Saturday, July 07, 2012

Pain & Vanity & Missing Teeth

Sooo.... I went and broke a tooth. A front tooth.

This was not a little chip (I'd done that already and was trying to live with it), but a big ol' can't-miss-it-if-you-tried chunk. I mean, I'm already bucktoothed, do I need to buck-half-toothed?


Let me tell you how that made me just sit down and break into sobs... I mean, I haven't had such a good cry in at least two weeks! No, seriously, though. I really did have a little bit of a meltdown.

I had chipped this tooth some time ago. It was ugly but not horrendous. I was just dealing with it because there are so many more important things going on in the world, right? Okay. So I was used to the chipped tooth. (I'd even got into the habit of running my tongue over it.) Then night before last, I bumped the tooth with a drinking glass. No problem - I just felt clumsy for having trouble finding my mouth. I went to bed and woke up a few hours later to go to the bathroom. Ran my tongue over that tooth and something just felt different. Something was different all right. Where I'd had a little bit of a gap, I now had a space I that could be seen from anywhere in the world. Damn, damn, damnit.

I hardly slept the rest of the night. I was trying to figure out how the hell I broke a tooth while asleep. It's not like I was sleep-drinking or having real boxing matches. What did I do, piss off the tooth fairy?

When everyone was up, I went in to show my sister and that heffa just about fell out of her wheelchair laughing. That was about all I could take. I had a flash-sob attack like you wouldn't believe. It was one of those crying-til-I-couldn't breathe strikes. I mean, I have put up with getting fat and losing my hair and half my mind, but, damn-good-googly, did I need to look like a carjacked chipmunk?

Maybe it was that my breakdown-of-the-week was worse than usual. Probably it was that I looked so pitiful (I'm good at that lately) and UGLY don't forget ugly. Whatever it was, my sis got right on the phone and found a dentist that takes my "insurance" and could get me in first thing the next morning. (She apologized for laughing at me. She said that the minute she'd seen my missing tooth, she'd had a flashback of a "Roseanne" episode where Rosie lost a front tooth. Whatever.)

Anyway. Let me tell you something good: the folks at Glacier Dental are AH-MAY-ZING!! 

I am a big chicken when it comes to pain. Any kind of pain, but I have a special spot on my "Weirdity" shelf for pain with noise. Dentists always use drills. Drills make noise. You can't see exactly where they are using that drill, but you hear it. Man. That just freaks me out.

The dental techs did give me that "laughing gas" and the dentist did numb my mouth before inserting a needle big enough to be a Seattle landmark. They even gave me these shades to wear (to keep water and drill stuff out, I'm sure, but it helped that they couldn't see my tears of fear as well). They were all super nice, but, still - I hate going to the dentist (which is why I was there in the first place).

Now, this is a little bit embarrassing to admit, but it's been a looong time since I've been to a dentist. Back when I had some of the best insurance in the world, my teeth were just fine. When I moved to Arizona, those fillings that the military dentists practiced giving patients were starting to loosen and fall out. Of course, by this time, I had no dental insurance. Still, I wasn't too bad off.  Plus I had other things to worry about, like a mortgage, car note and insurance on that car... Then, while with the man who cannot be my ex soon enough for me, the only insurance I had was called Pray and Hope, and my teeth still weren't as bad as they should have been, But, somehow, in the past three years, my teeth were getting worse and worse. I was losing every filling I had and holes were appearing in my back teeth... ~sigh~

Yesterday, the dentist I saw was the essence of discretion and graciousness. I know this is true because when he looked in my mouth, he did not A) run yelling and screaming from the room or, B) run from the room laughing and wetting himself or C) start lecturing me about how I ended up in his chair. He did not even snicker. He did, however, calmly explain that I needed a root canal for the front tooth, "extractions" of three back teeth and fillings replaced for two (or three, I can't remember) top teeth. I will be damned if I didn't even have a hole or something in a crown I've had for about 12 years. Really, Trudy? Seriously, girl? The shame...

Anyway, I now have a (temporarily) fixed front chopper, three holes where pieces of teeth used to be and a big old hole in the Divorce/Bankrupty/Medical Fund I was just starting to feel good about. Sometimes, I feel like it's a half-step forward and 20 steps back.

(Side note about Glacier Dental: they are having a movie night for patients. If I want, I can attend a viewing of "Spiderman" in 3D next week, How cool is that? I'd even get a small drink and popcorn. That's just such an "Alaskan" thing for a business to do.)

But back to the story. Here's the real kicker: I didn't even know I had dental coverage (it's of a general amount for each year). Now that I know, I have learned that if I had gone in BEFORE July first, I would have been covered under the amount for last year. That way, I could have come back AFTER July first for the crown I'm now having to pay for. Yeah. I feel really, really stupid. On top of everything, I had to cancel attending one of the BFF's birthday smashes at Sea Galley tonight. What a freaking week this has been, right?

Depressed as the spirit behind all this is trying to make me, I'm smiling like a circus freak right now. Why? Because, damnit, I have my front tooth back!