I'm going to murder my dentist
I've had an intense toothache since last weekend, which came on suddenly. I was sure I'd cracked a filling.
I showed up yesterday afternoon at 4 for my appointment, only to be told that my appointment had actually been for 3 and that I'd have to reschedule.
Let me tell you a little about how I handle making appointments... I have the memory of a 95 year old man with a brain injury, so I write EVERYTHING down. While I was still on the phone with the receptionist earlier this week, I was writing. 4 o'clock on Thursday. I have it written on the steno pad on my desk. I entered it into my Google calendar. I wrote it on my desk at home.
SO, I rescheduled for 8:30 this morning since they couldn't see me, owing to my horrific lateness. I was chided that I 'had better be on time, because [I was] going to be his first patient'.
So I showed up this morning at 8:15 and enjoyed the hospitality of the waiting room for 45 minutes while I filled out a questionairre with no less than (I'm not making this up) 137 questions about my health and other things tangentially related to my health like what my street was paved with (ok I made THAT up.)
Then the hygienist invited me in so that she could cram a plastic apparatus the size of a Volkswagen in my mouth and take an X-ray. This was followed by 30 more minutes of waiting for the dentist, only this time I was in an exam chair with no questionairre for entertainment. There was gospel music playing softly over the PA system (The Lord is good, God is great, Jesus Jesus Lord Lord etc) I was inclined to agree: "Jesus Christ what's taking so long?"
So the dentist finally came in and poked around with a barbed hook for 5 or 10 minutes before announcing that he can't find anything broken, chipped, or otherwise with the tooth, but that there was a 'small' cavity he could clean out for me. He had no idea why my tooth was in such pain, but asked if he should fill the tiny cavity. I told him sure why not.
He got out his nifty air-abrasian tool which is sort of like a miniature sand-blaster, and went to town for a while, stopping to exclaim "Gee that cavity is deeper than I thought."
We moved on to the actual drill. He ground away at my tooth some more, then announced "I've found another cavity here" and ground some more. From my vantage, wearing safety goggles, I coud see tooth particulate flying out of my mouth at an astonishing rate.
Now he asked whether I'd prefer white or silver fillings. I told him that I thought they didn't even DO silver filling any more, and weren't they in the same manual with leeches?
He switched to ANOTHER drill with a coarser head that causes my entire skull to vibrate, and jackhammered on my teeth some more. The drill CONSTANTLY got bound up in my tooth, to which the dentist would react by WRENCHING THE DRILL BACK AND FORTH UNTIL IT WAS FREE. This continued for some time.
Now, I don't know if you've ever had a white filling done, but these were my first. The dentist began to apply the material at intervals, stopping every so often so that the hygienist could shove a HAIR DRYER with a UV light on the end of it into my mouth to harden the material as he worked.
Then, inexplicably, it was back to the drill. I suppose this was to clean excess hardened filling from the tooth and to smooth everything out, but I can only guess. I would swear to you that my tooth is shaped significantly differently than it was when he began. It seems much smaller and much more round on one side.
It hurts about 50 times as much as when I went in. The bill was $60 after insurance. Now instead of my tooth hurting every time I drink, it hurts constantly, throbbing without provocation. I've taken so much Advil that I think I'm legally intoxicated.
I've been going to this guy for 20 years, but I feel like I've just been raped. 90 minutes and almost as many dollars and I'm worse off than I started.
March 9th, 2007 12:08pm
"137 questions about my health and other things tangentially related to my health like what my street was paved with (ok I made THAT up.) "
"Now he asked whether I'd prefer white or silver fillings. I told him that I thought they didn't even DO silver filling any more, and weren't they in the same manual with leeches?"
March 9th, 2007 12:13pm
Don't kill him; feel sorry for him:
"Among modern dentists who are exposed to mercury amalgam and vapor on a daily basis, no evidence of mercury poisoning has been demonstrated. Some studies have indicated that mercury from amalgams affect some dentists mildly. Dentists in several large-scale studies performed multiple cognitive and behavioural tests and, compared to a normal population, lagged behind in many areas. In one study this included 14% worse scores in memory, co-ordination, motor speed and concentration"
March 9th, 2007 12:29pm
"compared to a normal population, lagged behind in many areas. In one study this included 14% worse scores in memory, co-ordination, motor speed and concentration"
naturally, this could be why they are dentists in the first place.
March 9th, 2007 12:31pm
At the very least it might explain my morning.
March 9th, 2007 12:31pm
Picking a dentist is very important; they all have different techniques and very different levels of technology. I just recently started going to the dentist again (health coverage) and we just randomly picked a dentist office in mall. The place is insanely high-tech. They have low-power computerized X-rays. They have TV's mounted in the ceilings. They've got everything. I had all my wisdom teeth pulled and it was a totally painless experience and my recovery was really quick.
You've been going to the same dentist for 20 years -- maybe it's time to shop around.
March 9th, 2007 12:31pm
I can give you a free dental care.
I do it the in the traditional way.
I pull out the bad teeth.
March 9th, 2007 12:32pm
This guy has all the new toys, Wayne. Today I think he was just having a bad morning or something. Usually personable, his demeanor today was indifferent and he seemed genuinely confused about the source of my pain, which wasn't encouraging.
But they have the computerized x-rays, the air-abrasion drill, and all sorts of shit. No TV in the ceiling, though.
March 9th, 2007 12:34pm
muppet, what is the air-abrasion drill?
March 9th, 2007 12:37pm
It's a tool that focuses a stream of microscopic sand (or whatever) at your tooth rather than using a drill bit. It's basically a miniature, highly focused sandblaster.
March 9th, 2007 12:39pm
Heh. The TV in the ceiling sells it. ;)
Unfortunately, doctors and dentists can have bad days -- and that can really suck for the rest of us.
The only interesting dentist story I know is from my Dad. He went in for a cavity and the drill bit exploded in his mouth. He didn't feel it because of the freezing; he just heard the pop. The dentist then calmly called the receptionist and told her to cancel the rest of his appointments, took another X-ray, and then spent over and hour digging out all the little pieces of the drill bit.
March 9th, 2007 12:40pm
The white fillings cost more, so they offer the metal-mouth fillings for the porpoises or those with bad insurance.
They are amazing though -- it's like playdough that he goops in, and then the UV makes it go ridiculously hard. And yeah, he's shaping your bite after it hardens (didn't you have to intermittently bite on abrasion things that showed the relative bite?)
March 9th, 2007 12:42pm
>(didn't you have to intermittently bite on abrasion things that showed the relative bite?)
Yep. Did that.
So at least now I know what he was doing.
But damn, my fucking mouth HURTS. I feel worse now than before I went, which may be temporary according to the hygienist I just spoke to, but at the moment it's pissing me off.
March 9th, 2007 12:45pm
My dentist makes wood fillings. They are awesome.
March 9th, 2007 1:18pm
Why didn't you ask for a prescription for some Tylenol-3? Or some other codeine-filled goodie? Most dentists here seem quite happy to give these...
But, as I'm sure you know, don't trust dentists when it comes to anti-biotics. They'll prescribe those super-duper ones that will play havoc w/ your guts.
March 9th, 2007 1:24pm
Because I'd rather fix the problem than mask it with opiates?
I think you're being a little too hard on opiates man...
March 9th, 2007 4:03pm
Referred pain in teeth can be tricky. I went to the dentist once after being awake all night in agony with toothache. He said "where does it hurt?" so I touched the tooth and said "this one".
"Are you sure it's that one?"
"Yes, that's where the pain is coming from."
"Hmmm," he said.
After doing lots of testing with prodding, cold air, freezing ether, x-rays and so forth, he said "the tooth you pointed to looks perfectly healthy, but this one in your other jaw doesn't look too good. I propose we assume it's really that one and go exploring with the drill.
He was right, there was inflamation in the nerve cavity and I needed an eventual root canal treatment. Good job he didn't drill the good tooth.
March 9th, 2007 4:27pm
Well, he's not much of a dentist if he can't figure that part out.
March 9th, 2007 5:13pm