(TW: Dentist stuff-although that's probably apparent by the title...)
I haven't been to the dentist in over 15 years. When I was between the ages of 6-12, I went pretty regularly (once or twice a year, maybe a filling or two). I don't remember for sure the last time I went, but I remember it had been after not going for a year or two, and I had a TON of cavities that we couldn't afford. We got one quadrant of my mouth (lower right) fixed, and then just didn't go back.
When I was 16, my mouth basically started falling apart, I don't know if it was just a filling falling out, or if my teeth just fell apart, but I remember all of the sudden I had 2 teeth with holes in them. I didn't tell my parents both because I knew we couldn't afford to do anything about it, and also because I though I'd be blamed for poor brushing technique.
For the last 13 years, my teeth have progressively gotten worse. I have gone through periods of intense pain. Most of my missing teeth are at the back, but one of them is visible if I smile widely. Every time I look at my wedding pictures, I can see the missing tooth (even though SehjMan says it's not obvious) It is difficult to eat sometimes.
For the last several years, I've had insurance, but have been too embarrassed to go. I finally went today.
Good news: my dentist was nice and straight forward. She didn't scold me or ask why I let them get so bad. She examined them, spend a lot of time going over X-rays, and made her suggestions. The office staff spent a ton of time going over insurance stuff and making a plan with me. She suggested doing it in stages.
Bad news: I have to have 6 extractions and 3 root canals. I feel like a giant failure. Also, in my head, I thought this would all go more quickly. I had already accepted the fact that I would have to get partial dentures, and I thought it would be quick. Like, I could go in for the extractions, and have the partial dentures in a month or something. However, the partial dentures are actually the last step. The teeth around it have to be healthy enough to support it, which means I probably won't get them until after September
My dental insurance is pretty good (I guess, I mean obviously I've never used it), but I'll easily meet the yearly maximum just getting the 1st phase done and have to wait until September to finish the rest. I've put it off for so long, and I just want to have a normal smile and be able to eat easily.
Thanks for listening. Let me know if you have any advice regarding extractions/root canals/or general dentist stuff. I've never dealt with this before and feel like a lost puppy.