Wednesday, November 18, 2009

it's never a good sign when a dentist starts the conversation with "I'm sorry"

For the last month or so, I've had an abrasion on my gum, above my tooth that has a crown due to a root canal. I'll save you the gory details of puss and oozing and cut the chase: I went to see the dentist. He took an xray and confirmed an infection was hiding in my gum. He scribbled a prescription and I was on my merry way.

After a week on the antibiotic (give or take a few days I may have forgotten to take it in Boston, or weakened its effectiveness due to alcohol), it wasn't any better. My dentist suggested I go and visit the endodontist who performed the root canal. I happened to be working from home today on a special project* so I took a jaunt over with my xray in hand.

setting: today, at the doctor's office; i'm in the chair with the paper bib secured around my neck

The doctor comes in and reads my chart, reviews the xray, refers back to my chart, looks at me, checks the xray, forms his lips into a thin line and shakes his head.

DR: "I'm sorry."

KK: "That good, eh?"

DR: "You have a crack. In your tooth. It's not good."

KK: "I know I HAD a crack, that's why we did the root canal. Now I have this fake tooth." I remind him of our history together, in case he forgot.

DR: "Yes, I'm aware. The crack is in the root. Way above the tooth. It's bad. Lots of bacterial infection." He reminds me of his medical degree.

KK: "So...what does that mean?" I imagine it means needles. And blood. And other stuff not covered by insurance.

DR: "It means we have to extract the tooth. I'm sorry."

KK: "Extract it? Like take it out?" I remind myself that I know the definitions of scary words.

DR: "Yes."

KK (slight panic): "And then what?"

DR: "They take out the tooth, then you have options. Smile big."

It's a hard request, given the information he's dealing. I manage to give him a big cheesy grin. I know where this is going.

KK: "You can see it."
I know you can see it when I smile, because you can see the crown that's there in EVERY picture. It's the first thing I see. My "fake tooth" I call it. It's a different color. It drives me NUTS.

DR: "Yes, you can see it. You can get an implant." I have to say, of all the implants I could get, I never thought it would be for a tooth.

KK: "You're not going to do this right NOW, are you???" More panic.

DR: (chuckling) "No. I don't even pull teeth! You'd need to see an oral surgeon."

Oh. Phew.

He goes on to explain that after extraction it has to heal for 6 to 12 months, in which case they could give me a mouthpiece that has one single lonely tooth attached to it that will cover my palate and put a tooth in place.

KK: "Wow. Between that and my night guard, I'll be one sexy mama."

DR: ((blank stare))

KK: "OR, I could just not smile for a whole year."

DR: "OR, you just abridge your smile."

Seems the good doctor knows the definitions of words, too.


*more on that later


Little Ms Blogger said...

Ouch. But I have to admit, I read the title and my first thought was that your doctor from Boston called with last exam results.

I hear toothless is big some place...just think you'll be hot with the above 90 crowd. :-)

Tracey said...

are you gonna be toothless for the big wedding???? who cares about the dress!

FunnyGal KAT said...

Oof, this doesn't sound fun. And I think it's a little weird someone with a medical degree is suggesting you go without a tooth permanently. I can't imagine ever doing that voluntarily!

I have a patch on one of my front teeth and, although everyone assures me it's not noticeable, I zoom right in on it in photos because the color is slightly off from the rest of my tooth. But, I guess it's better than having a big chip in my front tooth.

Tasha said...

Sorry about your tooth. :-(

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