In which I annoy a medical professional

Carie_0fada0_3648754So.  Uh.  Oops?

You may recall my misadventures in corn chippery over the weekend.  The doctor at the ER who checked me out said she thought my tooth might be cracked, so I made an appointment with an actual dentist like a big boy to have it looked at.  Now, this person is “my dentist” in the sense that ten years ago when the exact same thing happened to me (possibly not involving corn chips) his office was the one I went to.  I’m not afraid of the dentist, I swear, I just … don’t prioritize it?  So the last time I was in there was the last time I was in there.

Anyway, what I figured would happen was that they’d look at the tooth, do some X-rays, maybe a cleaning, and then make a recommendation for what to do about the tooth in the longer term.  And if they tell me that the tooth needs to come out, so be it.  I’m grown, I can handle a little tooth pull.  It’ll be fine.

So. Dental assistant gently chided me for the length of time in between visits (fair) inspected my teeth (expected) took some X-rays (still following the script) and then called the dentist in, and then the whole damn thing went sideways.

“So, we’re gonna take that out today,” is how he started the conversation.

“Uh,” I said.  “Today?”

“Right now,” he said, gesturing at a pile of tools behind him.

“About that,” I say, realizing that in a very real way my entire life has been leading up to the next three sentences that are about to come out of my mouth, “It’s my 10th anniversary?  And I have reservations at an expensive steakhouse and tickets to Hamilton tonight?  I am not throwing away my shot.”

And of course neither of them get it.

“What are you saying?” he asks.

“We are not going to be pulling any of my teeth today.  I intend to be eating a large steak in about eight hours.  I’ll make an appointment for next week.”

… it didn’t go over well.

So, serious question: I had not for a single second anticipated the possibility that absent an imminent dental emergency they were going to just go and yank a tooth out of my mouth on no notice.  All of my training with medical procedures for my entire life has led me to believe that this is the decision flowchart:

  1. Make medical appointment to discuss/diagnose problem.
  2. Are you dying or in danger of imminent death?  If yes, go to 4.  If not, go to 3.
  3. Make second appointment sometime in the future to remedy problem.
  4. Do surgery, or radiation, or whatever.

So apparently I need to add a 2a, which reads are we gonna pull a tooth? and if the answer is yes you also go to 4.

Anyway, I stuck to my guns– turns out it’s awfully hard to convince me to let you yank a tooth out of my mouth if I didn’t wake up today prepared for tooth extraction and have very expensive uncancellable plans that will be totally screwed up if you try to pull my teeth– and now I have an appointment next Thursday for a tooth extraction.

Which I’m sure will be all sorts of fun and generate at least one more blog post.

(Please, somebody, speak up in comments and tell me if I should have been expecting this– because I literally hadn’t even considered the idea that they’d go straight to an extraction without specifically scheduling it.  Am I nuts?)

Published by

Luther M. Siler

The author of SKYLIGHTS, THE BENEVOLENCE ARCHIVES and several other books.

10 thoughts on “In which I annoy a medical professional

  1. I would have expected some warning as well, even though my prior experience tells me otherwise. One of the dentists at the office I visit (who I try to avoid) talks about me with the hygienist without actually consulting me first. And I’m in the room with them. One time she told the hygienist to get a mold of my teeth because I would need a retainer. Again, no consultation of me, and not even a cursory “we think you need to wear a retainer again.” The dentist left the room, and I courteously told the hygienist that the retainer mold can wait (she’s very nice and I have a nice, see-you-twice-per-year friendship with her). Moral of the story: I’m not getting a damn retainer, and I’m going to be even more stubborn about it if you don’t address me as an adult human with agency.

    All of that is to say: I’m glad you stood your ground 🙂


  2. I’m still awestruck that you were able to quote Hamilton, in reference to Hamilton, and no one got it. Also, I hope you had a great anniversary, and that dinner and Hamilton were worth delaying tooth removal.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Is it really necessary to take it out at all? I am very wary of treatment dentists try to force one into, especially “right now, before you can think about it”.. Mine wanted to put multiple visible fillings in my front teeth… until I let(/made) them do an hour long “professional prophylactic clean” so that the fillings would at least be the same colour as my unstained teeth, at which point they decided that I didn’t actually need the fillings after all. 12 years later I still don’t have fillings in my front teeth.


  4. I can’t say anything about your inter dental stretch, I managed to avoid them from 1987 to last summer when one of my molars broke and needed a crown.
    I really do think he should have explained what is wrong and options for fixing it though. His approach was rather barbaric.


  5. I do the old every-six-months cleaning, because I neglected my teeth for so long, and I have a great dentist, (which you’d think are as rare as hens teeth, but my dentist before this one was great too) (I think they may be the only two great dentists in existence) so last year when I felt chip in one of my teeth, after the obligatory x-rays he fixed it there and then, but this is because I have an on-going relationship.
    Good on you for sticking to your guns.


  6. You are NOT crazy for assuming this would just be an exam-type visit. I mean, they didn’t even know what your tooth looked like, so how could they know how much time to block for your appointment when you made it?! That is seriously strange to me.

    On top of that, my husband is always trying to get them to pull his broken, cracked teeth and they always want to do crazy things to save the tooth (even though his teeth are weak from chemo received in the 90s) — any filling, etc. they do ends up falling off or out anyway. He would LOVE to have a dentist just go right to the “let’s pull that tooth” option and they never do. (Maybe I should send him to your dentist – ha!)

    I’m glad you didn’t throw away your shot! 😉


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