Thursday, May 03, 2012

Let's discuss dentists, shall we?

Today was the last exam day of our semester.  This is always a day fraught with either giddy excitement or doomsday dread.  I wore jeans today (with sparkly stuff on the back pockets), in the hopes of tipping the scales toward giddy.

The first thing that happened was that I had a meeting with a student whom I all but called stupid.  Now, I know, I know ... all you goody-goody NON-teachers out there are gasping in horror because you have not fully encountered the full stupidity of humanity.  Bless your hearts.  Here, I'll make you feel better:  She may not be stupid, but she acts stupid (and really: which is worse?).  And don't get me started, but this is why we should not be encouraging EVERYBODY to go to college.  Some people need to lean skilled trades or matriculate through job-training programs so that they can have a steady income in less than a year.  Like the one my hygeinist was telling me about today as she scraped all the enamel from not only my teeth, but also my gums.

I went to the dentist for the sole purpose of having my teeth cleaned and checked.  No x-rays were scheduled, so I was expecting a 30-45 minute appointment.  Why do we humans still try to "expect" things or "plan" or "assume"?  These words should be banned altogether from human thought and language.  They're way worse than slacks.

Hygeinist: "Have you been grinding your teeth?"

Me: "I don't think so, but I used to."  (We have this discussion every six months ...)

H:  "Well, there's lots of evidence of tooth grinding ... your gums are receding, your bottom left eye tooth has now been ground down to a flat surface, and you have broken two ceramic crowns."

Me:  "Um."

H: "I think you need a bite grip.  They're expensive, but it will keep you from ruining your mouth."

(Remember my hope for a day of "giddy excitement" instead of "doomsday dread"?  Add "hope" to the list of ridiculous human words.)

Me: "So, all I need to do is get a tooth grip?"

H: "Bite grip.  You'll need to have one made ... after they replace your crowns, of course, which may be awhile because patients usually like to space those out due to sticker and procedure shock.  You should also reduce your stress.

Me: "Thank you Zen Master. OK."

H: "We'll get you all set up, and don't worry -- I know about the valium."

At this point, I checked out of The Scraping Room and into a Hypnobabies Hypnosis Scenario from one of the pirated CDs that I used to listen to while pregnant with Sam.

Forty-five minutes later, she announces that I need to move to another room to see the doctor.  I do as I'm told, stopping just long enough to call Ms. G the piano teacher and tell her that we're going to be monumentally late.

A few minutes pass.  I'm antsy.  There are drills humming in the background.  I stand up and start looking for reading material.  There is a photo-laden pamphlet about periodontal disease.  I sit back down.

The doctor arrives.  She is sweet as sugar, very clear, and quite liberal with her prescription for valium.  She says that I'm likely going to get TMJ, chronic headaches, gum disease, and braces (again) unless I act NOW to replace my crowns.  She explains the procedure to me.  They will take a wrench and pry out my current crown and then weld another one on top of the metal plate.  (What metal plate?)  All I can hear is drills all around me.  Then she says that her husband is going to be the dentist doing the actual work, not her, because he is faster, and anxious people need fast clinicians.  I think this means she is not confident she is physically strong enough to remove the crown.  I'm also pretty sure she knows I might have a breakdown mid-procedure, and feels she's not emotionally strong enough to deal with that.  Next she helps me out of the chair and whisks me to the front desk where a person named "Edit" (of course I did ... I said, "Like, 'edit' a paper?" to which she quickly retorted, "I'm ARMENIAN, hun.")  printed off an estimate of my charges.

Recently, my husband sold his car on Craigslist.  ONE of my new replacement "teeth" is going to be worth $50 more.  We have dental insurance.

Lessons learned today:
1) sparkly pants pockets don't always tip the balance toward giddy
2) fake teeth are expensive
3) "dentist" starts with "d" just like "doomsday" and "dread"

The End.



1 comment:

The Pace Family said...

Just wanted to shine a little light for you. I grind my teeth as well, not so much now as I did when I was little and there is NO NEED to pay for the expensive bite grip I PROMISE. Go to the store and buy a mouth guard, like football players wear, and boil it and fit that to your teeth. Voila your done and it only cost 10 or so bucks! Even my current dentist told me to do that. He said it was crazy how much they cost and he wasn't about to charge me that for one when I could do this and be just as good :o)