Friday, August 13, 2010

Venturing out on a Dental Adventure

That's right, I said "Dental Adventure".  Sure wish I would have said "Disneyland Adventure" or anything more fun than a dental adventure, but it's time for me to face the fact that I do own teeth and they need occasional care. I'm bucking up, putting on my brave face and going to the dentist.

I took the girls to a babysitter and headed over to the torture chamber.  After twirling around and around the strip mall where I thought the dentist's office was, I tried another one, and another.... found it!  Got to my appointment 20 minutes late.  They said that was ok, just sign in.

I actually had two appointments, one at 10:30 for an orthodontic consultation and the next appointment at 11:30 for something I wasn't clear about on the dental side. 

I didn't wait long, and then they called me back to the Orthodontic room.  Lots of chairs all in one room, kind of weird, but whatever.  The dentist came over and looked at my teeth, had me bite, open, bite, open... and then he made some notes and dished out the news. Bad news:  My teeth are crooked.  That was hardly news to me! 

Then I went to the office to discuss the cost and payment plan for orthodontic work. If I get braces to correct my bite and straighten 'em up it will cost $3800.  I about crapped!!!  That is $1200 LESS than what it cost to put Katie in braces when she was 13 yrs old.  Why is everything (except salaries) so much more expensive in South Dakota than it is in California?  My insurance, which I was told is amazing coverage, will toss in $1500 leaving me with the balance. She thinks I'm having sticker shock, and I am but not like she thinks so I just keep that little tidbit to myself for now.  So, the question is... Do I want clear (nearly clear) or metal with colorful rubber bands?  Hmmmm...  Colorful would be fun.  Clear might be more mature.  I have to think about that.

 Time to go to the dental side of the office. I had to go back to the waiting room and sign in again, then right back down the hall to the room across the hall from where I just came from.  I guess the jog up and down the hallway was good for me even though I thought it was kind of silly.

I sat in a little tiny room with an xray machine and got a ton of  "bitewing" xrays done.  Those are brutal. I think I have bruises inside my mouth from biting on the stiff square things.  Why do they make them square? The corners just dig in and it hurts to get those xrays!  I might be a wimp. 

When that was done, I was escorted to another big room full of chairs but this time they each had a little wall divider between them.  Well, that'll save the others from hearing me scream.  The lady offered me a magazine because I would be waiting a while for the dentist.  I had a book, so I opened that.  I read one page and here comes the troops.  Ugh.  It's time.  I screamed in my mind.

Had to give myself a quick little pep talk as the monsters, er, dentist people, came toward me.  Be brave, Mary, be brave.  You can do this, or, at least pretend you can.  Buck up, Mary.  Ugh, they were upon me.

An office lady, a hygienist (I think?) and the dentist. Office lady explains that she will be taking notes for billing purposes, hygenist sits behind me and says absolutely nothing, dentist says "Open wide".  ugh.  Right away, I'm impressed that the chair has a dip in it for my pony tail. The dentist pokes and prods and blows air on my teeth.  Ouch. Ouch. Wince.  ouch.   This seems to take forever. He looks at my xrays. Apparently, I have hundreds of teeth, like a shark.  I resist the temptation to bite him.

My teeth

Exam done.  Tiime for the bad news.  I don't even pretend that I am expecting good news.  My teeth hurt.

The guy says "For someone who hasn't had a cleaning or exam in ten years you have very good teeth"  I say in my defense, "It might have been 9 yrs ago and I did try to go 5 yrs ago but I panicked and they asked me to leave before anything got done".  Great, now he knows I'm a freak as well as negligent.  I should know better, people who work in dental offices go to the dentist every day, no way would they  understand how ten  years can just "slip by" between visits.  I decide to shut up and listen.

The guy says "You only have 6 cavities!"  Only? Ugh. No wonder my teeth hurt. He says "They are all small and you don't need any root canals or crowns".  Oh goodie. "And you only need one extraction".  Wh-wh-what? 

He reminds me that I have one lower wisdom tooth already extracted, leaving the upper one without a mate.  It is descending and part of the root is exposed.  He says it will be an easy yank.  Yank?  Oh geez.  I told him how the lower extraction went and really, I don't care to relive that experience.  So, if there is any chance that I need the other two wisdom teeth out, I want to do it as an oral surgery and not have to experience any of the extraction.  Getting that one out was like pulling a car out of my mouth.  My teeth are huge and well anchored. He says this one is big, true, but it is not well anchored.  The other two are just fine and removing them will not benefit me any as they will not give me more room for my overcrowding issue and they do not have cavities.  Amazing because I can't get a toothbrush way back in there.

So, he says, you need a cleaning and fill the cavities and extract the one tooth. He just needs a minute and he'll get right to it. 

Now?  OMG!!!

But first, they want more xrays.  Ugh. Nooooo.  I am taken to another xray room with a different machine.  This one is for the orthodontist.  And I just had to stand there and a big machine whirled all around my head.  It was painless and easy.  They did a panoramic xray.  Very cool! Oy, very crooked. You can really see it in the xray.  Wowza.

After this, they take me to the orthodontic side again and take pictures with a little camera of my teeth. Nice.  I have always wanted close up digital photos of my teeth.  Love the flash going off an inch from my eyeball. 

Now that I'm blind... they want to clean my teeth and fill my cavities.  Wait, wait, I'm not ready for that.  I need to know what time it is and go get my kids from the sitter sometime before the day is over.  So they say I should come back this evening or tomorrow or Saturday or next week.... I say "two weeks".  I think they were afraid I'd never come back.  So, I explain, I'm busy.  I have a daughter starting preschool next week and another daughter having a baby on Sunday if not before, and I have to arrange babysitting for my toddler... my turn to see them with the shock look on their faces! ha!

So, I am getting the left side cleaned and filled in 2 weeks and then the other side probably a week later.  After the health issues are fixed, I get the braces put on. 

Before I am let go, they want to make impressions of my teeth.  It'll just take a minute.  Ugh, Ok, fine.  one more thing and then I'm out.  I had been there almost 3 hrs and quite frankly, I was just done.

This guy fills up a tooth shaped tray with foam which had a strong bubble gum smell, ewwww, and shoved it in my mouth.  Gag!  I might die!!!  He babbles on and on about how his buddies and him would practice this on each other at dental school.  Hurry up, hurry up, hurry up!  He takes it out, whew!  Noooo, gotta do the top teeth now.  We repeat the torture and as he's choking me to death and I'm resisting the urge to puke all over the place, he continues to tell me all about how him and his buddies would make the mix too thin and then it would run down their throat and they'd puke on each other... seriously, dude, shut the hell up. 

Finally, that was done and I was set free.  I had bits of bubble gum foam all over my face and I fled like the place was on fire. 

Got in my van and I didn't even care that I left my water bottle right in sun and toxic plastic chemicals probably leeched into the water, I just drank up that hot water and it never tasted so good!  Blech, the dentist goo was gross!  It was after 1pm and I'm sure Libby needed to get home for a good nap by now. 

My big crooked divit filled teeth hurt. 


Wolfpak5 said...

Wasn't getting molds of your teeth fun? My dentist told me that it was going to be like mashed potatoes stuffed in my mouth. If I can go through all the extractions, fillings and cleanings then you can too. I just love the therapy afterwards.

Michelle said...

Ohhhh you poor thing. That does not sound like a good experience, BUT it's a good reminder ot make sure that I keep up on my checkups ;) Good luck!

And I vote for metal with colors. Because they're fun!

Kate said...

Oh. My. I am so sorry!

I hate those evil x-rays--I have some rocky structures in the bottom of my mouth and they cut them. Ouch! But here's my question: can't they use the ortho's x-ray machine for the dental stuff? So much more pleasant than those horrible little bite thingies.

Mom Taxi Julie said...

I have 3 small cavaties and need a root canal. Root canal? not going to be covered under insurance and they think they need to cap it which also won't be covered. I thought maybe I can tough it out but I don't think that's going to work too well.

Katie Dwyer said...

Hope your day at the dentist today isnt as bad as this was!! :) Love you.