So on Saturday, my tooth started to hurt. It’s weird; I honestly don’t think I have ever had a toothache before. The pain wasn’t unbearable; certainly not nearly as bad as some of the headaches I have known . . . but it was enough that I knew I needed to act quickly, because I had no interest in discovering how much worse it might get.
Now, you should know that I haven’t been to the dentist in two years, for a variety of reasons:
1) I didn’t have insurance for more than half of 2005.
2) When I got my current job, I just didn’t get around to going, and then it was October of 2006 and I knew they were going to stop requiring a deductible in 2007, so I figured it wasn’t worth it to pay a deductible when the year was almost over.
3) When 2007 did roll around, I . . . just never got around to it. I have pretty healthy teeth most of the time (crappy gums, but good teeth), and although I absolutely love my dentist, I was hoping to make a change. When I participated in an Institute for Healing Racism a few years ago, one of the suggestions they offered was that you should intentionally work with a doctor, dentist or other professional who is a person of color. Now, I REALLY love my doctor, who is relatively fat-friendly, so I figured it was the dentist who had to go.
I kept saying (to myself and to anybody else who would listen), “I really need to find a black dentist”, to which I would get a variety of responses . . . most often, “what about that guy on that one commercial?” (nobody knows his name, of course.) And then I started asking myself if it was even worth it, since I mostly saw the dental hygienist anyway, and so did it really matter? Would my time be better spent encouraging my friendly dentist to hire more hygienists of color?
so all of this philosophizing led me exactly nowhere, or at least, it didn’t lead me to the dentist’s chair.
I did, however, high-tail it to the dentist once the pain began. I got an appointment today, and of course, I have cavities in two of my teeth–the crooked wisdom tooth that needs to come out, and the tooth next to it. (I think she affectionately referred to it as “#18” . . . named, no doubt, for the number of thousands of dollars this is going to cost me)
So the non-wise tooth actually needs a root canal–which they promptly scheduled for tomorrow morning (can anything good happen on September 11th?) so now I am home preparing for tomorrow’s MAJOR SURGERY THAT COULD KILL ME, but thank God that Dr. Google (I have to give Amy Tan credit for that one!) has given me a great deal of reassurance . . . despite the fact that all my life I’ve heard people say things like “I’d rather have a root canal than _______” (insert horribly painful or undesirable activity here) or “It’s fun times–just like a root canal!”, the fact that this was one of the first search results I found when I looked up the simple phrase “root canal” has been somewhat reassuring.
(I will google search “death from root canal” later on tonight, along with “root canal that is really cancer” or “root canal leading to vegetative coma” or perhaps “you think it’s just a root canal but you’re really going to DIE!” . . . how did I ever find fulfillment as a hypochondriac before the internet came along?)
In the meantime, thank you, friendly animated-teeth.com website! Such good information, and no annoying pop-ups. (a few links with that annoying snap-like feature, but hey, I use those here, so who am I to talk?!)
now I have to decide whether to bring my camera to the dentist’s office tomorrow and ask them to take pictures so that I can blog about the aftermath . . . hmm. maybe just pictures of my x-rays?!