I have had a tooth that has pained me for months, and, like any good American, I put off having it looked at until things got so bad that I must now bid farewell to that that tooth, and either get an implant [insert implant joke here] or become accustomed to a blended diet.
I have now visited three different dentists/specialists and am to see an oral surgeon on Friday, whom I really really really hope yanks that sucker out so I can stop going to dentists’ offices for a few months.
(Yes, I know implants take months, but at least I’ll have a Purpose.)
Why do I want to stop going to dentist offices? Because they’re sad. The offices I’ve been going to are largely peopled by folks without insurance and you can tell they’re in pain and they’ve put this visit off not because they’re chicken like me, but because they can’t afford decent dental care. So things head south and they suck on ice or they suck it up because they’re broke.
I once sat in on a lecture by a dentist who talked about all the things a dentist can detect, just from peering into your mouth. It was stunning to me, and it’s stunning that so many people go without care.
I sat in an office yesterday waiting for yet more bad news, and in the chair next to me sat an older woman, who listened — bewildered — as a dentist was saying that her teeth are riddled with cavities and that she would probably lose all or most of them. She tried to explain to him that when she was growing up, you only went to the dentist when something hurt and she was doing alright but things started to hurt. The dentist acted surprised that she’d held up under the pain as well as she had. I don’t know her insurance situation, but I’m guessing it’s crappy. He walked her out into the waiting room where she started making appointments to lose her teeth. She seemed very matter-of-fact about it. Me? I was angry for her.