Thursday, October 06, 2005

I Hate Going to the Dentist

Unfortunately, I will be going to the dentist one week from today. My problem has not been clearing up on its own and has passed the point where I can pretend that it is "just nothing." (The details are unpleasant.) Damn, damn, damn, damn, damn. Last time I had that tooth worked on, it cost me $1200. If they need to overhaul it again, I'll be sure to insist that I get to keep the gold.

Probably those of you with perfect teeth and/or a lifetime of good dentists just don't understand why I've let the problem linger for over a month -- or why it's been 2.5 years since I was last at the dentist (for work on this very tooth and the previous incarnations of seemingly the same problems). I find it easiest to blame my childhood dentist, a man who filled my first cavities WITHOUT ANY ANESTHETIC. I was seven years old. (I blame bad genes and GE's Hudson-Mohawk dumping -- studies have linked exposure to PCBs to many of the same tooth problems I have -- for my crappy teeth. Back when lifespans were much shorter, people like me with horrid teeth did not have to deal with annoying recurrent dental problems -- we just died toothless in our 30s and were done with it.) Furthermore, my childhood dentist received most of his training in the Navy. Whatever your opinion of the U.S. Navy, I'm pretty sure that your first thought isn't, "Wow, the Navy is really well known for its outstanding leadership in the field of dentistry."

If I am in a bad mood for the next week, you know why. It's unlikely to improve once I learn which expensive, invasive, and painful treatment is necessary to "solve" my problem. Should we take bets on what the new dentist blames my problems on? Perrenial favorites are: the shoddy workmanship of a previous dentist and my bad bite (the realities of how I cope with it they never believe). Maybe if I'm really lucky, I can once again hear the talk about how the Tom-Cruise-in-2002-style adult braces are the miracle cure that I need.

Are dentists licensed to prescribe Xanax? That would help. A lot.