I’m known by the staff of my local dentist as “the guy who got up one Sunday morning to preach a message and, noticing his dentist in the congregation, immediately got a severe toothache.”
It’s true! And the toothache disappeared once the service was over! Ever since then, my friend the dentist has reminded me of that on the occasions that I am somehow ambushed into making an appointment for a “checkup”. I like my dentist … I do NOT like what he does in my mouth. Nor do I like what he does to my checking account. He shoots me full of drugs for the one and graciously gives me a generous discount for the other … but it is still painful on both fronts.
I’m feeling rather green right now because I’ve been forced into making an appointment with the oral surgeon for tomorrow. I’ve had my four wisdom teeth growing on the horizontal (instead of the vertical) plane for 60 years. I can’t count how many times I’ve heard dentists say “Hmmmmmmm” as they looked at my x-rays. I always knew what they were “hmmmmmming” about. My Dad used to day, “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.” I’ve followed that advice in regard to these four teeth. My wisdom teeth have given me no problems … so what if they appear to be lazy and lying down on the job? They don’t hurt so leave them alone! Let sleeping teeth lie!
Well they STILL don’t hurt, but my friend the dentist says that one of them is about to and it could cause serious issues with the tooth next to it if I don’t have it removed. Hmmmmmmm. That was three weeks ago and today after stoking myself on four cups of coffee, I worked up the courage to call the surgeon.
The lady on the phone was cheery … too cheery for the occasion, in my opinion. The conversation when like this:
“I hate the fact that I have to call you this morning”
“That’s OK, how can I help you”
“My dentist told me I need to have a tooth pulled”
“I’m sorry, let’s get you set up with an appointment. Will you be doing this with local anesthesia or full?”
At this point I panicked. I did not want a choice. I was under the impression that it would have to be full. Who in their right mind would yank a tooth out of someone’s mouth while the patient was still conscious? Who in their right mind would want to hear the tearing of those roots! Doh! But on the other hand, I quickly calculated that full anesthesia is likely to cost more than local. Oh the PAIN of it! … More pain in the mouth with the local. More pain in the wallet with the full! Is there a tooth fairy who specializes in wisdom teeth with correspondingly high monetary gifts? I may need a little fairy dust or something to survive this!
“Which will assure that I don’t feel anything?” – stupid question and I could hear her giggling with her hand over the phone.
“Would you like to come in for a consultation with the Dr.?”
“Which Dr. would you like?” – there are six of them listed.
“Which one would YOU use if you were in my position? Please recommend one.”
“I can’t recommend any of them” – I had a sudden sinking feeling in my gums at this response and seriously considered hanging up quickly. She continued however and explained that she couldn’t make such recommendations.
“So,” I said, “just make an appointment with one of them without recommending him.”
Well, I have an appointment with the surgeon tomorrow for a consultation. And yes … my tooth is beginning to hurt now and I’m feeling rather miserable … elevated heart rate, damp palms and just a growing desire to go lay down … like my wisdom teeth.