Let me start off by saying that this story is not for the squeamish.
I have a bad tooth. It is number 14. It has caused me a lot of pain and a lot of money over the past several years.
About six years ago, my dentist discovered that the tooth had a crack in it and suggested that we crown it. So we did and it was fine for a couple of years until I bit a rock in my food at Houston’s Restaurant in Manhattan Beach on my anniversary. After dealing with the pain in my tooth stemming from that incident, I returned to my dentist. He advised that there was a good possibility that the tooth was damaged beneath the crown and that I would need to have a root canal done on the tooth in the future. Houston’s insurance company gave me the run-around upon hearing that news – even though they had promised to take care of it. At this writing they haven’t done anything or paid anything.
Several months later, in 2004, I ended-up having to have a root-canal done on that tooth and they had to drill through the crown to do it. That was bad enough, but at least the issue was taken care of (unfortunately out of my own pocket).
Then along comes 2008 and I start experiencing pain and swelling in my gums above that very same tooth. It turns out that there was an infection in that area where the root canal had been performed. So my dentist sends me back to the Endodontist to double-check and the Endo says, “you need surgery!” I asked, "How much will it cost?" He replied, "How much do you have?"
So Monday morning I had to go in for oral surgery. Of course, there had to be complications. After using several different power tools along with some other sharp and painful instruments – including what I can only describe as a small mallet used to strike another instrument quite intensely that was attached to the crown which was attached to my tooth which -- incredibly -- was still attached to my mouth – the doctor discovered more trouble than he anticipated. Shocking, I know. (Funny how he seemed surprised that there was a bigger problem than he thought after striking me several times in the mouth with a mallet.) By this time, I had become sufficiently prayed-up and ready for heaven – half expecting to wake up there at any moment.
So the doctor working on me called in reinforcements. The top Endo came in and started prodding and poking around in the canyon that his partner had just excavated with the aforementioned “pain-and-trauma-causing toolkit.” After a few moments of conferring, the two doctors, (who had now ganged up on me), then apprised me that they would also need to do a bone graft in the area. In response, I garbled two words, “More Anesthetic!”
Coming out of the building after the surgery with Karlene, I had an ice-pack on my bruised and swollen face. A guy coming into the building looked at me and said, “What does the other guy look like?”
Anyway I’m home now, letting my face, mouth, teeth and the newly-stitched canyon of #14, heal. I feel like I got punched in the face and mouth several times by a fighter. I look like it too. And hey, I paid good money for the experience! Well, on the bright side, maybe this oatmeal, pudding and ice cream diet will work wonders for me.
Until next time...
“Karlene, where’s the Advil?!”