April 19, 2007

Bad Dental News

I don't normally mind a trip to the dentist and I like having clean teeth. And after The Wife's bad experience recently, I wasn't going to use the dentist she went to (she won't, either) so I went to a different dentist on the advice of one of The Wife's colleagues from work.

When you go to a new dentist, the dentist needs to take X-rays of your teeth and mouth. I understand this, it's part of the process. Taking x-rays is usually uncomfortable but not that big of a deal -- there's this plastic-covered piece something you have to put in your mouth and bite on while you're wearing the lead apron. But this dentist uses a newer digital x-ray camera, and that apparently requires putting into the patient's mouth a plastic-wrapped piece of slate about a quarter-inch thick and maybe forty inches long. "Here, stick this in your mouth and bite, TL. Breathe through your nose!"

Now, bear in mind that I had eaten a tasty lunch of Indian food -- garlic naan and a tandoori chicken in a korma (spicy yogurt) sauce. Taking the x-rays must have taken forty-five minutes because I nearly lost all that yummy Indian food many times. It felt like the dental tech was deliberately trying to induce vomiting by sticking that goddamned thing as far back along my tongue as she could before telling me to bite down and think of Hawaii. Fat chance, perky dental technician, you've never seen a hair-trigger gag reflex like mine before.

The x-rays were completed by having me stand in a kind of a horizontal CAT scan device that looked like something out a science fiction film, biting on a piece of metal (wrapped in Saran wrap) that had been drilled into the wall. Now the Mission: Impossible team can make a vinyl mask of my face.

The result of two hours of this was the conclusion of a young dentist with a surfer-blond haircut that I need two fillings replaced and some extra drilling done, with the replacement to be porcelain replacements that turn out to be ludicrously expensive, all of which is to be done in three weeks or so when it clears the insurance company.

Like I say, normally I don't mind going to the dentist. But this time it really sucked.

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