Monday, February 18

Aren't You Gonna Smile For Me?


I know, this picture is all kinds of grodes. It's important, though.

I snapped it a few hours before a dentist's appointment. As you can see, I've got a tooth that, ever since my adult teeth grew in, has been slightly underdeveloped. The official name is 'peg lateral,' but come on, it's a fang and everyone knows it. I've had this fang for something like 20 years now, and quite frankly, it's never been that big of a deal.

I had braces that straightened most everything else out as a teen, but I always left the fang alone, logically because fixing it would be considered cosmetic surgery, which means my insurance wouldn't cover it and I could never, ever afford to fix it ever. I had long ago accepted that this was the way it was going to be forever, and I had become okay with that. I've never judged people based on their teeth (I've always thought that Jewel was kind of hot because of her teeth), and I always hoped that people who liked me wouldn't judge me, either.

I have a relentless dentist, though. I kind of love the guy; he's a gun-toting Libertarian (at least in my estimation) who thinks my tattoos are 'gang symbols' and always takes the time to ask me how 'the book-writing business is going.' His humor is bone-dry, his handshake bone-cracking. He's what would happen if Ron Swanson became a dentist (looks like him too), and he's an absolute master at what he does for a living. This kind of no-nonsense attitude is what I look for when my health is on the line, and I made a point to make him my primary dentist for these reasons and more.

For the last couple of years now, he had been asking me when 'we' were going to fix my fang. Each time, I told him 'we' would get around to it when 'we' fell ass-backwards into an extra $10,000, because I knew it would be mind-blowingly expensive and 100% out-of-pocket. Each time I visited, he would inquire, and each time I would give the same response. It just wasn't happening; I didn't have that kind of money. This may sound a little rednecky of me, but getting your teeth all fixed and fancified always seemed like something you did when you ran out of other things to spend money on; a luxury I have not yet experienced, regardless of how the 'book-writing business' was going.

He was persistent, though; the fang was clearly bothering him more than it was bothering me. Finally, the last time I was there for a bi-annual cleaning, he had apparently seen enough.

He leaned in close and sighed.

"Okay. Here's what we're going to do. We're going to fix that peg lateral with filling composite material. This way, it'll show up as a filling and not as a cosmetic procedure, which means your insurance should cover most of it. Sound good?"

"Um...yeah. I didn't even realize that was an option."

Well, my mouth had about six different implements inside of it, so it was more like "UNG, YAA. I RIDDERNT EEREN REARIZE RAHT HAZ AN ONION."

I wiped the blood off my chin and exited the building. I was excited.

A week later, a quote from my insurance company showed up in my mailbox. The entire procedure would cost me $130. That I could handle.

The entire procedure took less than an hour. It turns out that my dentist is an artist in sculpting fake teeth on the level of a Michelangelo; I understand now why he was so eager to fix me up. By the time he handed me a mirror with which to view his handiwork, I couldn't even tell which tooth was the one he had fixed.


Here I am now, and I cannot thank him enough. Not just for saving me an assload of money (something most dentists couldn't care less about in regards to their patients), but for clearly making my teeth look better. I'm smiling more now, which means that, at least on a subconscious level, that fang bothered me a little more than I thought it did. He didn't have to do any of this, which is an important distinction to make, here. Dude just knew he could make me look better, and essentially pestered me until I allowed him to.

How cool is that?

Sound off in the comments section, smile pretty, and enjoy your day.

I have never met a vampire personally, but I don't know what might happen tomorrow.
Bela Lugosi

Congratulations. You have a good dentist. Stick with that dude. Because crappy dentists are everywhere - I don't know why, considering that dentists supposedly have the highest suicide rate of the healthcare professions.
This just means you have a good dentist -- trying to figure out the best for you while still getting paid. Mine would do something similar -- only she's a cute gal of Italian descendent that is a bit of a movie buff. Oh, and she's been popping a lot of babies out lately.
JESS - Chomp!
B - I agree. I wonder why that it, though. It would seem that Dentist is the way to go if you want to be in a hands-on healthcare profession. I know they, generally, get paid out the ass, too.
HOSS - Totally; dude knows what he's doing in the chair and behind the calculator.

Also, I like the cut of your dentist's jib.

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