Coffee heat rising

Hold the Phone, Here…

Waaaaitaminit! A few belated second thoughts about the pending dental adventure are occurring.

I’m driving down the road headed back from campus to the Funny Farm and thinking, “Good grief! Three thousand dollars is more than a fourth of the savings I’ve earmarked to supplement Social Security for the next year.  That ‘supplement’ represents half my month-to-month living allowance. So we’re talking about disappearing three months’ worth of money for living expenses.”

Furthermore, think I, the prospect of sitting in a dentist’s chair while the guy bangs away at my mouth for two hours sounds…well, counterproductive. As in a very, very bad idea.

Then it occurs to me to wonder whether two crowns are really necessary. Dr. Davis, he of the pricey parking lot, once opined that though the chipped crown on the bottom molar is unaesthetic, a) no one can see it unless I open my mouth in public and yawn like a hippopotamus, and b) it’s perfectly functional. As for the broken tooth on top, the new dentist polished the surface smooth, so that it doesn’t irritate my tongue (in fact, it irritates a lot less than it did after he filled the first break in it). It also seems to be perfectly functional. It doesn’t hurt, and since my teeth are already so dull I can’t chew up a normal bite-sized piece of meat, there’s no change in my ability to chew or eat. hmmm….

The light dawns...


If you can get a second opinion for a doctor’s diagnosis and you can get a second opinion for a veterinarian’s diagnosis, why the heck can’t you get a second opinion for a dentist’s recommendation?

If this tooth were so badly damaged it needed to be crowned, wouldn’t it hurt? Not very much of it broke off…certainly not a big chunk, as this guy described it. I would have noticed if a fourth of a large molar had fallen into the mouthful of rice and canned beans I was eating at the time. It says here that the stuff underneath the white enamel of your teeth is called dentin, that it’s yellow, and that if it’s exposed, what you get is sensitivity. I’ve been guzzling iced tea, bourbon on the rocks, and hot coffee for the past two days, with nary a twinge.

Bounce out of the car and into the house, grab the phone, and call Old Doc Davis’s office. Ask if he’ll see me. The receptionist whose head I nearly bit off the last time I was there is polite, if you can imagine. She arranges an appointment on Monday.

Grab a mirror and a flashlight. Take a real close look at that busted tooth. It’s white all over, just the way it looked in the digital image New Doc made of it. That is to say, it’s the same color and consistency of all the other teeth in my head. Pretty clearly, this guy doesn’t think there’s any urgency to crown it; otherwise, he wouldn’t have let his office assistant make an appointment at the end of May.

Maybe, just maybe, it doesn’t need to be crowned at all. Or, if it does, maybe there’s no reason to remove the old crown on the bottom tooth and change that out. And even if that is necessary, maybe it doesn’t have to be done in one long torture session.

And if I really do need two crowns, maybe Davis will do them cheaper.

We shall see.

Image: Chicago Skyline at Dawn. Joe M500Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

4 thoughts on “Hold the Phone, Here…”

  1. At least a second opinion, maybe a third. Even if you can delay the work (safely) for a little while, that will give you time to build up the necessary fundage.
    Good luck.

  2. @ Donna Freedman: Oh, I have the cash. It’s just that I don’t want to stick it in my gums…had other plans for it. Like…living on it. And buying a gift for my son.

    That three months’ worth of my credit-union savings was intended delay to the day that I have to start pulling money out of taxable investments to pay the bills. The tax refund, which is what will have to be expended, would have allowed me to get by on Social Security plus post-tax cash savings until December of 2012, all things being equal. If it goes away, then I run out of post-tax savings in September, 2012. Not a disaster, it has to be said…but the longer I can delay a drawdown, the longer into my dotage my investments will support me.

  3. As we age different things wear out at different times. Since the Mrs. and I have no dental insurance we opt for cleaning every year or so but haven’t had any major work done for years.

    I have 2 molars that have done the iceberg thing and since both have had root canals years ago so there is no pain and there is not a cosmetic issue I just got used to the different ‘mouth feel’ after a week or so.

    We really can’t afford crowns so if something hurts, it’s going to be yanked.

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