Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A Trip to the Dentist

Well, it's over. Thank you, God, it is over. I survived Dentist Day. Fortunately, my Sugar Bear took the entire day off so I could have a little moral support.

We arrived right at 8:00 on the dot as instructed and sat around till almost 9:00. I was starting to feel ill. My teeth were chattering by the time Lorenzo the hygienist came out to get me. He asked how I was and I told him, "Well, as good as I can be, considering I'm here." He laughed and asked if I was nervous about the dentist, and I said that was the understatement of the year.

We chatted a bit and he sent in another woman to take some X-rays. She said she would do "the hard part" first to get it over with.

Boys howdy, was she ever serious about the hard part. The films literally cut into the bottom of my mouth, and on top of the wait and still not meeting the dentist, I totally lost it. I just started bawling my eyes out. She felt terrible and very sweetly dabbed at my tears with little squares of gauze. But she was insistent on these f***ing X-rays. So after what seemed like hours, we finally got the "hard part" done. Honestly, I have had my teeth x-rayed before, but never, ever have I had this kind of trouble in my life. I was in serious pain from the films cutting into my mouth and I was gagging on the films when they were trying to do my back teeth. I told the tech that I was done, and they moved on to other films, which were smaller and easier to handle. My mouth is actually still in pain where it has been either cut or bruised, I can't really tell. I was almost sobbing, I was in such distress, so they sent in a second person to try and calm me down and then the first guy, Lorenzo, came back to try and cheer me up a bit. He took my coat to make me "more comfortable", but frankly, it wasn't much help because I started shaking from the cold.

Honestly, it was humiliating. I could not pull myself together. They explained that the dentist was just reviewing the films and would be in very shortly, and techs and hygienists kept coming in and out trying to help me calm down. They handed me tissues and talked to me, but finally, I just gave up and let it out, so they left me alone. I tried taking deep breaths, distracting myself, all of it, but it was no good. I think I was tired (I didn't sleep well at all last night) and I just needed to let out the fear. By the time the dentist arrived, I was a mess.

Fortunately, the dentist had the most calming manner about her. I have never had a woman dentist before, but I really liked her a lot. She asked me why I was crying, if it was because of the pain or something else, and I told her a little of both, that I was just very nervous and very anxious. She said that it was important to her that I feel comfortable with her as much as anything else, so we chatted a bit and then she explained that she'd be looking at my teeth and saying some numbers and such to her hygienist and then we'd talk about what needed to be done.

She did her exam, and then they gave me a hand mirror and she showed me some parts of my teeth that needed a little reworking--mostly very old fillings that need to be replaced. My tooth that I thought I chipped was fine (go f***ing figure!) and doesn't require any intervention. She made sure I was OK to leave and then helped me up out of the chair and out to where a receptionist was waiting. They gave me a full written estimate of the work I would need, what they expect that the insurance will pay and what I will have to pay out of pocket. I'm not happy about that part, because I think it's bogus to have to pay anything considering how much we pay for dental in the first place PLUS I never paid more than a co-pay with our dentist in Boston (how I miss Delta Dental--what awesome coverage that was), but at least I know what we are facing, and I'm can plan for it. They also allow you to select which work you want to have done at what time so you can afford it, which I really like.

All in all, I'm glad I went. I am most definitely glad it is over. I look forward to a good night's sleep tonight and I'm glad I met the dentist and I liked her so well.

Thanks to all who emailed, IM'ed or called with moral support last night and this morning. It meant the world to me.

3 pearl(s) of wisdom:

Cindy said...

I'm glad that you had a nice dentist come in and calm you. I've had women dentists before and I think they just can handle the situation better.

If you have a smaller mouth, those xrays can hurt. I have kind of a big mouth (haha) and the back xrays still hurt me. Big plastic thing shoved in your mouth. You'd think they'd find an easier way.

And dental insurance sucks. But you know that.

Melissa said...

I must have a big mouth too (we all know that...) because I was surprised when you said that the x-rays hurt and was thinking maybe they were doing it wrong!
Glad everything else came out ok....and that it's over.

Talmadge G. said...

Yeah, the x-ray film thingys are a bit much, especially when used on the back teeth. You'd think film manufacturers would've long since found a way to soften those edges.

So very glad you survived. Even better that you drew a good dentist from the deck.