Getting Them To Understand Is Like Pulling Teeth

, , , , | Healthy | May 8, 2018

When I was eight years old, my older sister’s school had an anti-drug campaign. She came home from school one day and lectured me to never, ever take drugs. I looked up to my sister, so I solemnly promised her I wouldn’t.

About a week later, my dad took me to the dentist to get some baby teeth pulled. I was alone in the room with the dentist while my dad was in the waiting room. The dentist told me he was giving me some analgesia. I asked what that meant, and he explained that it was a drug that would make me not feel any pain.

I told him, “No, no drugs,” and refused to let him near me with the analgesia. For some reason, he did not go out to the waiting room to confer with my dad. Instead, he went ahead and pulled three teeth from an eight-year-old girl without using analgesia or any pain relief.

After a few minutes of him pulling my teeth, the burglar alarm went off in the clinic. There was no break-in, though. Apparently, my screams of pain perfectly mimicked the sound of breaking glass, fooling the alarm system. We never went back to that clinic.

The Root Of Your Problems

, , , , , | Healthy | May 5, 2018

(I am the patient in this story. After many, many years of not receiving dental treatment, I finally get good dental insurance and make an appointment with a dentist. After the x-rays come back, I have in total 14 cavities and severe sensitivity in a majority of my teeth, and I need one root canal. After many visits, I am finally down to the root canal. So far, for a majority of my appointments, the dentist has been rough, short-tempered, and pissy. I am on a time limit to get all this work done, so I just live with it. Sadly, my final appointment does not go well.)

Dentist: *jerks my head* “Oh, s***.”

Me: “Everything okay?”

Dentist: “We are going to have to stop here and send you to someone else.”

Me: “Why?”

Dentist: “I broke a drill bit in one of your roots.”

Me: “I am fine with being sent to someone else, but my insurance ends tomorrow; this root canal needs to be done.”

Dentist: “Don’t worry; it will be done. We are sending you to our specialist. He is really good at root canals.”

Me: *skeptical* “Okay, as long as it gets done.”

(Next day:)

Specialist Dentist: “I don’t know how they managed to break a bit in your root, but the good news is that it broke on the torque, so it sealed the root. We can leave it in and just finish the root canal.”

Me: “Fine, let’s just get this done.”

(Another hour later, as they finish drilling the rest of the roots…)

Specialist Dentist: “We are finished. Schedule your next appointment for the filling and the crown.”

Me: “Um, no, you need to fill this and put the crown on. My insurance ends today; I do not have $1,600 to pay out-of-pocket for this.”

Specialist Dentist: “We can’t finish this today; you’re not scheduled for that.”

(After that, they made me leave. It has been four months, and two of the fillings they did have fallen off, the tooth with the unfinished root canal has cracked, and the broken fillings have exposed nerves. I managed to scrape together enough money to fix one of the fillings, but the other broken filling is out of the budget, and so is the unfinished root canal. It’s pretty bad when a filling falls off while eating pancakes.)

At Least He Told The Tooth

, , , | Healthy | April 18, 2018

(I study dentistry in France, where you work at a dental clinic starting on your fourth year. Every half day, you’re in a different service. For example, on Tuesday mornings, I take care of cavities and the like, and on Friday afternoons I remove teeth. To remove a tooth, you obviously have to anesthetize the patient locally, and, for medical reasons, you cannot do that if the patient has taken drugs recently — especially cocaine — or you could cause them to have a heart attack. Although it is a rare occurrence and most likely wouldn’t happen anyway, we still can’t knowingly inject a drugged patient with adrenalin, which is part of our anesthesiant. A patient I know from a different service comes to have a tooth removed. Since I’ve already seen him and his file, I know he is a drug addict. On this particular day, he is acting very “twitchy.”)

Me: *after five minutes of chatting about the treatment I already performed on him while we set up the operation table* “So, have you taken any drugs lately?”

Patient: “You have to be more precise; I’ve been on drugs my entire life!”

Me: “Hm, how about that last week?”

Patient: “Sure.”

Me: “What have you taken?”

Patient: “A bit of everything, really.”

Me: “What about cocaine?”

Patient: “Oh, yeah.”

Me: “In the last three days?”

Patient: *more or less jokingly* “Are you the police? Why are you questioning me?”

Me: “Well, sir, I can’t anesthetize you if you’ve taken cocaine recently; that could cause you to have a heart attack. I personally don’t care; it’s for your sake. So, when’s the last time you’ve taken cocaine?”

Patient: “Hm… Half an hour ago.”

(I resisted the urge to face-palm and informed the patient that I could not legally or ethically remove his tooth. He told me that he had come plenty of times, been anesthetized and never had any issue, but I still refused and sent him away. I told him to come back clean after the weekend and wrote about the incident in his file, warning the next student to check whether he is clean or not. He will probably come back high as a kite and just lie about having taken anything, but at least it will not be my responsibility, then.)

It’s Still A Game If You’re Not Playing

, , , , , | Related | March 1, 2018

(While waiting for the Novocaine to kick in, I overhear a hygienist talking to a girl and her older brother. Note: before this exchange, the hygienist asked the children’s ages. They are seven and ten.)

Hygienist: “So, how did you guys spend your two days off from school?”

Girl: “We had fun with Mommy and Daddy!”

Mom: “Yes, we spent time together at the library, shopped at the mall, and played video games together.”

Boy: “Mom, we don’t even have any video games.”

Mom: “Yes, [Boy], you do. You have a Wii-U, a Nintendo Switch, and you both have iPad minis with games on them. You have plenty of video games.”

Boy: *scoffs* “Well, we don’t have the games I want, so it doesn’t count.”

A Cavity Search

, , , | Healthy | February 27, 2018

(I’ve been visiting the same dentist for about five years, and never had any issues. I’m also over thirty and have never had a cavity, so I consider myself fortunate. I go in for my six-month cleaning and let him know that as a result of a new job, I’ll be moving to a town about an hour away.)

Me: “So, this is the last time I’ll see you!”

Dentist: “Oh, we’ll miss you!”

Me: “I’ll miss you guys, too.”

Dentist: “You know, you could keep coming here. It’s not like we’re that far away, and you’ll be in town to visit your parents, since they live nearby.”

Me: “Um… Well, no, I think I’d like to find a dentist closer to where I’ll be living. You know, just in case I have an emergency.”

(The dentist tries for a few more minutes to convince me to keep visiting him, before giving up. He’s finally done with the exam.)

Dentist: “Oh, bad news. You have eleven cavities.”

Me: *completely shocked* “ELEVEN? Did you say eleven cavities? As in ten plus one?”

Dentist: *sorrowfully* “Yes. Eleven. You’ll need to get those filled right away. Let’s go up front and have my receptionist schedule the first appointment; I think we should do at least two, one side of your mouth and then the other…”

Me: *interrupting* “Wait a minute. I’ve never even had one cavity in thirty-one years! I brush and floss three times a day. You’ve always said how great my teeth look. Six months ago you said everything was fine, and now I have eleven cavities?”

Dentist: “I know. It’s very bad. Come on. Let’s get your next appointment scheduled and [Receptionist] can tell you out-of-pocket costs.”

Me: “You know, I think I’m going to hold off and get a second opinion on this. No offense, but it just seems really extreme. One or two, maybe, but eleven?”

(The dentist was adamant that I needed to get it taken care of right away, but I didn’t budge, and left without making a follow-up. I moved to my new town and found a great dentist who was surprised when I told him my last dentist found eleven cavities. He didn’t find any! Ten years later, I’ve still never had one. The worst part was that a friend of mine worked for that shady dentist; I had to call and tell him what happened and he was so embarrassed. He quit a few months later.)

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