A Visit to the Dentist

- April 19, 2012

"I was faced with having to visit the dreaded tooth doctor after an encounter with a decadent red velvet cupcake..."

Absolutely not! Certainly not! These are the answers to the question “..is the dentist your favorite medical professional ?” I was faced with having to visit the dreaded tooth doctor after an encounter with a decadent red velvet cupcake had my previously root canaled number 19 molar crying out like a baby in a wet diaper.

What followed was two days of agony. Tooth pain is never pleasant but those of us who are complete and utter pansies when it comes to even contemplating making a dentist appointment are a special breed. My insurance card in hand, I fired up my computer and looked for a nearby dentist. Shopping on the Internet is never easy. There is that whole thing about not being able to try it on, touch it or feel it.

Here is where the choice of a web designer is critical. Here is where the photograph with the most engaging smile and the best combination of graphic design colors separates the sheep from the goats; or in this case the teeth from the gums. So I picked a dentist with a lovely smile, casually dressed in scrubs and photographed in a contemporary dental office. There were also engaging photos of well-dressed and impeccably made up dental hygienists and assistants. The receptionist greeted me with a dazzlingly white set of teeth made even more appealing by over the top red lipstick. In case I really admired the lipstick, which I did, I could even buy it from the come hither display on the reception desk.

Even though I was late for my appointment everyone I met was all smiles and let me know my tardiness was totally forgivable. Since the pain in my mouth had subsided to a dull ache I was not crabby. One x-ray and a discussion about the need to optimize the office website and my smiling dentist gave me the news. Seems the only option was to yank the tooth and then put in an implant at a cost of about $4,000 over several appointments.

The stiff neck I got after getting this news is with me even as I write this. Looking at me with apologies for my plight, the dentist assured me that if the tooth belonged to a family member the recommendation would be the same, definitely get rid of it. Barely making it past the reception desk out to my car I was, to put it mildly, in a state of shock.

Somewhere in my mind I just couldnʼt believe I would have to give up a body part. I came home, made a cold martini and resorted again to the Internet. I googled “failed root canal.” Who knew millions of people had been through the same scenario. There on my computer was an x-ray picture of a number 19 molar looking almost identical to mine. The difference was they were talking about saving the beloved tooth, not extracting it. I called my insurance carrier who assured me a second opinion was a viable option.

Today I went to see an incredibly patient dentist...who by the way does not have a sweet looking website and is not nearly so visually appealing. Dentist number two told me my tooth was perfectly fine and yanking it out was unnecessary. This dentist was experienced in saving teeth and just as charming as dentist number one, allowing me to leave the office supremely educated on everything about root canal procedure and why my tooth was hurting from my red velvet cupcake. Right then I fell for the dentist in the rainbow suspenders—not as dapper but definitely my choice for my favorite Santa Fe dental professional.

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