Alice Goes to the Dentist

Teeth.  Remember when teeth were cool?  Like they’d fall out of your mouth, but this was a normal thing for them to do, and people even paid you to lose them?  Well, after a while this stops, and suddenly you are supposed to keep your teeth, unless they are wisdom teeth in which case they usually have to come out because these teeth are so smart they often grow in sideways.

Other teeth are supposed to stay in, but they are really a big pain in the . . . mouth.  I mean sure they help you chew up food and make you smile all pretty if you put lots of enamel eroding whitening on them, but otherwise they just kind of suck.  So people try to ignore them as much as possible until they can’t any longer because either they have pain or their dentist makes them have lots of x-rays so he can find tiny little cavities that he can fix so that he can pay off his student loans faster er so that they don’t become big cavities, which if you remember, make holes in teeth.

cavity creeps crest

“We make holes in teeth!”  This – this is a post all on its own.

So I waited a year or two and finally figured, why not, I’ll go to the dentist for a cleaning.  I mean once I waited five years to go and had two children during that time (There was an old saying during the good old days before plumbing that you lost a tooth for every kid you had!  Cool!)  I had five cavities instead of two, but that was better than two cavities and five kids, and hey, still only one cavity per year.  Not bad.  This was not the case this time.  This time, oh no, they found eight cavities.

I do love being an overachiever.  They asked me if I brushed and flossed regularly.  Well, dental assistant, you are looking in my mouth, so what do you think?  Probably not.  I had other things to do, like killing Sims.  I mean who really thinks teeth are that important?  Certainly not insurance companies.  Most jobs give you access to health care, but that doesn’t include teeth cause, pfft, who needs ’em?  We just have them so dentists have something to do after studying mouths for so long, right?

dentist and tooth

It’s more convenient for you and the dentist if you send your teeth alone.

So they were very insistent that I should get these teeth fixed, and they showed me a bill and I was like well if I don’t pay my mortgage or, you know, eat, then sure I should be able to handle this in a few months, easy-peasy.  I asked if I could pay it out, since I’ve done that with every other doctor, and I’ve gone to this dentist since I had teeth, so they totally trusted me on that.  I’m just kidding. The totally understanding and not at all bitchy receptionists said I had to go with another company who would let me take out a tooth loan (this is where the tooth fairy went after that pink slip I bet) and pay off my bill that way.  In a few months.  Or face lots of interest.  Medical bills are one of the few debts they can’t charge interest on, but teeth aren’t medical so fair game!

Since leaving my job by request two years ago, we’ve been on one income and disability payments.  Luckily, I have very little pride left so I asked the church for some help and they offered.  Thanks, Jesus.  Of course the receptionists still don’t trust the church to pay it all off so they keep asking me when they will pay.  It’s a nice little chat we have each time.  I took my kids to this dentist too, and by some miracle Thing One had no cavities.  She’s no more responsible tooth-wise than I am, so I’m thinking she has enamel of steel.  Thing Two was not so lucky, so she had a few cavities. Still, no one could beat Mommy.  I do love to be a good role model, give them something to aspire to and all that.

mom of year

The best mom leads by example.

No offense to dentists, but I have some problems with your techniques. I mean there’s a problem with my tooth hurting, right, so your solution is to take a drill to it.  There has to be a better way to go about this by now.  I mean sure they pump me up with enough anesthetic that I am actually shaking, but it’s still kinda disconcerting.  I’d get the happy gas, but that costs forty-two dollars each time.  I can get better drugs way cheaper.  I mean my, er, neighbor could.  So there’s this brrrrr noise as they drill out the rot in your tooth so that they can fill it with other stuff that must be made of unicorn dust cause it costs a lot.

dentist patient

That is one weirdly happy patient.  Must be some good gas there.

Though it’s not as much as a crown!  Now I have always wanted a crown because being a princess sounds grand and I’m sure I have at least as many qualifications as England’s royal family.  But this crown goes on your tooth, and for the price you pay I’d like it made of solid gold and actually shaped like a real crown, only one that goes around your tooth.  It’s not, though, it’s boring yet insanely expensive, so the dentist highly recommended it.  But first, a root canal.  I was totally stoked about that one, since it was going to cost 2,000 all on its own before I got to the crown.  Also it had the words “root” and “canal” and involved my mouth.

dental crown

Finally, someone acknowledges my royalness.

Lucky for me, when I went to this other dentist (the dentists have like a coven and I had to go to a special one for the canal o’ love) he said my tooth was too far gone so I should have it pulled.  By another dentist.  They are loyal to the coven.  So I went to yet another dentist and this one was all “Hey, no big deal, you will like never even miss this tooth” but hello, I liked that tooth.  We’d been together a while, and the other teeth were sure to miss it even if it was a back tooth, so I won’t look like Buckwheat.  The dental assistant seemed to think I was nervous since I was whiter than usual which is super duper teeth-whitening white here, but hey, no sweat until he numbed my mouth and that hurt so I yelled and he warned me not to scare people. I mean talk about rude of me.  Then he yanked out the tooth – but you know slowly and jerkily and stuff so it didn’t freak me out at all.

dentist and kid

I’m just gonna yank a few things out here . . . oops!

On the plus side, it only cost 300 dollars for them to remove the tooth versus the canal thing, so yippee! Then one of my fillings broke, so guess what you will never guess?  I still get a crown!  But later, as I’m putting that off as he already fixed the tooth good enough for me.  His mistake!

I have learned my lesson, though, folks. Take good care of your teeth.  Brush and floss every day, unless your teeth are super close together because your parents made you wear braces, in which case you will probably pull your fillings out that way (as I just did a second time) so maybe you’re just screwed.

This PSA brought to you by Alice and Munchers, the delightful short full of talking teeth, satanic cavity creeps, and lots of hallucinogenic drugs.  I might have shown it before, but it is definitely worth another view, with the help of Josh Way’s commentary.  Enjoy!

Your tooth fairy from Hades,

Alice

7 responses

  1. Even though I have a dental plan, like most people, I dread going to the dentist and hearing those dire words: You have a cavity. Which means more going to the dentist and needles and pain and yuck! I’m sorry that it’s costing you so much!

    1. Ugh, yeah no one likes the dentist. I bet even the dentist doesn’t like being a dentist – I mean how could you? That’s so gross. There’s not enough money in the world. Anyway, I am very fortunate that our church really is very generous, especially considering I am not the best attendant (my husband and kids are far better). And my dental insurance does cover cleanings and like 1,000 dollars of dental work – it’s just that I was so extraordinary it added up quickly. But thanks for the kind words! Hope you don’t have a fun dental day anytime soon.

  2. I had a root canal a couple years ago, though luckily the nerve on the tooth had already gone dead (After giving me crippling pain for weeks) so that part wasn’t as bad as they make it seem. Then the crown, which has amazingly stayed put now for 2 and a half years (knock on porcelain). I always thought my crappy Mecca dental insurance was useless, but after seeing the prices you quoted, I guess it paid more than I thought. I do know that when one of my back teeth went bad shortly after this all happened, I just let that mother crumble to bits rather than go through all that again, though. Who needs a nice smile when I’m more likely to flash off my pearly white middle finger instead?

    1. I’m picturing that tooth crumbling, oh yay. Sad when that is preferable to the professional! Imagine what you’d have been charged for professional tooth crumbling! I do have decent dental insurance, it’s just that my teeth are so incredibly bad due to me not being a great dental patient, especially when I’m depressed. I had a root canal when I was six after riding my bicycle into the garage, but I don’t remember it. My mother worried about me all day and like a typical goofball kid I skipped into the house like nothing. Thing Two just told me her friend ripped out her root canal accidentally with gum. The horror stories are just endlessly entertaining.

  3. They should make special dentists for people with severe depression. I had one dentist years ago I absolutely adored, and she explained to me that genetics were my main problem. ‘You can brush and floss five times a day, use fluoride trays at night, and come here three times a year instead of two, and you WILL still get cavities.’ I bless her for finally absolving me of dental guilt and curse her for moving across the country to teach. Also, she was so pretty. Which may be shallow, but when you’re stuck in that chair for two hours, it helps.

    And that was before the depression.

    My most recent dentist I was quite frank with. I explained to him that I brush and floss like a pro – when I’m not depressed. But when I am, when getting out of bed to pee takes at least an hour of convincing myself, do you think I notice my toothbrush? Bitch, please. (Maybe not that frank, but close.) He said he could work with that, and he did his best, and he really appreciated when we hit our first tricky spot (after a botched root canal) and I was the one to say that I have more crowns, fillings, implants, etc. in my mouth than I have actual teeth (he did not disagree, and I do not exaggerate; I got missing eye teeth from one grandmother and crappy dental genetics from the other) and I did not expect him to make miracles happen. His office staff sucked.

    Regardless, I had to move and now I am on another dental hunt. I have reasonably good dental (actually it’s probably amazing, as dental goes) but no matter what, they’re only going to pay so much a year. And of course you know what happens to teeth if you don’t fix cavities right away. May it suffice to say that if my mouth were a city, the Red Cross would be serving it coffee.

    That’s my sob story. Incidentally, my mom went like 20+ years without seeing a dentist because dentistry in the 50s-70s gave her really legit dental anxiety, and the woman didn’t have a single cavity. I mean, she brushed (still brushes) compulsively, but nothing.

    1. Oh, dear Ruby I love hearing from you! I totally understand the depression thing. When you’re depressed, you’re lucky to get out of bed, much less pay any attention to stuff like teeth. I wouldn’t have put on clothes if it weren’t illegal to go out naked, basically. My teeth were better when I was younger because my father really enforced it since he lost so many teeth himself. I never did floss well till later, though, when I figured out there was much kinder floss out there. I pay a little more, but the stuff glides and doesn’t cut you so bad. It does still pull out my fillings, though, and speaking of that I think I’m eventually going to have to tell them my tooth still hurts. Yuck.

      That was super nice of your dentist to absolve you of dental guilt. My dentist put me on special prescription toothpaste since I get so many cavities which would be great if I would continue to brush and floss like a good girl. I am really trying to, but it is hard when you do things like pull out your own fillings. Still, my former boss’s granddaughter had to get crowns on every single tooth. Turned out she had something called Sjorgren’s – and so did her mother. Basically you can’t make spit well, and it leads to dry eye and dry mouth which leads to cavities. I have allergies so I sleep with my mouth open, so that’s why my mouth dries out. You might look into that Sjorgren’s thing if you haven’t. Hope to hear from you again soon. Love you lots, Alice.

      https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sjogrens-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20353216

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