Sunday, March 13, 2011

Crown me: Affordable dental emergencies can be a piece of cake.

Anyone who's spent any measurable amount of time with me knows that I have a general aversion to dentists. I'm sure the dentist I had when I was a kid is currently laughing it up with other despots and tyrants, deep in the crusty recesses of hell.

Just like lovers and mailmen, I've had very good dentists and very bad dentists. So imagine my glee at having found the Best Dentist in the Universe!

He throws off the combination vibe of favorite grandpa/highly skilled craftsman. Unlike many dentists half his age, my dentist doesn't do anything to my teeth that doesn't actually need to be done. No unnecessary root canal that will pay for his kid's summer camp. No whimsical crown to pay off his boat.

Having started practicing his dental magic the year I was born, my only fear of this particular wizard is that I will outlive him.

And his microscope-encrusted crown deserves a bit of polish after last week's dental episode.

Logan made a tasty pie-within-a-cake treat for my sister's birthday last week.

After a delicious dinner, the presentation of gifts and a denouement filled with gratitude and relaxation, it was cake time!

I had one bite of this crazy-fabulous pie/cake concoction, and I felt something oddly incongruous in my mouth.

At first, I thought it was some kind of cultural cake totem Logan included in celebration of my sister's birthday. Some jewel or prize he'd added to his recipe. Because 15-year-olds sometimes do that kind of thing.

Closer inspection made it clear that one of my teeth had popped right out of its comfy spot in my head.

Very disconcerting.

I think I stole a bit of my sister's birthday thunder when it was realized that I'd just lost a tooth.

First thing the next morning, I called my fabulous dentist. I knew when I called that he only works two days a week. Part of me wants to believe he's taking those other five days to energize himself, simply to stay alive long enough to see me through the remainder of my dental requirements.

My left brain knows he's getting his just desserts, living a full life that doesn't involve the dank, dubious interiors of other people's mouths.

Regardless of how he spends his time off, I was lucky enough to get an appointment with him the very next day.

I arrived with my tooth in a baggie.

I was assuming the worst.

In my world, 'the worst' would have involved a painful procedure, followed by a bill that was even more painful.

But that's not what happened.

Sure, it was no cake walk.

But 90 minutes later, my old crown had been cleaned out, drilled in and screwed back to where it belonged. Ah, Camelot.

After effusive thanks, it was time to pay the bill. I was expecting I'd have to dip into my emergency reserves, such as they are.

I took the long walk, armed only with my new tooth, and was presented with the grand total, of 90.60. My dental insurance will capture the rest.

Having opened wide to my share of dental shysters, I felt somewhat vindicated. And I definitely felt better without having that gaping hole in my mouth.

My crown had found purchase once again, without putting me in beggar's prison.

I felt like a queen.

Let them eat cake.


  1. Awesome piece of writing. Laugh out loud funny, as they say. In this case, rightly so.

    Made me smile.

  2. Wow! That's so cool! Thanks so much!!!

  3. I love this, Mary. Your writing is so real and funny. I popped off a crown once while on a training job in LA. Had to find another place that could put it back on in a pricey part of town. This was, you know, one of those 3-bed, 1,500 SF bungalow, $1,750,000 neighborhoods that would be around $250,000 here, so I didn't know what I would find. They were as gracious as your guy, however, and superglued that baby back on, plus gave me a little kit with extra glue and a special mini glue-spreading brush for only $50! My faith restored.

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