A few weeks ago, I lost approximately a third of a tooth. I want it back. I’m still figuring out what to do about it.
Over the past year, I’ve chipped or broken seven or eight teeth during tonic-clonic seizures, but this was by far the largest chunk to fall victim to my epilepsy’s hijinks. As soon as I realized that there was a conspicuous space in my mouth where tooth material should have been, I called my dentist and made an appointment for the next day to have the third-of-a-tooth-missing situation evaluated.
On the way there, I did my best to remain calm.
The dentist has been able to fix all of your other teeth, one part of my brain reassured me.
The tooth will be extracted, another part shot back.
Though my worst-case-scenario thinking is usually proven hyperbolic, it was on the money this time. A lot of money. My dentist explained to me that the tooth in question can’t be saved. Her suggested solution to bridge the gap left by the unavoidable extraction a) would cost around $5,000 and b) could break during a seizure. Very gently and rationally, she recommended that I consult with a medical professional who’s knowledgeable about epilepsy and dental health. The tooth needs to come out in the nearish future but not super urgently; I therefore have the luxury of a bit of breathing room in which I can gather information that’ll make me as sure as possible that whatever choice I make about a replacement is based on reason rather than on my complicated emotions.
In the interests of not losing readers, I’ll avoid writing about this latest dental issue in too much detail. I will mention, however, that I’m relatively proud of myself for how I’ve been dealing with it. By the time I was able to ask my epileptologist for his opinion, I was 98% sure that I was going to hold off on the five-thousand-dollar option. Spending that kind of cash for a dental restoration that would last for the rest of my life, or at least for a decade or more, would be one thing; spending it with the knowledge that a seizure could quickly destroy my investment would be another. He confirmed that I shouldn’t pay for a permanent fix until my seizures are better controlled, which made me settle into my decision not to sink tons of money into my mouth right now.
Not that I’m happy about what’s going on with my teeth. To be frank, I’m pretty resentful that I devote so much energy to taking care of them only to have stuff like this happen, and I can’t help but feel like I’m fighting a losing battle: it’s me against the double whammy of anticonvulsants that weaken my teeth and seizures that cause these crumbly jerks to come together with such force that they chip and break. The thing is, I don’t need to maintain a positive attitude about, for example, the chunk currently missing from my tooth; what I need is to be smart, persistent, and pragmatic about preventative care and about addressing the dental problems that will inevitably arise.