I feel a toothache coming on. For those of you who have been with me for a while, you may remember that I have very few natural teeth left in my mouth to cause me pain. (a total of five) Yet, somehow here I am with sharp sensitivity to pressure. RATS!
So, after a hiatus of a decade or so, I am going to take a deep breath and make a call to my dentist. I know the drill. I'll call the office. The line will be busy. I'll listen to some innocuous music for several minutes. It will be interrupted only to remind me that my, "call is important" to them. Eventually a sweet voice will ask what they can do to help me and I'll reluctantly admit I need an appointment to alleviate some minor pain in a lower right anterior. They will "fit me in" in about three and a half weeks by which time my minor pain will feel as if an angry crew of tiny men are trying to jackhammer my existing crowns from my mouth.
When I finally find myself sitting in the chair in Dr. Mackley's office, I will be entertained with his HDTV playing an infomercial about Cerec crowns, porcelain veneers, dental implants, and whitening proceedures that no one's dental insurance covers. These will include dozens of Before and After shots from which it can only be concluded that women become much better at applying makeup after they get veneers.
Dr. Mackley is never all that happy to see me. I'm not a good patient and I never want extra dental work now that I actually have to pay full price for it. Perhaps this would be a good time to mention that I used to work for Dr. Mackley and my dental work was done at no cost. (including six implants. (yes I said 6) Pretty pricey stuff! Anyway, he will inquire about Chandi, who also used to work for his office, about my other children, about my church callings, about our new home, and politely ask me if I need some work done, or if I just dropped by to pick up a new toothbrush. He will then proceed to flick a switch which will bring the interior of my mouth onto his high definition screen.
It's somewhat disconcerting to see my inflamed tooth 18 inches in heighth and in full, raging color. He will then pan artfully from tooth to tooth explaining in great technical detail all of the attention he would like to pay to the crumbling remains of the few teeth I have left. I will try to let him know as clearly as possible why it would not be economically feasible for me to invest our entire life savings on this project. I say that because it is always difficult to speak with any degree of clarity with his hand, his assistant's hand, a dual-suction upright rug-cleaning system, and a 22 piece cordless drill set competing for space in my mouth. "Aast aah aaa caaa aga ah ul at ah caa a ent uh ull" Amazingly enough, he will understand what I say, he will be displeased, and will tell his assistant to type in my chart that I have elected to have no further work done until my teeth rot completely.
He will then spend all of 12 minutes injecting, drilling, filling, grinding and polishing until the pain is relieved, the infection controlled, and the tooth sparkling. His assistant will record the events of the day on my computerized chart and walk me to the front desk where they will present me with a piece of paper detailing the Dr's recommendations for future work. A possible root canal, two crowns, some whitening, replacement of two existing fillings and a thorough cleaning. (On five teeth, mind you) I will be then be asked to make full payment for today's visit. I'm guessing $680.00 or so.
Yup! I know the drill.
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