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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Help, I'm Decaying!

What a Terrible Horrible No-Good Very Bad Day!

Since I no longer live in my hometown in California, a few months ago I decided it was about time to find a dentist out here in Mass. I had my first appointment a month ago; it was just a cleaning. For some reason they couldn't take x-rays that day or have the dentist see me, so I had to go back today for those things. At my cleaning last month the hygienist told me I had perfect teeth and had taken very good care of them, so I wasn't too concerned about my appointment today. I brush 2-3 times a day, and I floss and rinse with mouthwash every night.

The hygienist took the x-rays, and then the dentist came in to meet me. He said something that I swear sounded like, "Hi Sawah, how aw you?" in a very high-pitched voice. (I decided he was either gay, a big fan of Elmo, or suffering from a tragic speech impediment.)

He looked at the x-rays, and when I asked what the small tooth was in the back, I was told it was a wisdom tooth. I said, "I hope not, since I had all my wisdom teeth removed six years ago," but the dentist was quite certain about it. Apparently I have a small extra one. The dentist told me this is a common scenario with sharks, so at least I'm in good company.

Then the dentist told me that I have like a hundred million spots of decay in between my teeth.

And I found out that it will cost us our souls and our firstborn child to address the problem.

And I told him this couldn't be happening because I take such good care of my teeth.

And he shrugged and said I should try flossing twice a day instead of once a day.

Then he charged me a million dollars for a tiny piece of plastic that fits over my two front teeth and will prevent me from continuing in my well-beloved habit of insanely intense grinding in my sleep. This mouth guard doesn't extend over all the teeth, but just covers the upper incisors, with a small piece creating a gap between the upper and lower teeth. Now when I grind, all the pressure that would have been spread out over my entire jaw is pressed directly on my lower incisors, which apparently someone thought would be a good idea. The dentist claims the discomfort on my two lower teeth will teach me to stop grinding. I say if there were any rational response to discomfort involved in this I would have stopped grinding years ago, since it gives me a sore jaw and a headache to wake up to every morning.

Then the terrible appointment was finally over and I went out to my car and called my husband and promptly began bawling my eyes out. I think the conversation went something like this:

"I'm sorry, I'm so sorry, I have a million places that are decaying between my teeth, I'm sorry, it's going to be expensive, I'm sorry, how can this be happening to me, I take good care of my teeth, why is everything always wrong with me no matter how hard I try to be healthy, why does everything always go wrong for me, but you're always healthy even thought you eat junk food and don't brush as long as I do and never floss, and I eat healthily but I'm the one with headaches and constant fatigue and I'm obese and I never feel good and now apparently I have a million spots rotting away in this hell hole of my mouth, I'm a terrible person, I'm so sorry, I'm like a dead weight chained to your ankle dragging you down in life..."

To which FavoriteBoy kindly replied, "You're not a dead weight! You're a live, kicking, writhing weight!"

(He always knows how to say the right thing!)

Later I called my Mommy and she suggested I get a second opinion, because apparently once upon a time my sister Emily was told by a dentist that she had 18 cavities! But when she went to our dentist back home he said there were actually only like two or something. FavoriteBoy agrees that a second opinion would be good. Now we just need to figure out who I should go to for this second opinion.

The rest of the day has been just terrible, because whenever I cry I reap some pretty nasty consequences: My eyelids get red and puffy and stay that way for at least 8 hours, I get a splitting headache, and my stomach gets upset for some reason. In short, I look dreadful and feel even worse.

All of this is pretty good incentive for me to avoid crying, but occasionally I forget, like when a dentist who vaguely reminds me of a homosexual Elmo tells me I'm practically dying of cavities.

What a wretched day.

6 comments:

  1. Wretched indeed, but rendered hilariously.

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  2. Oh Sarah, you're so good at making awful things sound funny. :)

    DEFINITELY, DEFINITELY, DEFINITELY get a second opinion. Maybe a third, if you don't know any dentists in the area. (Can you get a recommendation from a friend?) I firmly believe that there are dentists out there who are either so incompetent as to be dangerous, or else downright fraudulent.

    Get a copy of your xrays. You paid for them, and they are required to give you a copy (try to get the originals, but they don't have to give you those). Then take the copy with you to your next dentist. Or send it to Dr. Baumann (that's what I did.)

    Oh, and your crying jag to Nathan? I did the exact same thing when I got my awful million cavity diagnosis. :)

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  3. melissa1:35 PM

    Poor Sarah.

    I have an amazing dentist I love, but I usually have cavities even though I take good care of my teeth. All part of life not being fair. If you want, I can try to find you his number (I haven't been since I lost dental insurance, uh oh), but I do know he moved his office to Chestnut Hill, which is pretty far. My favorite thing about him is that he always remembers details about my life even when I only see him once every (ahem) two years or so. Like, he'll walk in and say, how are your feet? how's music? Makes me feel good even he just happened to make a note in my file or something.

    I miss you! When do I get to see you and your horrible, cavity-infested mouth?

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  4. Oh, poor Sarah! Perhaps some good news though - I was an intense clencher-grinder who always woke up with a sore jaw and a tension headache, but then I got an appliance like what you described to fit over my front teeth. It actually does work, at least for me. I don't clench at all. That (along with a new eye prescription and Winsor-Pilates) has almost eradicated my chronic headaches!

    I'll pray that it works as well for you, and that your second opinion will bring better news about the so-called decay.

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  5. Poor Sarah!

    Your dentist might be wrong - I DID actually have 17 cavities, BUT I don't really floss, like, at all (I know, bad me). Also, I had undiagnosed diabetes for like, five years, and all the sugar in my saliva was eating away at my teeth (see?? Not so much my fault!).

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  6. Anonymous11:04 PM

    Hang in there Sarah! Going to the dentist is the least favorite thing on my list too! And, regarding that fifth wisdom tooth -- that might run in the extended family. David had six of them! And had all six removed at one time. And that was after having a dozen baby teeth removed that didn't come out on their own -- so he could wear braces for several years!

    Aunt Susan

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