Saving My Teeth

At the beginning of the year we picked up the dental plan for Kelly's job and figured we better get it used up before we lose it at the end of the month. Kaelyn had her first check-up, and Kelly got a visit in as well. Today was the day that I made my pentannual trip to the dentist.

I'm not one of those people that fear the dentist, I'm just utilitarian when it comes to my teeth: when all is well don't complain. I brush twice a day, floss occasionally, so I've avoided major problems. Even my wisdom teeth came in OK, so I haven't needed a dentist. Still, if insurance is paying, then we're paying, so off I went.

When I arrived at the office, I had to fill out the extended questionnaire, laced with a few interesting questions [a couple of them made it in this pic I took with my phone]. My favorite question:

"Do you want to save your teeth?"

Still trying to figure out the context of this question. Is this a long-term goal I should be looking towards? Will they put them in a baggie so I can take them home with me? Should I be concerned about the salvation of my bicuspids? I checked "Yes," but no one asked me about it.

When I was called back to get my teeth cleaned, the hygienist decided to look for gold in my teeth. She was incredibly thorough, and my teeth have probably never been so clean. But hours later, they still hurt— probably more than they've ever hurt— the kind of pain that would cause me to go to the dentist. She kept insisting that I return in six months for another cleaning, but I'm not a masochist, nor will I have that kind of dental plan, so I doubt I will.

The dentist came in, looked me over and said cavity. I made an appointment for an hour later and they drilled me out and filled it in. It was on a wisdom tooth and I told the dentist, "I guess I'll have to try a little more to reach those with my brush." Her response, "Eh, you probably couldn't do anything to prevent it anyway."

Not quite the response I imagined.

As I spent the rest of my afternoon with a numb cheek, slurring some of my words as my inner cheek wall [if that's what it's called] would slide between my teeth, I looked over the receipt. Without insurance, the cost for all the work would've equalled a minor car repair. I'm sure that the older I get, the more money I'll be sinking into these things.

Maybe it'd be cheaper if I didn't save my teeth.