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Dental problems after radiation, 2nd time

ggpierce's picture
ggpierce
Posts: 30
Joined: Oct 2011

I had hodgkin disease 22 years ago, and again one year later, then in 2008 I was diagnosed with a malignant tonsil. Radiation again. My teeth were fixed several times through all this, but the radiation has destroyed them this time. They are brittle, breaking, decaying and just falling apart. I have had 5 pulled so far. I still have 22 teeth to pull and get dentures or implants.

My problem is the cost, I am not able to pay for 4k worth of dental work, and I need it done. I am a 3 time survivor, my mother died of Lung cancer this year, my father died of prostate, bladder, bone and lung cancer last year. I have become active in relay for life doing all we can with the local chapter. I was nominated and accepted to this years class of the ACS's Hero's of Hope program. In this program I will be travelling around my area giving speech's and talking to those who are involved in relay for life and the fight against cancer. MY teeth are not good looking and I hate it. Does anyone know of a charitable organization that will help me get this taken care of? I see all sorts of programs for unfortunate kids, in this country and every where else, but nothing for someone like me.

Any information is most welcome, and thank you!

osmotar's picture
osmotar
Posts: 954
Joined: Jul 2011

GG...my oncologist office gave me information to a website called healthwellfoundation.org , it provides financial assistance, I don't know if it is just for cancer treatments or whether funds are avaialble for other issues related to cancer treatments. You can fill out an on-line application.

Congrats on the Hero's of Hope, my neice and I are attending a relay for life event tomorrow afternoon, here in AZ where I live. If I had know about it sooner would have liked to walk, but for tomorrow just going to lend support .

Take care

Linda

ggpierce's picture
ggpierce
Posts: 30
Joined: Oct 2011

thanks for the link, I will check into it, and thanks on the Hero's of Hope, we are looking forward to it.

Thanks for going to the relay event, I'm sure they will welcome your help no matter what it might be.

Have a great night!

ggpierce

sweetblood22's picture
sweetblood22
Posts: 3230
Joined: Jan 2010

A couple of us here are Facebook friends with a woman who I think does a lot with fundraising and things with The Oral Cancer Foundation
I believe. I also think she might be a dental hygienist. I will shoot her a private message and if she gets back to me I will post it here for you. Not sure if she can help, but it's a thought.

ggpierce's picture
ggpierce
Posts: 30
Joined: Oct 2011

Thanks

Skiffin16's picture
Skiffin16
Posts: 8087
Joined: Sep 2009

Just wanted to chime in a quick "Welcome".....

As you are already finding out, this is a great forum, with awesome people, and many willing to help in any way we can.

Sorry, I don't have anything as far as your dental situation though.

Best,
John

ggpierce's picture
ggpierce
Posts: 30
Joined: Oct 2011

Thank you, these types of forums are very helpful, I'm glad I found this one. I look forward to helping others as I can.

ljoy's picture
ljoy
Posts: 85
Joined: Dec 2007

When I had oral surgery a year ago the cost was filed on Medical insurance and not dental since it was caaused by radiation treatment for tonsil cancer. You may want to check your medical coverage if you have it.

ggpierce's picture
ggpierce
Posts: 30
Joined: Oct 2011

thanks, I will read my policy, I doubt it will cover it, my policy is extremely limited and barely covers my procedures.

denistd's picture
denistd
Posts: 505
Joined: Apr 2009

Hi GG, Your policy will probably state that dental coverage for the removal of teeth PRIOR to radiation is covered. I have just, two weeks ago, had all of my teeth removed, I had radiation two years ago. My Oral Surgeon, in unison with my rad Onc, persuaded Medicare and my supplement that this was a medical necessity. They covered it 100% with no co-pay. So it can be done, good luck.

ggpierce's picture
ggpierce
Posts: 30
Joined: Oct 2011

Yes I am sure it won't cover anything, I am hoping to find a program through the American Dental Association or something like that, that will cover it or at least give a break. I have to have them all taken out.

I see in your profile pic you play. I am a drummer, been playing for 30 years, now playing newer country and old classic rock. It's part of my "happy time", that and my motorcycle. Here's our bands fb page www.facebook.com/wishesband

Thanks for the reply.

denistd's picture
denistd
Posts: 505
Joined: Apr 2009

Yes there are a couple of us here that practice the arts of music, Brian Krashpad, Soccerfreaks, Hondo, and of course myself. I do not play gigs anymore but it was my living for many, many years, had a great time, travelled the world and met all kinds of great people, and a lot of selfish, talentless idiots, (read a certain guitar user in a honky tonk band from England that has no satisfaction)I am British but live here in the US. I will visit your website. Cheers

jillsullivan69
Posts: 1
Joined: Apr 2013

I have had so much radiation from fighting cancer for 20 years that my Saliva glands were fried, as well as my Thyroid gland. My Oral Surgeon said he needed to remove some of my teeth, even the $10K beautiful porcelin crowns that I had done in 2006, post radiation, may have to come out?. The surgeon said the extractions/surgery  was covered as was the 30 Hyperberic treatments that were also covered to make sure the healing would take place without infections. The day of the surgery he said, "oh by the way, your insurance is not going to pay for the extractions!" What, I said. They covered the Hyperberic treatments that cost $40K, but they will not cover the extractions. He said he fought with the insurance(Medicare, and med part B? We had to cough up $1600.00 that minute to go ahead with the surgery. We then were told he may have to extract some more, and then again later, he said all of them!? So now here we are with 20 more teeth to come out in two different stages, the cost will be, with no complications, another $4K!! Radiaiton is a medical procedure which caused my teeth to crack, flake, break off, and decay. The Hyperberic was covered($40K) for the Dental peocedure, so why isn't the oral surgery covered?? This is obsurd, and expensive since I am on a fixed income of disability and Soc. Security!! After all is said and done, the Orthodontist wants $8K to replace my teeth with dentures?!!!!I can not afford this all at once, and they want half of the money up front with the other half when finished in 4-6 weeks!!!?? I just maybe will be without any teeth for some time. I have gone thru enough, and now I will not be able to chew my food or enjoy the rest of my pitiful life that has already been a chambles with no voice box, and not having a quality life what so ever!! Anybody know of anyone who can answer these questions, or advise me of what I can do????? 

 

CivilMatt's picture
CivilMatt
Posts: 2964
Joined: May 2012

Jill,

 

Welcome to the H&N forum. 

 

Teeth are a big issue here and many share your predicament.

 

You might have better luck getting a response to your questions by starting a new thread.  This one is 2 ½ years old and you can’t count on people reading your post.

 

Good luck,

 

Matt

sweetblood22's picture
sweetblood22
Posts: 3230
Joined: Jan 2010

No response to my message I sent yet.

ggpierce's picture
ggpierce
Posts: 30
Joined: Oct 2011

Thanks, I'm still searching, I've spent most of the weekend sending messages and looking for leads. Haven't gotten any responses yet, don't expect anything until later in the week. I appreciate any info you find.

Hondo's picture
Hondo
Posts: 5795
Joined: Apr 2009

Hi ggpierce

Sorry to hear about the problems you are having but it is one I think we all share. I go next week to Houston to see a Cancer dentist through MD Anderson about my teeth. My fears are that they will want too much money to fix my teeth, so all I can do is to pull them. It don’t seam right as I have always took very good care of my teeth, my insurance will cover some of it to pull them but not a lot. They consider cosmetic treatment a non covered item, I been trying to explain it is not cosmetic it was all caused by the cancer. So it looks like what ever I do to fix or repair them will be out of my pocket so it will not be much.

Hondo

ggpierce's picture
ggpierce
Posts: 30
Joined: Oct 2011

Seems there are a lot of us out there. I have found a few charitable dental organizations that help mainly kids, but just a few for adults.

osmotar's picture
osmotar
Posts: 954
Joined: Jul 2011

GG- glad to see your still exploring different options, you have a 50-50 chance one will work with you, if they say no the first time , don't hesitate to contact again.

Best of luck in your search.

Linda

luv4lacrosse's picture
luv4lacrosse
Posts: 1392
Joined: Jul 2010

Have you looked into a Universities Dental School? My mom years ago was given free and some discouted dental work / procedures through a University School of Dentistry here in St. Louis.

Mike

ggpierce's picture
ggpierce
Posts: 30
Joined: Oct 2011

I have a couple emails in to the nearest schools, they are a good ways away. 3 hrs and 5 hrs. away. My mother also done this years ago, I remember being with her when I was bout 4 yrs old.
Thanks for the input

Hondo's picture
Hondo
Posts: 5795
Joined: Apr 2009

Thanks for the tip I think I too will give them a call as I don’t an extra $20,000 laying around doing nothing just to pay for fixing my teeth.

I am not sure why people think that when you have Cancer you are rich, if anything most of us are broke from paying all these doctor & Hospital bills.

Thanks
Hondo

denistd's picture
denistd
Posts: 505
Joined: Apr 2009

Amen to that Hondo, cancer and heart problems have drained everything I have.

ggpierce's picture
ggpierce
Posts: 30
Joined: Oct 2011

One thing I have discovered is, don't get in any hurry. I have sent in emails to the american dental ass., acs, several dentists, two universities. Still waiting. I have heard from acs. they referred me to a couple websites to explore. At the rate my teeth have started falling apart I can't wait. I am making an apt. next week to start pulling the worst of them. They are cutting my lips, tongue and cheeks.

denistd's picture
denistd
Posts: 505
Joined: Apr 2009

Not sure I would go ahead and have them all pulled before I talked to an oral surgeon about hyperbaric treatment first, if no HBO the jaw bone can die and break up over time.

backachedp
Posts: 124
Joined: Oct 2009

Bob has gone to the U of Mn Dental School and it is a bit cheaper, but they refuse to do anymore until they are assured Insurance will pay...as I stated earlier we get 1500.00 a year towards Denatl and awaiting Insurance approval that it SHOULD be covered by Medical...it is a waiting game and Bob has been running around without teeth for month's he just had more removed last week and it is the 1st time they gave him an rx for pain.

backachedp
Posts: 124
Joined: Oct 2009

If anyone finds out anything else I would appreciate a note as Bob has litterally no teeth and we cannot afford implant's..if not for the Cancer Bob had beautiful GOOD teeth..now he is toothless and we only get 1,500 a year towards any Dental work..waiting to hear if Insurance will pay due to Cancer being the cause of all his Dental issues...

ggpierce's picture
ggpierce
Posts: 30
Joined: Oct 2011

Update* I have talked with my Dr. and Vanderbilt, he suggests the Hyperbaric Oxygen treatment if you are more than 1 year out from treatment, not before, and the farther out from treatment you are the better. The issue is the possiblility of the Oxygen treatments "kick starting" a dormant cancer cell that might still be hanging around. He says studies show the possiblility of this, but no numbers on the studies. So I'm 2 years out, I've already had some teeth pulled and they healed up alright. I am going to see an oral surgeon today, if he agree's I am going to forego the Oxygen treatment and get them pulled. The greatest danger is with the back teeth, I only have 4 left so I think I will be good. Vandy has a Dental school, so I may get help there.
I will post an update when I know something.

Thanks for your input.

Skiffin16's picture
Skiffin16
Posts: 8087
Joined: Sep 2009

I think this possibility or thought of the possibility has come up on here before....

I don't think there has ever been any documented confirmation, at least that I can remember.

Unfortunately, the possibility of deriving cancer seems to be pretty prevalent with nearly everythng in existance these days.

As mentioned several times before, there's always a chance of deriving a secondary cancer from the radiation that we recieved to kill the first cancer that we had.

JG

Hondo's picture
Hondo
Posts: 5795
Joined: Apr 2009

I have heard it play on both sides of the fence that Oxygen was a cancer started and Oxygen was a cancer killer. I know a lot of people who did the HBO treatment and so far they are all doing very well. When you pull the 4 back teeth just have you dentist monitor the healing progress. If he sees that you are not healing right then you might want him to have a HBO set up for you somewhere, just to be on the safe side.

Take care
Hondo

ggpierce's picture
ggpierce
Posts: 30
Joined: Oct 2011

I met with the Oral Surgeons yesterday and Vanderbilt. They consulted with my ENT Onclology/surgeon, and have suggested no HBO treatment. One of the determining factors was that I had a tooth pulled about 9 months ago and it healed up OK. They are scheduling me to have all removed, in an operating room to do it as "gently" as possible.

So, waiting for them to call and let me know when.

Wish me luck, and no pain. HA HA!

Hondo's picture
Hondo
Posts: 5795
Joined: Apr 2009

All at once

Great to hear they don’t think you will need the HBO treatment that will help with expense. I wish you well on getting them all puller at once, I guess if you are going to pull them that is the way to do it.

Take care
Hondo

osmotar's picture
osmotar
Posts: 954
Joined: Jul 2011

Great news......good luck with teh surgery.

Linda

denistd's picture
denistd
Posts: 505
Joined: Apr 2009

Glad you are getting them done in a hospital setting, thats where mine was done. I looked last night at my account page with Highmark, it showed the hospital was paid $13,000, this does not include the surgeons fee as he is independent, I am told it's around $5,000, this to get 17 teeth extracted, it was done as outpatient. Good luck lad. Denis

Hondo's picture
Hondo
Posts: 5795
Joined: Apr 2009

Wow that a little over 1000 bucks a tooth to get removed, hope the tooth fairy helps with the co-pay. I will see the dentist this coming Tuesday to see what he thinks about my teeth, if it is too much they will need to stay in and rot out.

Hondo

Nidociv's picture
Nidociv
Posts: 10
Joined: Sep 2009

I had a tooth chip off at the gum and it became infected in June, put me on antibiotics for 2 weeks then had to do 20 HBO treatments, had the tooth pulled and back for 10 more HBOs. TOTAL COST $42,000... My cost is about $1,200... Just had 2 more teeth on the other side fall apart, have to be pulled, ENT says more HBOs, they are trying to decide how many this time. I finished chemo and rads in Oct,08 and my mouth has been a disaster since then, but I'll live with it considering what we go thru. Good Luck to all, just wanted to tell you my experiences so far. Randy

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