How It Went

Okay…so I went to the Dentist.  And I lived!  I’m nowhere near out of the woods, though.  But here’s how it went, as near as I can recall.

  1. Left work early.
  2. Dad drove me, just in case I ended up having anything serious done and/or was drugged up and couldn’t drive home.
  3. Got there and filled out paperwork.  Had to call the office to find out what our zip code was.
  4. The Hygienist ran a full panel on my head, since I haven’t been to a Dentist in so long.  It was a quick process, but weird…I look forward to many more weird procedures in the future.
  5. I was asked a couple of times, “Do you have any pain right now?”  And I didn’t, so I said, “No…I have in the past, but I feel fine right now.”  Then I overheard the following conversation between the two Hygienists, which both caused me shame AND made me feel like a big shot…
    • Dental Hygienist 1: That’s amazing…
    • Dental Hygienist 2: What’s amazing?
    • Dental Hygienist 1: …that he doesn’t have any pain!
  6. The Dentist—Dr. John, as I know him—came in and we spoke about the last time I was in his office.  (He’s the same guy I went to all those years ago.  He’s a family friend.)  I told him I wasn’t even sure when that was…and he told me that he looked it up and it was in August of 1994.  At present, I have no plans to re-write that damn blog post!
  7. So, I leaned back in the chair and he looked in my mouth for a couple of seconds.  His exact words were, “Derek, you’ve given me a lot to think about in what to recommend here…”  I figured he’d follow-up with “we’re going to gut the place and rebuild…”  But he didn’t.
  8. There was a deep cleaning done, which was only minorly uncomfortable (and right now my mouth feels a little RAW as a result, but I wouldn’t necessarily call it pain).  He pretty much talked to the Hygienist about every tooth, outlining what was wrong…and to my relief he did say “this one’s okay” a few times.

Basic Results:

  • I am going back next week for a root canal and (I think) a filling to fix the tooth I broke that led to this whole experience in the first place.  I don’t know if he plans to do anything else that day…but I know there’s at least a root canal happening.  But he told me that “contrary to what older people are going to tell you” I won’t feel anything at all during the procedure.
  • I have several Wisdom Teeth that came in and need to be extracted.  One on bottom in apparently still semi-covered by my gums.  When he said that, I immediately thought, “That explains a lot…”  I now believe that what I thought was an abscess a while ago was THAT tooth coming in.
  • I think I also have one Molar that’s got to go.  He assures me that I won’t even miss it once it’s gone.
  • At least a couple of the extractions will have to be done by an oral surgeon, rather than by Dr. John…which I have mixed emotions about, but I’m sure will be fine.
  • I have assorted chips, nicks, etc that we didn’t even discuss because the “big” stuff has to be taken care of first.
  • Good news: My dental insurance is pretty decent.  This visit was 100% covered.  My root canal will be 80% covered.
  • Bad news: The coverage is great…but they’ll only pay out $1000.  Then I have to wait for it to reset…which I think is in January 2012.  So I really should’ve started this in like December 2010, I guess…  Maybe if I get any money back from my tax return, I can get some stuff done that my insurance won’t pay for.

All in all, it wasn’t a bad experience.  Hell, I was in such pain with the Wisdom Tooth Incident (as I will now be referring to it, since I no longer think it was an abscess) that there is pretty much nothing he could’ve done to me that would’ve hurt more than that.  I honestly think he could have drilled on me without any Novocaine and it still would’ve been better than the pain I was in back then.  So, I wasn’t even as nervous as I imagined I was going to be.  Dr. John creates a relaxed atmosphere, and his Hygienists are both very friendly as well.  (I’m going to use the word “compassionate.”)  He didn’t lecture me or anything like that.  I think he knew he didn’t have to.  He was pretty much all business, but I never felt like House was standing in the room with me or anything like that.

So…we’ll see how positive my outlook is after a root canal next week (Thursday at 2:00), but all in all…go to the Dentist, kids.  It’s not as bad as you think it will be.  Plus…from personal experience, if you don’t have good oral health, you’ve got dogshit.  So go get taken care of, if you need it.  I was an idiot for waiting this long.

…but I’m still not going to a physician any time soon.