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Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Beyond Finance: My Dental Health Journey

The TSX closed with a very strong 20,330.32 points. My non-registered portfolio closed at $136,332.91, my US portfolio at $5,287.45 US, my RRSP stocks-only portfolio at $64,029.23, and my TFSA portfolio at $130,293.48. My numbers are slightly lower than on August 11, so I estimate my net worth is around $365,000. My margin debt now stands at $26,770.80.

I previously mentioned on Twitter/X (you should follow me here!) that I would be writing a post about dental care, but it won't be the type of post you might expect. So, here I go!

If you have a sensitive soul or anything of that nature, you might prefer to skip what will follow below. Personally, I wanted to share, just in case someone out there may have had the same behavior as I did before I started going to the dentist.

I went many, many years without going to the dentist - not a good thing to do, I know that - but I kind of have an aversion to health practitioners, and that is in every field. I guess it's a trust issue. I always took great care of my teeth, but probably didn't floss often enough - I do that more regularly now. So, like I said, I spent many years without going to the dentist, but I never had a problem, no cavities whatsoever, nothing. Actually, my problems began when, after all those years, I decided to pay a visit to a dentist in downtown Montreal. I decided it was time that I took advantage of the insurance I had at work, and so I did.

Since I wasn't flossing regularly enough, I transformed myself into a vampire. My gums were bleeding. I was asked if I was flossing, to which I answered - very honestly - no, I am more or less flossing. That way, the hygienist got a clear picture of what kind of patient I was... I learned that flossing was very important, and, on the same occasion, that two of my wisdom teeth needed to be removed because one of the two was developing a cavity. I had a really hard time believing it since I wasn't experiencing any pain, so I decided to get confirmation from a second dentist - no way I was going to have two big teeth removed just for the heck of it...

If the dentist was willing to make money on my back, she was going to be surprised! So I went to a second dentist, asked for his opinion, and unfortunately, he said the same thing. Two wisdom teeth needed to be removed because one of them was developing a cavity, and sooner or later, I was going to experience pain. So I asked, "Okay, but why can we not only have the wisdom teeth with the cavity removed? Why do both need to be removed?" The response was, "It's to balance the mouth." So I went back to the first dentist I saw and told them that, yeah, I was going to have those two upper teeth removed... It went well. I was amazed by the strength of the dentist; she's a slim, petite woman, but she's strong! She graciously pulled out those two big teeth without any problems. I got painkillers that worked wonderfully well, and I didn't have any issues.

Later on, another dental issue I faced was the replacement of my fillings. When I was a kid, we ate well, weren't big on junk food, but we drank soft drinks, Kool-Aid, and juice with a lot of sugar. Eventually, all my adult teeth got filled due to cavities. I had black fillings on almost all my teeth, which had been there for many years. Gradually, I had my black fillings replaced with white ones. It's not just an aesthetic concern; after a while, fillings may need replacement to prevent them from damaging the teeth. Unfortunately, black fillings were more durable than the white ones, but they are no longer used. Now, I have all my fillings replaced with white ones. Another good reason to visit a dentist: to have those fillings checked out.

Growing up in New Brunswick wasn't always easy; it was very difficult to find jobs, and getting a summer job was always an achievement. It was a frustrating situation, and the distress and stress that I felt - I think - affected the way I brushed my teeth. Over the years, I have developed gum recession. I am now fully aware of that problem, and I go extra gently when I brush my teeth. For now, that problem is under control. You need to see a dentist for any gum recession problem; only a specialist will be able to tell if you need a gum transplant or not. In my case, I was told I had good gum health, and I could stay the way I am for the present time...

On my most recent dentist visit a few months ago, I was recommended to undergo a specific type of radiography because something had been observed on my jaw. I was asked if I felt any pain, which I didn't. This radiography wasn't covered by my insurance and cost me $300. The radiography was sent to a specialist.

A few days ago, my dentist called me for a follow-up on that matter, explaining that the radiography needed to be sent to another specialist. According to the first one, I had a benign tumor on my jaw, and a biopsy may need to be performed. It's not something that really upset or scared me. I wouldn't like to get a biopsy because, in my opinion, it could trigger the tumor and turn it into cancer...

One problem that I am facing is that if the tumor keeps growing, I could lose my teeth and - I guess - some bone structures. It's the only reason why I am letting my dentist move forward with a specialist. I was asked for my Quebec medical health card, so I assume the biopsy and everything else will be covered by Quebec medical; I don't know more at this point.

The only reason why I am sharing this with you is for you to know that a visit to the dentist includes much more than your teeth; your dentist can also detect any mouth-related cancer. I know it sounds very weird, but jaw cancer exists; it's a form of cancer. In case you're wondering, I never smoked, and I don't smoke green either. I guess I've just been really lucky!


Anonymous said...

I hope your health assessment comes back clean. Keep smiling and try not to stress.

Anonymous said...

Good luck with the outcome!


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