Skrip - tyur' - i - ent: adj. Possessing the violent desire to write.


#079 In which our hero is hurt by his tooth.

So, I'm at work. This would be unremarkable, insomuch as that I'm always at work during the week (the generous five days of vacation time I've been granted will be wholly exhausted once the littlest girl appears. And I only have to work here three years to get another week! As if the agency will still be solvent by that time...) but this day, I'm not supposed to be at work, I'm supposed to be recovering from a root canal, daintily sipping ginger ale and watching daytime TV. But not. Here's the deal:

As a child, I didn't take very good care of my teeth. If I could go back in time, I'd shake 10-year-old me and say, "Christ, could you spend more than 30 seconds brushing your teeth?" I have a big mouth full of fillings as a result.

Well, about nine years ago one of my fillings started to hurt. At the time, I was living in Columbus and going to a fantastic dentist that I loved. That's right, I loved my dentist. He was a cool buy and did good work. Since, as an adult, I learned the error of my poor teeth-brushing ways, he never did more to me than a cleaning. Which, I might add, he actually did himself and didn't foister it off to some sadistic lackey. So anyway, I go to my dentist and he tells me that the filling needs replaced.

I opt to go with the new space-age tooth-colored composite filling instead of the old hunk of lead jammed in your tooth. My plan was to gradually replace all my fillings with this stuff; then, when I opened my mouth wide you wouldn't see all the fillings. You might even mistake me for one of those kids that brushed their teeth like they were supposed to.

Flash forward to about three years ago. This tooth (a molar on the lower right side, if you care) starts to bug me again, mostly when I bite on it too hard. I start to eat on the other side of my mouth and ignore the problem. Finally, about a year and a half ago, I can't ignore it any longer. Occasionally I bite down on this tooth and it fucking lights me up.

By this time I'm living in Cleveland and have a new dentist. I ask him about it, and he tells me that the composite materials that were in use just five years ago weren't that great; most likely I have a micro-fissure around the filling that is allowing bacteria and god-knows-what-else to creep inside my tooth and throw a party. Eventually, the tooth will become infected and I'll have to have a root canal. When will this happen, I ask. "You'll know when the time comes," I'm told.

So, a year ago or so, I decide that this finally needs to be done, no more screwing around. The time has come.

However, before I schedule, my wife (the holder of the better family insurance plan) changes jobs. Suddenly, my dentist is no longer in network, so I have to find another one. Bother.

As previously mentioned, I go see my boss's dentist. He tells me that from the X-ray a root canal doesn't seem to be indicated, but he'll do it anyway. But, despite my boss's assurances that his dentist will accept my insurance even though he's not in my network, he won't. Being that I don't want to shell out $600 of my own cash, I have to find another dentist.

I go to the dentist that my wife's HMO makes me go to. Aside: my wife's dental insurance sucks. She works for a hospital, but it's crappy insurance. How the hell does that happen? Anyway, this new guy sees me, tells me that it doesn't look like I need a root canal, but if that's what I want that's what I should get. However, he doesn't do root canals.

Now, this annoys me because when I called his office to schedule, I made it clear that I needed a root canal. Now, I'm sitting in the chair and he's telling me that he will refer me to another dentist that does root canals.

And that's where I go this morning; a little apprehensive, but happy that it'll be done. I get there, he X-rays my mouth, and tells me I don't need a root canal. After fussing around with my molar for a minute, he tells me I have a cracked tooth. Root canals will not help cracked teeth, he tells me. What I need is a permanent crown. Is this something that he can do? Of course not.

He's going to refer me back to the boner that sent me there for a root canal in the first place. Needless to say, I'm not really keen on returning to the dentist that misdiagnosed my problem in the first place. But who knows? Maybe he's just overly cautious, and not an idiot. Or maybe he is.

So now I'm back at work, my tooth still hurts me, and I'm not any closer to getting the damn thing fixed that I was a year ago.

So, yeah, I'm a little salty this morning.


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