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, , | Healthy | December 8, 2017

(After looking for a good long while, I finally find a dentist that takes my insurance. I’ve only been to a dentist twice in my life — I grew up very poor — but I’ve been having bad pain in my jaw. An older gentleman, the dentist, ushers me behind a curtain and sits me on the dentist chair.)

Dentist: “So, how long since your last dental appointment?”

Me: “About six years ago I went to a free dental clinic. Before that, I think I was in second grade. That’s it.”

Dentist: *flatly* “Ah. So you probably have bad teeth. Open up; let me see the damage. Do you even brush your teeth?”

(My wife and I make significant eye contact around the curtain. The dentist puts on gloves and pokes my teeth a couple of times with a finger.)

Dentist: “Huh. You’ve actually got great teeth. Did you grow up in a third world country?”

Me: “I grew up in Tennessee.”

Dentist: “Oh, so THAT’S why. Southern people don’t take care of their teeth. Well, your teeth look really good actually, except for that overlap in the front.” *he pokes my top front teeth, one of which overlaps the slightest bit onto the other* “That’s unfortunate because without it you’d have perfect teeth. I’m not sure why you came in today. You don’t have any cavities.”

Me: “…what about that jaw pain?”

Dentist: “Right, that. Well, I guess I could take X-rays if you want. I’m not sure why you’d want them. You’re just grinding your teeth.”

Me: “I’ve never had dental X-rays done, though. Shouldn’t we get an X-ray to check?”

Dentist: *massive sigh* “Fine, fine, we’ll do them. I think you just want to waste some time.”

(Lo and behold, the X-rays showed my bottom wisdom teeth needed to come out ASAP. They grew sideways and are pushing the roots of the teeth next to them, shifting the teeth and causing my pain. The dentist was surprised, and then tried to sell me a $100 mouth guard that would stop the pain, because he thought I’m grinding my teeth and that my wisdom teeth had nothing to do with it. We did not take him up on the offer and are looking for a new dentist.)

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