You know you had a bad day, when a good day would have been a root canal.
Last Thursday after prolonged pain in my teeth which advanced from nagging to “just remove my head please” over the course of about 48 hours, my dentist recommended I go see someone about a root canal. He gave me a referral for a guy who wanted $1,500 (which I later found to be less than others).
Being an advocate of consumer driven health, I immediately started researching my other options for this procedure and found a dentist outside the city who will do the same procedure for $800. Being the thriftiest guy on the planet, I decide to go for the big savings and make an appointment with the dentist for the next day. That night my wife, ever mistrustful of my “brilliant money-saving ideas” asks if the person with whom I had the appointment is an Endodontist? I reply, “Aren’t the only people who do root canals, Endodontists?”
I look up the dentist on the internet and while she has her doctorate in oral surgery, she is not a specialist in endodontistry (if that is even a word). I broke out in a cold sweat, but am not dissuaded. The next day in the pre-dawn darkness I head for beautiful Buford, Georgia to see about my discount root canal. When I get there, I am treated wonderfully. After a $49 x-ray and examination, the dentist advises me that while she can do the root canal, she will not do it unless the tooth could be saved which requires the both a CT scan and opinion of an Endodontist. She promptly refers me back to an Endodontist, who coincidentally is located 3 minutes from my house. I make the appointment, hop in my car and drive another hour back to Atlanta. For a $345 consultation fee with one of Atlanta’s top Endodontists I get to spend and hour an a half in his lovely waiting room, then treated to more x-rays and a panoramic CT scan of the teeth in question. After all these x-rays, I am positively glowing…
This Endodontist, for the same root canal as the one in Buford gets $1,800, but he suggests that unless I have “Congressional Platinum” insurance, I should consider having the tooth removed. He is not convinced the tooth can be saved, believes there was a 50% chance I will be back within the next 6 months for a do over and pissed to boot. Were that to happen, he would be correct. He refers me to an oral surgeon.
I make an appointment with the surgeon and by now, because of all the screwing around with my mouth, the pain in my mouth is nuclear and friggin’ Advil just isn’t getting it done.
Now, on my way to my third dental appointment of the day I am “looking forward” to having the tooth removed and hopefully get some relief. NOPE. The oral surgeon won’t take it out because my blood pressure is through the roof (wonder why?) and he is scared I might drop dead of a heart attack or have a stroke. By now I am starting to wonder if either of those wouldn’t be a better alternative to the pain pulsating like Bootsy Collins’ bass from my jaw through my inner ear.
It is 4:00 pm and I have been rejected for both a root canal, and a tooth extraction. Given the pain I am experiencing, either of which would have made for “a good day” in my book. I am beginning to consider if James Brown’s affection for Angel Dust had something to do with his dental problems, and wonder if I am headed toward a life of drug addition, anger management issues, toilette envy, shot guns, high-speed chases and prison. Shaking all of this off, I schedule an appointment to see my Doctor for the next day.
Bottom line, on Friday, my Doctor clears me for surgery to get the tooth removed and the bone prepped for an implant. He gives me a beta blocker to drop my blood pressure, and some Hydrocodone to deal with the pain. Unfortunately, the oral surgeon is on vacation until Tuesday, but at 7:00 tomorrow we are on our way to a dental implant and the poor house.
But the good news is this; post surgery I’ll be dining on Bacon Smoothies and Kebab Shakes. I might even go for a little pudding. Totally guilt free of course.