25 April 2006

I Went to the Dentist and All I Got Was a Lousy Tooth Towel

I used to be very afraid of the dentist. So much so, that I neglected to go for years. I think I was scarred from my childhood dentist. His breath smelled of corn chips and he seemed like a sweaty fellow. I recall, not with fondness, one trip to the dentist where he was working inches away from my face while the radio played “I Like a Man with a Slow Hand”. I still get shivers thinking about that, for all the wrong reasons.

I used to cry every time I was taken to the dentist. Growing up, I fought back the tears as well. To be completely honest with you, even as an adult I still want to cry whenever I visit the dentist. That part reminds me of being a child. However, the reasons for crying are much more “adult” now. I do not cry in honour of the potential pain. I cry for the bill at the end of each wonderful visit. Today was no exception.

Before I go on to tell you about today, I will tell you about recent experiences in regards to going to the dentist. A few years back I finally worked up the courage to see a dentist in my hometown. After damn near hyperventilating and having a panic attack in the chair, I was fine. It still wasn’t my ideal of fun, but I got over it and I was proud. We had an action plan for my teeth and I spent a lot of my own hard earned money (no insurance) getting my teeth fixed up. I won’t get into the part of having the nastiest abscess that made my cheek swell up like a balloon. Let’s just say, even the hygienist was mortified.

Needless to say, I spent a lot of bling on my teefs. I eventually got a job downtown and changed dentists due to convenience. This dentist was great! He looked and sounded like Ned Flanders and gave me a mall discount. His work was not shabby either. He ended up rebuilding a certain tooth in my mouth and warned me, there could be eventual problems with it.

Months after moving to Montreal, I have terrible wisdom teeth pain. I go to see a very experienced, high falooting dentist - the one I saw today. We have a consultation, complete with a wacky mouth camera which I see my teeth on a monitor. Sounds wacky, right? Well, no. At that moment, I discover something. Either my teeth are rotting at an amazing and spectacular rate – or the dentist in my hometown royally screwed me over in terms of professional work. I think the latter. So current dentist points out all the work to be done and asks me, “How does this make you feel?”

I blubbered, “It makes me sad.” I almost cried that day. I probably did when I got home.

Armed with a new action plan for my teeth (which includes a night mouth guard because I’ve suffered damaged and get headaches from grinding and clenching my teeth at night), I go home and realize that I am sadly unemployed. I don’t look at the sheet for a while because I know I cannot afford all that needs to be done.

And that brings us up to today. My teeth are hurting again. This time, the tooth Ned Flanders warned me about. I go in for a cleaning/exam at current dentist’s office. Everything is going fine. I’m relaxed. My hygienist is this gothic looking girl with a lip piercing. Everything is A-OK. Then the dentist comes in and ruins it all, with his all-knowing dentist ways. Boo.

On the semi-dark bright side, I have no more new work that needs to be done in my mouth (by the dentist I mean, bah-ha). My teeth barely had any tartar or build-up, which is good because I haven’t had a cleaning in while. For a parting gift, I received a tooth brush, the most wicked dental floss in the world (that I have been too cheap to buy recently), a miniature tube of toothpaste and a “tooth towel”. For a bonus, a little front desk receptionist cleavage. Ha ha.

On the grim and pitch black side, I need a root canal and received a pleasant lecture from the dentist about taking care of your teeth right away. Then he compared what price it could have been compared to now. Thanks, dentist. I really needed to know that. Ned Flanders would have broke it to me gently. And this was the exact moment when I wanted to cry in the dentist chair.

The verdict is that I need a root canal. It’s recommended that I get a crown, to insure the safety of this tooth for the years to come.

Price tag, according to my dentist - $2000.

Honest to God, how does one act “normal” when they hear that ONE tooth will cost them $2000. I tried, but I think I failed. I pretty much looked like I swallowed a handful of glass shards and rusty nails. I could do A LOT with $2000, I thought then and still thinking now. And believe me; it wouldn’t include spending money on one tooth. Sweet baby Jesus, I could send me and my disgruntled to Las fucking Vegas with that money. Me and my disgruntled tooth could “find ourselves”, while backpacking in Europe with that money. That sweet, sweet money that I do not have. SIGH. I wonder if they have a plan where they can just knock my tooth out and give me a supply of freaking Chiclets to jam up my gums. Fuck.

Yeah, I’m making jokes but this worries me. I do not have the money for this at all. I know, obviously, that there are people in worse shape than me and I shouldn’t complain. Count my blessings. Well, I don’t exactly have two thousand blessings to count and it stresses me out. At a time I felt that perhaps I could finally get a bit ahead and have myself some savings for the future and fun stuff and maybe even a new living space in time – I feel kicked back down again, in terms of money. Makes me wish I was a kid again.

I’m calling another guy tomorrow to get a second opinion on this tooth. I know it will be expensive but anything less (but not too cheap, meaning done in some sketchy back alley) than $2000 will be helpful on ye olde bare wallet.

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