Thursday, October 04, 2007

The Dentist -- AGAIN!

Tomorrow I have the fourth of five dental appointments to fix a broken back molar. The first of August the root canal was performed -- took two appointments to get it completely dead. Then two weeks ago we started the process of building up the back molar for tomorrow's appointment of making the mold which allows the dental student to make the crown.

I told my dentist at the last appointment that if I had had any idea how awful and long and involved this process was going to be I would have pulled the damn tooth. I'm sorry I didn't. I was clearly told that keeping the tooth was in my best interest because without it the top teeth would move around because they would not have any contact below them.

But . . .the cost of this one broken tooth has become excessive -- in terms of money, in terms or time, and in terms of misery and discomfort. The root canal itself was pitiful and ended up causing me a week of misery -- and $500. That's the cost for a molar root canal at the dental school. In a regular dental office I understand the cost is MUCH higher.

The last appointment again involved filling my mouth full of equipment which makes me highly nervous and claustrophobic. I had thought that since the nerves to the tooth were now completely dead due to the root canal I wouldn't need anymore deadening shots. However, because tthe tissue surrounding the tooth was "going to be disturbed" so I got the full multi-shot treatment. This appointment, though, only cost me $88.

Tomorrow I get to fork over the $380 the gold crown is going to cost me. Since every appointment has been so uncomfortable I'm dreading this one. I can't imagine how they could possible "hurt me" anymore than they already have, but dentists seem to be very adept at devising torturous treatments.

Because so much of the tooth had to be built up, I've been required to make three separate appointments for the making and fitting of the crown -- which means that I since this is the dental school and the appointments go from 9 to noon, I have to take the day off from school, also. Adding that in to the money, the pain, and the misery of this whole experience, I would have been far smarter to just have had the tooth pulled. That costs $45 and could be done in thirty minutes.

I told my dental student I was really sorry I hadn't elected to have the tooth extracted and she was horrified. In fact, she has called me twice since then to make sure that I'm not a miserable patience and to ensure that I actually will show up for the next appointment.

Oh, I'll show up alright -- but I won't be happy about being there.

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