It's all a matter of perspective.

Tuesday, July 30, 2002

My purpose for going to the dentist yesterday was to have crowns put on four teeth. The outcome of my trip to the dentist was something for more sinister.

Now first I must disclose my ignorance. I hate going to the dentist (Don’t we all) and therefore put off all dental work, including the six month cleaning. I am neither irrational nor grotesque; I brush and floss my teeth meticulously to try and insure that I do not need any extra work. Unfortunately, my stressful life and addiction to uppers has led me to the regrettable habit of grinding my teeth at night. Through years of this eroding action I have removed all enamel from the back side of my front four upper teeth. They have degraded to the point where they are translucent. The dentist informed me crowns were my only option, and quickly.

Here is what I know about crowning teeth: absolutely nothing. I have never had it done, read about having it done, talked with someone who had it done, or even cared.

Here is what the dentist told me about crowning teeth: I need to have it done, and it will be expensive. I asked if he was going to screw up my bite and he promised me he would not.

So I went in yesterday and climbed into the lab chair. They took impressions of my upper and lower teeth with something like pink biscuit dough that hardened in about twenty seconds. Then my dishonest butcher of a dentist came in with a big freaking hypodermic needle and went to pumping local anesthetic into my face. I took four shots way up under my upper lip and one right smack in the middle of the roof of my mouth. I could not feel my mouth, my nose, or the better part of the rest of my head.

At this point the dentist says, “I am going to go take care of something. While I am out, I will let Lady Horowitz (not her real name) come in and talk to you about payment options. Stunned from the abuse of my face, I could only say OK.

So the leech lady comes in, sits across from me, and says, “OK Nathan, the way that we usually do this is you pay for half of your crowns when you have the temporary ones put on, and the other half when you came back to have the permanent ones put on.”

And I replied, “Gee, I did not realize this was a two visit sort of procedure.”

And Theifella says, “Yes, you have temporary crowns put on, they order the permanent ones, and you come back in two weeks and three days.”

“Hmm.” I was starting to freak out a little. “I will be on vacation on the beach in two weeks and three days.”

And with that, Money-Grubber goes into the other room to inform Old Chainsaw Needle about the recent developments. After a few minutes, Dr. Ruin-your-day comes in and says, “Nathan, where are you going on this vacation?”

Growing quite put out, I mumbled through numb slobbery lips, “I don’t see how that is relevant, or any of your business.”

And he replied, “Well I would hate for you to get to wherever you are going and have one of those temporary crowns come off. I would rather reschedule and have to numb you again than ruin you vacation.”

With that, I went and got in the truck and drove home. I face stayed numb for four hours. I was unable to eat dinner until 9:00. When the anesthetic wore off, my face started to throb. I think the quack put the shots in with a jackhammer. My attitude about going to the dentist has not improved.

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