After sharing my DENTAL NIGHTMARE with you last week, I drove to my final dental appointment this morning with a grim expression on my face. I was ready, oh so ready, to get this botched crown business over with and move on with my life.
I arrived promptly at ten and a technician called me back immediately. She removed my temporary crown and then a new dentist (still not Dr. Whiteteeth) came in and said tersely, “Hello. I’m Dr. McRootcanal.”
“I’m Lindsay,” I replied in a tone that I believed effectively conveyed the fact that while I was generally a very well-mannered, friendly person with a rich and varied social life, I was not pleased with the current state of things. Introductions established, Dr. McRootcanal got to work. She put my permanent crown in, took it out, used what sounded like a tiny electric drill on it for a moment, put it back in, took it back out, and left the room.
When she returned a few minutes later, she had a strange look on her face.
“I know this has been a horrible experience for you,” she said, sitting down beside my chair so that we were face to face. “And I’m going to say the worst thing you could possibly hear right now.”
I stared at her, mute with horror.
“Your crown doesn’t fit. I’m going to have to numb you up and take another impression.”
“What?” I whispered. “What?!”
“I’m so sorry,” she said. I sat in silence for a moment. And then I did something I’ve never done before in a dentist’s chair.
Like a little girl.
“I don’t understand what’s happening,” I said, sniffling into a Kleenex the technician handed me. “What is going on?”
“I don’t know what Dr. Payne was doing or why this happened,” she said. “All I can say is that you are right to feel this way. This is very unfair and there will be no charge for this crown. I can’t change what happened but I can fix it.”
She was good, I had to admit. But I needed answers. ANSWERS, DAMMIT.
“But… I don’t get it,” I said. “Is this just me? I mean, this all seems really weird.”
“Dr. Payne has had to leave the practice because of some medical issues,” she said. “And I don’t believe he will be returning.”
OH. WELL THAT EXPLAINS THAT.
Dr. McRootcanal had already told me what she thought was the worst possible thing I could hear at that moment, but the lady actually managed to trump herself.
“I hate to ask this,” she said, looking down at my dress, “but are you expecting?”
Y’all. I couldn’t even make this up.
“No,” I said stiffly.
“Well, I… I had to ask,” she stammered, “because… Well… You’re wearing a very loose dress.” I pursed my lips and looked down at my hands. There was simply no recovery from that moment. I lost 15 pounds over the last several weeks, you see, and now that I’m at my goal weight, I thought that I no longer needed to bother with anything like Spanx.
Clearly, I thought wrong.
Sensing an impending breakdown, Dr. McRootcanal strongly suggested that I take advantage of the nitrous oxide option, which I accepted in order to avoid embarrassing myself further in front of the hygienists who had all gathered at the door of my room. Once the gas kicked in, she gave me a big shot of Novocaine and got to work. It was much like the first time around, except that it didn’t hurt as much and she didn’t slice my lip with a sharp instrument. At the end, I was fitted with my THIRD temporary crown, told– once again– that they would put a ‘rush’ on the permanent one, and promised– once again– that they’d call me the moment it arrived.
Still high on the effects of the nitrous oxide, the right side of my mouth and neck completely numb, I stumbled through the office door and somehow made it home. I was just about to conclude this post by saying that, thank God, the worst was now, FINALLY, over.
And then I bit down on a sympathy square of Ghirardelli chocolate… and my temporary crown popped out.
Top image via Wonderlane/Flickr