Do you know what “root canal” is? It is a dental procedure that was first used by The Grand Inquisitor of The Spanish Inquisition, and it was performed on victims that he particularly didn’t like.
It hurts. It hurts a lot.
When dentists perform root canals, they literally drill a hole deep into your tooth, grab the raw nerve with a pair of hard, cold, steel tweezers, and then yank that nerve out of your head by its roots.
Then, after they pull you down off the ceiling, they go into the center of the tooth with tiny metal files and scrape away any bacteria, assorted crud and microscopic demons that may be living there. They go down the root canals of the tooth all the way to the jaw bone underneath the tooth with these files. You can feel the files chipping, grinding and rasping away inside of your tooth. You can hear it too.
Finally, when they are done filing, they drop something equivalent to boiling chlorine into the holes in your tooth to sterilize them before they cover the holes with enamel. (You can literally see puffs of smoke rising out of your mouth as they do this!)
I have this procedure done to three teeth.
Then, twelve years after all of this anguish and suffering, one of these teeth recently went bad anyway. Somehow or other, little, bastard germs got inside one of these sealed, sanitized and cauterized teeth, and caused an infection that hurt so badly that I thought my head was going to explode.
So, I thought that I could just go back to my dentist, have him remove the crown and redo the root canal. This time it wouldn’t hurt because the nerve in the tooth had been removed.
Of course not.
It seems that when a dentist puts a crown over a root canal, he or she cements the thing in place with glue designed to withstand the tons of pressure that are put upon it from the jaw. (Do you remember the commercials for Crazy Glue, where one drop is enough to lift a man off the ground? Well, I guess the dental equivalent to Crazy Glue can lift the QE2 Luxury Ocean Liner.)
So, my dentist sent me to a specialist. I’m not exactly sure what this person’s title was, but it was more than just simply, DENTIST. The title began with an “O”, ended with an “ist” and had thirty-six syllables in between. (I guess every syllable in the title adds $10,000 dollars to the bearer’s annual base income.) Anyhow, this specialist was supposed to look at the tooth, and then determine whether or not he was capable of removing the crown so that my dentist could redo the root canal.
Well, this guy had other, much more expensive ideas. This is where a little research can help. If you are a resident of San Mateo you can search online for affordable doctors in your area. You just have to Google cosmetic dentist san mateo, and you will be presented a list of doctors that are credible and well-experienced. This will help you avoid sudden medical expenses.
I had a 2:00 appointment with the fellow. So I got to his office at 1:45 to fill out the paperwork. After I had finished with that, I sat in the waiting room…and sat . . . and sat. and sat. I read through every issue of People Magazine that was there. I was starting on an issue of Cosmopolitan when, at 2:45, I was finally ushered into the “examination room” by a very comely dental assistant.
At 3:10, this little Italian fellow, complete with the open shirt, hairy chest and the obligatory heavy gold chains comes in, opens my mouth, takes a few x-rays and declares; “We’ll remove the tooth (Who’s this “we”?), extract the wisdom tooth behind it that is below the gum, cut the wisdom tooth down to size and replant it in the spot where the offending tooth used to be.”
You’re going to do WHAT? In MY mouth?
He sounded like a lot of pain to me, but he was the expert.
“What? Whatever happened to just removing the crown so that my dentist can redo the root canal?” I asked.
The answer was a brusque shake of the head. “Can’t do it?” he said curtly and offered no explanation for his decision.
He then turned, and as he was walking out of the examination room, he said over his shoulder, “See my secretary on the way out.”
The guy had all the bedside manner of a Mako shark.
When I saw his secretary on the way out, she set up an appointment for me to come and have the surgery performed, and then she said, “And, on your next appointment you’ll need to bring the payment of $1700.”
I looked at her, blinked stupidly, and said, “How’s that again?”
She stared at me wide-eyed, pursed her lips and said flatly, “Seriously. $1700.”
“How long is this operation going to take?” I asked.
“Just about an hour,” was the terse reply.
“$1700 for an hour’s work? I guess the doc needs a new, solid gold necklace, huh?”
I walked out of the office and never returned.
I then went back to my dentist and said that I wanted another option.
When I explained to him, in graphic detail and wonderfully colorful expletives, what had happened in Guido’s office, he told me that he could pull the tooth, and put a post in its place over which he could then put a new crown.