Tuesday, April 17, 2007

See, now, THIS is why I hate going to the dentist

OK, you probably don’t remember this, but back in February I broke a crown.

I just went to the dentist this morning.

Yes, I am aware of the number of calendar days between then and now.

No, you don’t need to do that math for me.


I’ve got the general idea.


I finally got in for my appointment. So they took their x-rays and did their exam and proclaimed the following: The broken crown is indeed broken; but possibly does not actually need to be replaced. He’s “pretty sure”, but still making that “not quite completely sure” face.

Fortunately (which is really the wrong word here), he discovered in the course of my exam that another tooth, a tooth which had a root canal some years ago, has developed a nasty abscess around one of the roots – it’s kind of hard to miss, when you look at the x-ray. Even I, with my thundering lack of radiological knowledge, looked at the x-ray and said, “Oh my, that looks like an abscess!” (Well, actually, what I said was, “Hey, did you have your thumb over the lens or something? What’s that big black spot there, next to that white thingee?”) (“Um, OK, the ‘white thingee’ is a root, and that big black spot is the infection.” “…oh…{sob, sob}”).

So, I need to see a specialist anyway! Which means he can get a ‘free’ second opinion on the broken crown and whether or not it needs to be replaced!

Uh, yay?

Oddly, that area had been bugging me, but not that much and I just figured it was ‘transference’ pain. You know, it’s actually this other tooth that hurts, but it feels like this one instead? Well, you’ll just have to take my word for it. See, I’ve had four root canals, so I’ve become an expert on that whole thing where you walk in pointing at tooth #29 saying, “It is definitely this one.” And then they take this little ice stick and push on #29 and you don’t feel anything. #30, you don’t feel anything. #31, and BAM! Rocket ship in space. YOWSAH! OK, yeah, heh heh, OK. So, uh, I think we’ve found the busted one…let’s, uh, let’s not do that again. Ever.

Also (and I knew this, I’ve been ‘on watch’ for this particular jewel of dental problems for about five years now) (I just hoped my brand new dentist wouldn’t notice and I’d be able to say, “Ha! I knew that both of my previous dentists were lying!”), I have early stage periodontitis.

Also-also, this is the second dentist to trot out the, “Well, as we age…” explanation as to why, in spite of twice daily (with occasional bursts to three times) brushing and daily flossing PLUS ALSO I use mouthwash, I have sore, bleeding ‘pocketed’ gums. “As we age,” the nice man said.

He has no idea how close he came to living a Monty Python skit.

“I’m thirty-nine.”
“I’m thirty-nine, I’m not old.” (Followed a little later by cries of, “Come and see the violence inherent in the system! Help! Help! I’m being repressed!”)

And I don’t buy it anyway. Because really. I remember the movies from my elementary school days. The toothbrush and floss, partners against decay, capes flowing bravely in the wind. Dun-duh-DAH! It’s Wonder Brush and Flossman, Decay Prevention Patrol!

I expect my toothbrush to Save The Day, people. AND ALSO I FLOSS. Which I believe is supposed to all by itself prevent everything from cavities to nose cancer. And that should include periodontitis, which is a very difficult word to spell. Just so you know.

They gave me two choices: Continue ignoring it in the hopes that continuing to do what already hasn’t worked to reverse it will somehow work this time until it becomes so bad that I need to have ‘pocket depth reduction treatment’ (yeah, it’s as bad as it sounds) done to my whole mouth, or, I can opt for what they call “intensive, targeted cleaning to the two badly affected areas, plus a thorough ‘old school’ cleaning to the rest of the mouth”.

I do not see a ‘win’ in either of those, really. But, since they solemnly swear they can crank up the nitrous oxide for me BEFORE they hit me with the Novocain, I (with a great many hems and haws) agreed to let them scrape the living daylights out of those couple teeth and also clean the rest of them to within an inch of their enameled lives.

Gee, doesn't that just sound like fun-fun-fun? Doesn't it just make you jump up and down in your chair yelling, "Oh, pick me next! Pick me! Pick ME!"?

And then they wonder why it is that I ‘forget’ to call them for an appointment.

Gee. Yeah. I wonder why that would be...


froggiemeanie said...

Yeah, dentistry is a synonym for sadism. I've been having a pain in one of my teeth for a while and last week I went to the dentist. Crazy tooth would NOT HURT while I was there. Got home. Ouch. Nasty.

I remember the tooth superhero days. Remember those pink tablets they gave out in school that you had to chew to see how good a job you did brushing? Or was that just Canada?

ellipsisknits said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ellipsisknits said...

Dentists are bad news. But wow, you actually floss? I thought that got you a get out of jail free card from dentists. I'm going to start using you as my example that doing what your dentist says has absolutely no bearing on having nasty painful things happen to your teeth.
(wish there was an edit option, as opposed to just a delete one) I wanted to add to renee that we had those tablets in Ohio, so they weren't *just* Canada.

marit said...

We had those pink tablets in Norway too:-). As for dentists-I went before Christmas, had 4(minor) cavities-and hadn't been to see a dentist for 13 years...they are not my favourites,LOL.

Dysd Housewife said...

You and I are clearly racing for the "let's see who's teeth fall out first" prize. I have actually had a RE-root canal. Yeah. They don't tell you that eventually you may have to have it REDONE. Some only last about ten years or so, due to the whole gum receeding/age thing. and then you get to do it AGAIN. I guess the second time isn't so bad, since they already did the FUN stuff i.e. drilling-scraping-digging the first time around. Enjoy :)

Stephanie said...

My mother, who can go to the dentist 6 months and 2 minutes after her previous appointment and come home needing a root canal or two, just switched to the nifty new "sedation dentistry" thing. She is happy with it. Better living through drugs!

(My father, dear wonderful man that he is, passed on his teeth to me. He goes to the dentist after a 8 year absence and hears "hmm... you definitely need a cleaning." Have I mentioned how much I love the man?)

Amy Lane said...

I'm running for the sensodyne as I type... *shudder* ooohhhh the pain...

Jen said...

I really shouldn't have read this. Dentists creep me out in the worst way - not that they do personally -just what they do for a living. I could watch the scariest, goriest movie, get 5 creepy prank phone calls from someone claiming to be watching my house - at 2 a.m. right after hearing something crash to the floor in another room, no less - and STILL not be as creeped out as I am by dentists and what they'll do to my teeth.

Anonymous said...

ohhh - I feel your pain! 4 root canals, gum scaling, deep pocket cleaning 4x year (complete with novecane) plus bone grafts!

Christi said...

So they're talking about "root planing & scaling" or something similar? Been there, done that. Still going for cleaning 4x a year.

The heavy-duty cleaning took two visits, since they only did 1/2 the teeth at once. (So you have half a mouth un-painful enough to eat with the next day.) I got novocaine but no gas, and should have taken some ibuprofen beforehand, because it wasn't fun.

And my dentist still isn't overjoyed with me. I was cavity-free last month, but he basically said it was dumb luck since I don't floss often enough. He's a great dentist, though, and I don't just say that because he gives me diazepam before he drills.

I'm going to go floss now.