Princess Tooth Revisited

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business, care, chairThe last time I wrote of my teeth, I had a temporary crown on my farthest back lower right molar. (That’s tooth #31, for those of you who keep track.) (That’s also the tooth I call my Princess Tooth, since it wears a crown.) I was waiting for the permanent crown to be constructed so the dentist could cement it in my mouth.

On the morning of the day of my put-the-crown-in dental appointment, I was eating cereal for breakfast. I felt a crack and ended up spitting half of the temporary crown into my hand. I immediately called the dentist’s office and was told to come in at 10:30 in the morning instead of 2:30 in the afternoon.

I was so ready to be finished with all this dental business. I was ready to be finished spending large sums of money. I was certainly ready to be finished with the mouth pain.

It was apparent that the office manager had not told the dentist that the temporary crown had cracked in two and detached from my tooth. Both the dentist and her assistant were surprised when they looked at my tooth. Hey folks, I wanted to shout, ever hear of the concept of communication?

With the old temp crown out, we began the tedious process of adjusting the permanent crown. The dentist would pop it out of my mouth, do some work on it (grinding? buffing?) then put it back in place in hopes that now my left back teeth touched. In and out. In and out. The good part of this process was that I didn’t feel any pain.

Then they were moving me into an upright position while the assistant said she was going to take an x-ray. That seemed a little weird, but whatever. I figured they knew what they were doing.

After several minutes, the dentist came in and announced that I had an abscess. An abscess? I realized at that moment that I wasn’t exactly sure what that meant.

An abscess? I asked her. Like an infection?

(An abscess is “a confined pocket of pus that collects in tissues, organs, or spaces inside the body.” EEEEEWWWW!!!! That is so gross!)

Yes, she said, an infection. Then she said she was going to give me antibiotics. (Have you ever noticed that medical professionals often say they are going to “give” some sort of medication, but what they actually mean is that they are going to give you a prescription so you can trot the piece of paper on down to the pharmacy and then pay for the actual drugs?)

It was at about that point that I made a comment about not having any money left.

Then the dentist told her assistant to get me a referral and the assistant asked what the referral was for. The dentist said one word: Endo. (Meaning endodontist, a dentist concerned with the study and treatment of the dental pulp, not as defined by the Urban Dictionary “the bottom tips of the marijuana plant that accumulate the most resin and crystals after being hung to dry.”)

The dentist then told me, guess what, I do need a root canal after all.

(Ok, the dentist was more professional than that. She’s very nice. But she also was talking from behind my head. She never came over and looked me in the eye and explained everything to me.)

And I started crying. Not sobbing. Just tears leaking out of my eyes and dripping into my ears. (Oh, yeah, I was in the dental-chair-tilted-back position again.) I felt very overwhelmed and frustrated. On top of the other complications in my life, I had just been told that the insufficient amount of money I still had was pretty soon going to be zero money. So I was crying.

And then the dentist realized I was crying and said, Are you crying? What surprises me is that so few people burst into tears upon hearing bad dental news that the dentist was surprised at my tears.

When I left, the dentist gave me not only the referral to the endodontist, but also the card of a regular dentist who does root canals. I think she was telling me the dentist might hook me up for a lower than normal price, but I’m unsure. She also gave me the x-ray they’d just taken so I could let the possible bargain dentist see for him/herself exactly what was going on.

Then I went to Wal-Mart to get my prescription filled. Have you tried to navigate a large Wal-Mart pharmacy? There are multiple windows and you can’t see the drop-off window from the pick-up area. I was in the wrong place and didn’t understand for a moment where I was supposed to go. (I saw another woman have the same experience, so I think the flaw is with Wal-Mart’s system, not me.) The good news is that the antibiotics only cost me $4. The bad news is that it took an hour to get the prescription filled.

It was raining outside and I didn’t want to walk back out to the van, so I wandered aimlessly through Wal-Mart for 50 dragging minutes.

I messed around on the laptop all afternoon while the Lady of the House napped on the couch, but finally forced myself to call the possible bargain dentist around 4:30. They want me to “drop by” their office (fifteen miles from where I am staying) tomorrow with the x-ray so they can take a look at it and tell me how much they will charge for my root canal.

So now I have a $900 crown and a pocket of pus in my mouth. Apparently the antibiotics are going to help fight the infection, but I still need the root canal in order for my mouth to heal. I guess if I don’t have the root canal, I could lose the tooth in which I’ve invested so much money.

I should have had the fucker pulled in the first place.

About Blaize Sun

My name is Blaize Sun. Maybe that's the name my family gave me; maybe it's not. In any case, that's the name I'm using here and now. I've been a rubber tramp for nearly a decade.I like to see places I've never seen before, and I like to visit the places I love again and again. For most of my years on the road, my primary residence was my van. For almost half of the time I was a van dweller, I was going it alone. Now my (male) partner and I (a woman) have a travel trailer we can pull with our truck. We have a little piece of property, and when we're not traveling, we park our little camper there. I was a work camper in a remote National Forest recreation area on a mountain for four seasons. I was a camp host and parking lot attendant for two seasons and wrote a book about my experiences called Confessions of a Work Camper: Tales from the Woods. During the last two seasons as a work camper on that mountain, I was a clerk in a campground store. I'm also a house and pet sitter, and I pick up odd jobs when I can. I'm primarily a writer, but I also create beautiful little collages; hand make hemp jewelry and warm, colorful winter hats; and use my creative and artistic skills to decorate my life and brighten the lives of others. My goal (for my writing and my life) is to be real. I don't like fake, and I don't want to share fake. I want to share my authentic thoughts and feelings. I want to give others space and permission to share their authentic selves. Sometimes I think the best way to support others is to leave them alone and allow them to be. I am more than just a rubber tramp artist. I'm fat. I'm funny. I'm flawed. I try to be kind. I'm often grouchy. I am awed by the stars in the dark desert night. I hope my writing moves people. If my writing makes someone laugh or cry or feel angry or happy or troubled or comforted, I have done my job. If my writing makes someone think and question and try a little harder, I've done my job. If my writing opens a door for someone, changes a life, I have done my job well. I hope you enjoy my blog posts, my word and pictures, the work I've done to express myself in a way others will understand. I hope you appreciate the time and energy I put into each post. I hope you will click the like button each time you like what you have read. I hope you will share posts with the people in your life. I hope you'll leave a comment and share your authentic self with me and this blog's other readers. Thank you for reading.  A writer without readers is very sad indeed.

4 Responses »

  1. Maggie, I know you are too much of a lady to even write a off-color word, but I curse like a sailor, so feel free to say whatever you like about the dental industry!

    Stay tuned for another installment of Dental Disaster on Friday.

    In any case, I am feeling more positive about the situation, even though the cost is outrageous. I cry when I need to, but it doesn’t really help, so I try to stay as upbeat and positive as possible.

    Thanks for the encouragement. I appreciate you!

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