It all started innocently enough, two years ago.
I had located a new dentist since moving, and booked an appointment to have a tooth checked. It was causing me a little pain when eating hot or cold food-irritating but not life threatening.
I liked him right away. He was a bit younger than me, hip ( or so he thought), and he appeared to know what he was doing. He took some xrays, and told me that I needed a root canal. The filling had deteriorated so badly that the roots were compromised.
WHAT??!! A root canal? I shuddered then, and I actually just shuddered as I am writing this. Brrrr.
I told him no, just give me a new filling, or something else – anything but a root canal. I’d never had one, but I’d also never heard anything good about them either. He advised me that he does it all the time, its merely a bunch of old wives tales and he assured me that everything would be ok. I agreed, albeit with great reservation.
The big day came and I sat in that reclining chair as he worked on my tooth. The sickening scent of cloves lay heavy in the air. Having nothing with which to amuse myself, I found myself oddly drawn to his head, or more precisely, his hair. I noticed he had several grey hairs on the top of his head and found this surprising considering his young age. Maybe it was the drugs, but for some reason, I just couldn’t stop staring at those hairs. I was totally fixated on them. They all seemed to be sprouting from the same follicle! Then,just as i was really getting into the search for more grey hairs, he did the unthinkable. I was helpless in my slack jawed stupor to stop him .
He popped in an Usher CD.
Then, without missing a beat, he starting singing softly as he drilled. ” Yeah, yeah , yeah.. uh huh,.. yeah yeah yeah…uh huh…” I swear to God, he was swinging his hips.
Ok, for the record, getting a root canal is bad enough without having Usher whispered in your ear the entire time.What is this- a disco or a dentist office? I sat, I suffered, and I kept staring at those damn grey hairs on his head.
We were nearly half way done, when he gave me a ‘mouth break’. Just so you know,two hours is a long time to hold your mouth open. I sat up, and he asked me how I was while he was still humming another Usher song. I narrowed my eyes and looked at him. I asked him: ” You like Usher?” and massaged my jaw.
” Oh yeah!! Totally! Don’t you?”
“No”, I told him: ” This is a No-Usher zone, ok? It’s my root canal.” He looked at me funny,as If I were the crazy one, but then he popped out the CD. As I leaned back into the chair again, he asked me what I was looking at while he had been working.
To this day, I still do not know what came over me.
Maybe it was the drugs, maybe it was the Usher torture, but I told him the truth. “Oh, nothing much. I just noticed all the grey hairs on the top of your head. ”
It was classic, I must say. His eyes bugged right out of his head and his mouth dropped open. The assistant covered her face with her hands and laughed her butt off in the corner.
” You. Are. Joking. Me.” he said. ” I have grey hair? No! No! Where? ” He ran out of the room and into the bathroom where apparently he checked his hair. Vain much?
When he came back, he looked slightly traumatized, but continued on as professionally as before, although he was a tad rough this time. He fitted the crown over two appointments and before the second one, the assistant phoned to ask me not to mention his hair again, because he had given grief to everyone since my last visit, asking them over and over if he looked old, or if they noticed any new grey hairs.
He left the practice shortly thereafter and returned to the States,and a few months later I had a walloping infection in the root canal tooth. It abscessed. It wasn’t pretty and it hurt like hell, and guess what?
I had to have another root canal, on the same tooth.
And guess what else?
The other dentist broke a pick off inside the root which could not be retrieved because it was so small. I was freaking out. He kept telling me that this was ok, it happens all the time, and that as long as it filled the tip of the root nothing would happen.
Sure. Well guess what? Something happened.
I developed a small, hard lump on the gum under that tooth. Not painful, but weird, you know? I went back to the dentist ( yes I know I should have found someone else), he took an xray, and says he is stymied. He has no idea what it is. I ask him if it couldn’t be the metal thing he broke off inside the tooth. Nope. He can’t do anything himself, but… he can send me to a root canal specialist. Lucky me.
I went, I listened, and I walked out knowing I would never go back to him again. He tells me that something is wrong( I knew that already,moron, that’s why I’m here) , and that he should do another root canal on it. But, he says, it might not work, and it wont get rid of the funny lump, so then you will need apical surgery. This is where they cut the roots of your tooth off. I could look like I had a stroke if he nicks a nerve or a muscle. (Wow! Lovely! Where do I sign up ? ) That might not work either, so then I would have to pull the tooth out.
See ya. I don’t think so.
So, at this point, even though I have excellent dental insurance, I had already spent about $2000 on an extra root canal and a crown. This new root canal would cost $1200.00, and then a new crown- $1000.00, and so on…. It is ONE tooth!!!
So, two years since the start of this ” Good Tooth Gone Bad” episode, i have nearly reached the closing credits. By the time you read this, I will be in surgery, having the lump removed because occasionally these things turn into cancer or they just make your face really ugly. It’s not nice surgery ( is there such a thing?), and I wont be able to eat for days.Ok, a day or two. AND, I’m told my face and lip may be numb or feel like pins and needles- for a long time, perhaps forever. To top it off,I’m going to look like I went three rounds with Mike Tyson. (Such a hot look for a woman.) Then, I will probably have to have the damn tooth removed, and I am thinking that I should have just done that in the first place.
Nice, just freaking peachy.
And this, my friends, is why you should never insult your dentist when hes working on your root canal.
I ‘ll let you know how it goes in tomorrows Bits and Bites.