Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

A Public Service Announcement From TSSBP

Show of hands -- who likes Navy Dentistry? I sure didn't, but I went to the dentist every year because I had to. I'd always had fairly good teeth (never needed braces and didn't have my first cavity until I was 16), but I ended up with 1 or 2 minor cavities a year during my last years in the Navy.

When I was doing my retirement workups in the summer of 2004, I got all the dental work done that they could think of doing, because it was free. When I finally got my civilian job, I noticed that it came with dental insurance, and would listen to the stories my wife and kids told about when they went to the dentist or orthodontist, but I never got that notice from the Doc that I had to go, so I... didn't.

When I started being able to feel a cavity on one of my back molars with my tongue a few weeks back, I figured I really needed to buckle down and find a dentist. I went today, and they found -- get ready for it -- 17 cavities, including one that will require a root canal, and another (the one I was feeling) that probably will. Plus, it turns out that, in the civilian world, you actually incur fairly substantial co-pays. (Having Tricare as my secondary medical insurance here in CIVMOUNT, I'd never really thought about that.) Bottom line is that they want about $2,600 above and beyond what my insurance would cover this year to get all the work done. Of course, most of the cavities wouldn't have progressed this far had I gotten a yearly cleaning.

So, take it from Bubblehead -- don't think that just because you're out of the Navy, you don't need to see the dentist. Plus, they say that they'll give you something that makes it so you won't even remember your visits, which is way better than what the Navy does for you.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Navy dentistry, what a joke. I had all four of my wisdom teeth taken out in boot camp without putting me under. I can still hear them saying "You're going to feel some pressure." as a tooth is getting rip out of my head. Oh the fun times. I guess being a nuke meant I couldn't keep them.

7/17/2008 4:55 PM

Blogger 630-738 said...

I managed to survive nearly 20 years with my wisdom teeth intact, until an AIR FORCE dentist decided one of mine was twisted 90 degrees in it's socket. He had it extracted and then they realized it was fine. Thanks for the addtional hole in my head Air Force! Aim High, hit low, I guess.

7/17/2008 5:17 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Holy crap dude that sucks. Like that really sucks. I had my wisdom teeth removed at the National Naval Medical Center here in Bethesda, MD last year. You would think that in this mecca for Navy Medicine and dentistry (Bethesda) that they would actually do a good job. Ummm...nope the dentists here at their HQ sucked just as much as they did in Kings Bay or Boot Camp. While in the process of extracting my upper right wisdom tooth that effin dentist pokes a hole right through my nasal passage. Yep, talk about pain and suffering. Every time I took a breath through my nose i created a very painful suction in my mouth...for like 2 weeks.

7/17/2008 7:04 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I still remember getting three wisdom teeth extracted on a barge at Electric Boat. Now THAT was Navy dentistry at its finest. Afterwards, it was back on the boat to work on quals, 'cause I was a nub, and dink by definition. Ahhhh, the good times...

7/18/2008 12:08 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Had radiation dental caries, went through 15 root canals, 6 pulled teeth and a lot of novocaine. And this was when I was in college!

I have horror stories about the military and their dentists.

Good luck with the root canal, joel.These days it doesn't hurt as much as it used to. Plus there's sedation dentistry now. :-)

Gman's SO

7/18/2008 1:01 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I never had cavities growing up. The Navy dentists didn't find any cavities in Boot Camp. The Navy dentists didn't find any cavities in all my schools.

Then I got to the boat and did my 1st pre-deployment dental screening. The guy starts dragging that probe around my teeth like he's digging for potatos. It sounded worse than a bunch of rocks in a bent shitcan rolling down a hill. "Hmmm", he says. "Looks like you have three cavities." "What? I've never had cavities in my life! I brush twice a day!" "Sorry, I found three. Go schedule the fillings."

For the next week, until the fillings, I was depressed and dejected. After all the money my parents put into my teeth with braces and other orthodontics, I've come to this sorry state in life. Cavities! Oh, the calamity!

So, I get to the dental and sit in the chair for my fillings. It's a different dentist. He looks at my x-rays, and probes around in my mouth. He looks at my chart. He looks at my mouth again. "I don't see three, maybe one... who did your exam." "AH OH O.", I said, as the saliva sucker was imploding my mouth.

Looking at my chart the dentist says, "Ah, it was Dr. So-n-so. He's drill happy. We'll just do the one. It's really small, but it's there. Better to take care of it before it becomes a problem."

I wonder if I really needed that one, but at least he did good work. It lasted 17 years before it was knocked out of my mouth from surgery.

7/18/2008 8:02 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

SonarMan is right, Joel. Time for a second opinion. Did your dentist just buy his wife a new Mercedes?
- My brother is a dentist in your state.

7/18/2008 8:41 AM

Blogger Sandy Salt said...

Navy Dentistry may have its moments, but don't get stuck on an AFB because they treat other services like shit. I have waited 9 months to get a routine cleaning and then after waiting 20 minutes they roll out and tell me they are going to have to cancel and reschedule. The poor shmuck couldn't find and appointment available and an AF O-5 is telling me to make a customer service complaint on the clinic, when the administrator came out and worked out an appointment for next week. The funny thing is that if I was on my old base I could do a walk-in cleaning or they would keep the appointment by squeezing me in with someone else. AF doesn't give a shit about the patient, so Navy Dentistry make suck but be thankful you aren't in the AF.

Joel, get a second opinion on all that work because you would be on the ground in pain if you had that much really wrong.

7/18/2008 10:06 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had 3 of 4 wisdom teeth pulled prior to joining the navy. The last one was impacted into the sinuses so the dentist decided to leave it - he didn't want to perforate my sinus.

Once in the Navy, a junior boot camp dentist looked at my xray and scheduled a time to yank the last tooth. The appointment was canceled when an 0-6 dentist looked at the xray and overruled him. Since then, several Navy and civilian dentists looked at that tooth and passed. I still have the tooth twenty years later - never had a problem.

On another note, when I left the Navy and had my first post navy dental appointment, the dentist looked in my mouth and said "Those are military fillings aren't they?"

He replaced all my military fillings with crowns.

7/18/2008 1:36 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry folks, but I have nothing but good things to say about Navy dentistry, something I can't say for Navy medicine. When I was a young'un, I broke off part of a tooth. My family dentist decided to leave it alone until I was past the age where I would break any repairs that he made. When I arrived in Groton, the dental clinic there offered to fix that tooth and did. That work was supposed to be good for ~5 years, that was almost twenty-five years ago. Since then, other dentists (Navy and civilian) that have examined that tooth were surprised when I told them that they were looking at cement.

Nope, not a problem.

7/18/2008 3:14 PM

Blogger Old IC-man now a darn ET said...

I really hate Dental, and to think I have only had cleanings in my 17 plus years. But every time I go my mouth hurts till I can get home and get a beer to kill the pain :)

7/18/2008 4:13 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks alot bubblehead i just made myself an appt. with a dentist ( have not seen one in almost 2 years) but now i might have to re-consider. you are certinaly a monument of confidence among us dental cowards. Being we share a few DNA strands between you and i what does that mean for me... 20 cavities with 7 root canals? Oh yeah i am really excited to go now. now!

7/19/2008 12:37 AM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

Thanks, Railroad Dude... now I'm in trouble with Mom for scaring you. :-)

7/19/2008 9:08 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also sorry... I got nothin' but nice to say for Navy dental. One good story: I was an E-I-owe-you-one or so in A school when I had a filling replaced at Great Mistakes. Somehow I got a full bird dentist! At one point I feel him tap my cheek with one hand, and I realize that my mouth is completely closed on the fingers of his other. He says (nicely), "Son, I don't mind if you sleep, but you will have to keep your mouth open!"

7/21/2008 1:29 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

While stationed at ComSubLant and getting short I decided to get my teeth up to date before being discharged.

I scheduled myself over at NOB and caught a brand new dentist just out of school.

I'm pretty sure he was gay because he kept hinting around for me to come visit him after hours.

He did a decent job on my teeth and the work he did held up as well as any other I've had done.

Never did go visit him at home.

7/25/2008 7:47 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been in the service for about four years now. Had my teeth fixed with braces, the works and wisdom teeth pulled before service, no cavities. My first years in the Navy I had almost no dental checkups, yes I said it, NO DENTAL CHECKUPS. My last cleaning was in A-School and then it was about a year before a "Dental Van", a mobile "I dont know what the fuck I am doing wanna be dental care center" gives a quick overlook of what you have going.

Well needless to say before my second deployment I had a sensative upper left molar so I went in and had it checked out by a civilian dentist I had gone to during my childhood. He mentioned a small cavity was starting and needed drilled, so I go to Uncle Sam and he gets me in to see a full bird who did an exam for a root canal tooth rather than doing the needle prick check to measure tooth decay on a cavity. So he says nothing is wrong and sends me on my way. Almost a year after that I am on X-Mas leave and I go to the dentist because now the tooth is really starting to push my buttons. Guess what, the cavity and almost eaten the entire inside of my tooth by then and it was very close to being a root canal and ended being a $300 out of pocket repair since you have to pretty much suck a @$%! to get the Navy to cover any civ world expense due to them thinking they are the most adv force before God and mankind. Yeah, they may be advanced but in reality, were just tools to them, tools that go without maintenance and when we break down, they just throw us away and recruit a hundred more to take our place.

12/17/2009 12:50 AM

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