Monday, May 19, 2008

Dental Distress

Last night I really needed a snack, so I grabbed a granola bar and was happily munching down on it when something in my mouth went horribly wrong. I spit out what looked like shards of stone, and carefully checked the remaining granola bar, thinking they'd come from it. Running my tongue over my teeth, though, I quickly discovered it wasn't the bar, it was one of my fillings. It had cracked clean off and it was shards of amalgam filling that I'd spit out. YUCK.

Inspecting it in the bathroom mirror, I could see the break. Maybe a quarter of the tooth is gone, though I suspect it was all filling. I think this was the filling that my last dentist "fixed" for me, but I'm not sure. I decided immediately that I didn't want to go back to my last dentist because I just didn't trust him. That meant I'd have to find a new dentist.

I don't like dentist visits. I have a horrible reaction to the sound of the dental vacuum (the drill doesn't bother me at all, it's the vacuum that freaks me out). I can bear a lot of pain, but dentists always manage to make me feel helpless and trapped. I have a lot of fillings and had my wisdom teeth pulled as a kid, so I've been in that chair a lot. I just don't like it much.

Then there is the matter of insurance. I haven't got any. So any dental work is going on the credit card, which is already strained. Not happy.

I started my search for a dentist by Googling dentists in my town. I already knew there were a lot, I didn't realize how many. I had to narrow it down some. I tried looking for reviews, but there just weren't many. So eventually I gave up and went to the American Dental Association website and did a search there. Then I used the map to figure out the closest ones, and started calling them blindly, hoping for someone to actually answer and be able to fit me in.

I've got an appointment at 2pm today at a dentist within walking distance. I'll give them a shot and see what happens. Hopefully she can either fix the tooth or declare it safe enough to not worry about for a few more days.