These are the thoughts of a Texas transplant in West Michigan who makes his living as a newspaper reporter by evening, and a struggling novelist by day.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

the dentist

where's tim conway and harvey corman when you need them?

this morning i went for my first dentist's visit in more than five years. yes, i am ashamed of that. we've had insurance but never made the time. but i've been having trouble with a wisdom tooth in my lower left side, so i figured it was time to go check it out.

krista gave me a ride over to the dentist that most people at the office seem to go see. addme to the list.

i was nervous as can be. as we neared the place, stopped, parked, and started walking in, my heart beat faster and faster. it's never like this when i see the doctor, though.

we sit down as i'm waiting to be called in and krista says, "there's that familiar smell." yes, there it was hanging in the air. it's smell of clean, antiseptic. i think all dentists' offices have that same smell.

then you hear the familiar sounds of machinery coming from the back. you get the thing that is smooth at the end that polishes, the metal rod with a hooked end that cuts away at the crud embedded in your teeth, the sucking machine that clears away all of the excess saliva that forms in the mouth while work's being done in there.

as i'm sitting there, i hear and smell these things and it's just not getting any better. i'm getting more nervous. then i'm called in.

the woman who helped me out was very nice, she took the initial x-rays. it all came back to me. they're these small wedge-shaped cardboard things you bite down on and it really jams right into the tender part of your mouth. yep, just like when i was a kid. it all came back to me.

the dentist came in. i got the younger of the two (the son). very nice guy. very talkative, friendly and it turns out he's one year and two days older than me.

after looking at the x-rays he determined that yes that tooth was a problem. it was embedded and pushing up against the one in front of it. and it was being hollowed ou. he explained that further decay would cause it rot out and the decay would go into the jaw. i don't want that, of course.

he found about five cavities, one is where the impacted (not embedded) tooth is. another is where a current filling is falling apart. my gumline is fine, except where that tooth is impacted. he poked at the gumline where the teeth meet it. love the gentle prods.

and so as i lay there staring up at the bright light over my head, mouth open, metal things poking around, i did feel my heart slow down. i finally relaxed. though, it took quite awhile.

i've always been nervous while at the dentist. i've never really had bad experiences there. i think i just get claustrophobic because i'm in the chair, can't move, and i've got my mouth open. i can't barely swallow saliva.

and so i am set up for an early morning appointment next week to get cleaning and some fillings put in. i'm also scheduled for a tooth extraction on june 25. yippee!!

i wil say this, i'm glad we've got insurance. whle we have to pay a portion of the cost, i'm glad we don't have to pay the total cost: $939. how's that for ya?

i wish this had been a carol burnett sketch so i could be laughing right now instead of crying. heh heh


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bad teeth seem to run in The Sentinel!

Since Tim Conway's not around, try Bill Cosby.

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