After ignoring visiting dentist offices as I was maturing, (a work still in progress), and after many suggestions from my bride of 30 years, I finally began making up for lost time over the last decade with frequent trips to the local dentist. So, during this past decade I began making nearly quarterly trips which resulted in more than a half dozen root canals and crowns and a few veneers for my previously neglected teeth. You would think by this time I should have a wing named after me at some dentistry college or at the very least Christmas cards showing my dentist in Hawaii surfing or on the slopes skiing saying thank you. Now, after all this time and investment, I thought I was in good shape, teeth wise.
I have now found out differently. Shortly after a routine cleaning, I developed a toothache. Upon my first visit back to the dentist, he believed one of my crowns simply needed adjusting for a better “bite fit.” I admit, his quick adjustment did bring some temporary relief. Temporary being the key word here as the following day the pain returned accompanied by some swelling. So, upon a second visit a few days later, this resulted in his recommendation for the dreaded “R” word, a root canal. Since he doesn’t perform that procedure, he recommended someone whom I made an appointment with for the following week. For those of you keeping score, that’s two visits to the dentist with zero results and now going into the end of week two.
Upon driving to and visiting his recommended dentist, I learned, during now my third visit, a root canal probably wouldn’t resolve the issue, (I believe he gave it a 60% chance of success), and unfortunately extraction and possibly an implant was the best route for me to follow. Yet again this individual doesn’t perform those types of tasks and he recommended yet another individual for me to make yet another appointment to see.
As I drove back to work thinking that I have now invested hundreds and hundreds of dollars more into my mouth with potentially more expense yet to come, three visits and headed into week three, I still have the same toothache, I began to question my chosen profession and career path. So as I sit here at my keyboard pondering my options for resolution and weighing the pro’s and con’s of my investment into my teeth, I think I have a much better understanding as to why some folks simply opt out for false teeth. I also wished I had listened closer to my parents when they requested I brush my teeth each day or they would eventually fall out. I didn’t realize how wise they were.
By Keith Foutz, publisher
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