I admit I fall into the camp of not so religious people who still believe that things happen for a reason. I have to, because it’s either that or cry about how much life sucks.
It all started back around Halloween when Matt developed an abscessed tooth. He went to our regular dentist of almost 20 years, and she started a root canal. He couldn’t make it back in right away, and it wasn’t until December when he had the time and money to finish it. When he called to make the appointment, our dentist “wasn’t available” and he was told he’d have to see her associate, some new guy we’d never even met before. Matt went in and the associate dentist looked at his tooth, and in a rather dodgy way said he was referring Matt to an endodontist; he said he couldn’t finish the root canal because he was “unfamiliar with the equipment.” Isn’t all dental equipment for a root canal basically the same? And if he couldn’t do it, why couldn’t Matt just get an appointment with our dentist?
Then Christmas came and went, and we had to wait to see what Matt’s schedule was going to be for school and work before we could make an appointment with our dentist. I had planned to call and say that if we couldn’t see her, we would just look for a different dentist. I never got the chance to make that call, and I’m eternally grateful. A couple of weeks ago, I messaged my friend who used to be our dentist’s receptionist to ask about one of the associate dentists that had worked there a while back, because I couldn’t find an office number for her. My friend said that the associate had pretty much retired, but that the dentist she worked for now was really nice. This dentist had also been an associate of our regular dentist, and I remembered that we all liked her, so I told my friend I’d call on Monday to make an appointment. Of course, I forgot all about it until I had a crown come loose on Wednesday night. In one of those cosmic moments, just an hour or so later, my friend messaged me to ask if I still wanted to come in, and I said that I had to now, since my crown had come off. She gave me the number, and I called first thing on Thursday morning.
Dr. S. was able to squeeze me in right before lunch, so expecting that I might require drilling (and numbing), I took two Klonopin and Aubrey drove me over. After the assistant took an x-ray of my tiny bit of remaining tooth, Dr. S. came in and explained that she recommended an extraction and implant, because there wasn’t enough tooth left to really hold a crown. She gave me an injection in my gum and in the roof of my mouth, and as she tried to work the tooth loose, it just kept shattering, so she had to dig it out in little pieces. When she finally got the last bit out, she said that she couldn’t do an implant for a while because I needed a bone graft; the buccal plate (the bit of bone that holds the tooth) was completely gone. I agreed, so she did the graft, sewed me up, gave me various prescriptions for meds, and told me to come back in about a week so she could check on it.
I was really happy with her office, her staff, and her, so I went ahead and made appointments for Aubrey and Matt to have their cleanings done, and hoped she would be able to finish Matt’s root canal. The kids love my friend, so they both felt really comfortable about going. They were about six months overdue for a cleaning, but we are very good about brushing (if not so much about flossing), and our old dentist kept giving us all clean bills of oral health, saying we didn’t have any cavities, so we weren’t too worried. I figured they didn’t need me there, since they are old enough to handle going on their own.
At around 11 am, two hours after Aubrey’s appointment started, I started to wonder what was up, so I called her. She was still in the chair, and was just about in tears. She said she had several cavities…I asked how many, and in the background, I heard the hygienist counting, “28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34.” Aubrey said, “34.” I asked, “34 what?” and she whined, “CAVITIES!”
Her mouth was so bad, Dr. S. thought she hadn’t been to the dentist for at least five or six years. We went TWICE A YEAR! Matt’s mouth was just as bad. He has 18 cavities, and will need root canals, implants, crowns, and fillings. Aubrey needs everything except for an implant, and Dr. S. isn’t 100% sure that Aubrey won’t need a root canal, too.
Ron’s secret career fantasy was to be a dentist, so dental care is a constant source of nagging around here. Thank goodness, because there’s no telling how bad it would have been if he didn’t make her brush her teeth all the time! On the upside, he will never have to remind her again. She and I both gave up soda for plain water, and are staying away from HFCS until her cavities are all under control.
Poor Aub is livid about what awful condition her mouth is in…and because several fb friends have already asked the question of are we sure we can trust this dentist, I will answer by saying that she showed Aubrey her teeth on the monitor (Aub took shots of the monitor with her phone), and one does not need to be a specialist to know what the big black spots are. These are not small, hidden soft spots of cavities waiting to happen…these are holes in her teeth from years of neglect.
Because Matt just had a new patient exam and not a cleaning, we won’t have a treatment plan for him until his next appointment which is in ten days. Even Ron agrees that as much as he thinks that the kids need to be mostly financially independent at this point in their lives, we can’t let them “suffer and build character” when it comes to dental emergencies, and these are definitely emergencies. As it is, Matt’s already losing at least one tooth. This is a huge deal because his teeth are perfectly straight, as are Aubrey’s. Losing a tooth and not putting something there to take its place could cause his teeth to shift around, and we know he’ll never keep up with a bridge, so an implant is the best way to deal with it.
What this all boils down to is being trapped in South Texas for at least TWO more years, not ONE. Just Aubrey’s mouth alone is going to be over $6000. Matt’s will be well over that, as will mine, I’m sure. Depending on how bad Ron’s is, we may have just doubled our debt, right when I was finally making progress and had whittled down over $12,000 in 9 months. I can deal with dental disaster. I can deal with our finances being fucked over. I can even deal with the betrayal of trusting someone with my children’s care and having them not give a crap. But forcing me to live in Texas for TWO more summers? Now THAT pisses me off!