Kentucky
#3 Tennessee
#4 Alabama
#5 Louisiana
#6 Oklahoma
#7 Mississippi
#8 North Carolina
#9 Georgia
#10 Kansas
#11 Indiana
#12 South Dakota
#13 Missouri
#14 North Dakota
#15 Arkansas
#16 Puerto Rico
#17 Maine
#18 Pennsylvania
#19 Iowa
#20 Nebraska
#21 Alaska
#22 Idaho
#23 New Mexico
#24 South Carolina
#25 Wyoming

In case the point is not immediately obvious, let me color-code it for you:

#1 West Virginia
#2 Kentucky
#3 Tennessee
#4 Alabama
#5 Louisiana
#6 Oklahoma
#7 Mississippi
#8 North Carolina
#9 Georgia
#10 Kansas
#11 Indiana
#12 South Dakota
#13 Missouri
#14 North Dakota
#15 Arkansas
#16 Puerto Rico
#17 Maine
#18 Pennsylvania
#19 Iowa
#20 Nebraska
#21 Alaska
#22 Idaho
#23 New Mexico
#24 South Carolina
#25 Wyoming

 Turns out that red state America is missing its teeth!  And they are pissed.

The British Isles have long been  mocked for the poor state of their dental care.    And:  Brexit!   Just sayin.'

Hey:  if I lose Tooth #28 to the dreaded Severe Blah-Blah-Blah Resorption, then I myself will be pissed!   And then who KNOWS who I might vote for in 2020?   Election 2016 explained!  

So there's our answer to Question #1, what I -- what we ALL -- can learn from my dental travails.   Question #2 -- is there a blog post in it?  -- well, obviously.

As for Question #3 - is there a music video? -- that will all depend on whether the endodontist can sing.  I'll let you know tomorrow.

Comments

From Megan | On December 25, 2016 @05:52 pm
Sorry!! Happy Hanukah anyway...latkes are somewhat mushy, at least the applesauce is :-(. Fascinating correlation between red states tooth loss (and possible obesity as well). xooo
From Diane Gordon | On December 22, 2016 @12:53 pm
Good luck tomorrow. Always good to hear your wonderful sense of humor. But your list is another reminder of how people in red states continually vote against their own self-interests. Do they think Trump is going to help them get dental care after he gets rid of the ACA and tries to damage Medicaid and Medicare? Oy!
From Judy Weber | On December 22, 2016 @11:32 am
Brilliant!

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