Tuesday, July 3, 2007

The Verdict

I watch him as he examines my x-rays. He frowns as he rubs his chin, a four o’clock shadow emerging at three in the afternoon. For me, it is nearly midnight as I recover from jet lag and a trans – Atlantic trip.

“They were pretty bad before we started but the ortho’s just done for them. It happens sometimes. Speeded up the process. She’s right, you’ll be lucky if they last the year. You’d be throwing good money away.” [translation = four of your teeth are falling out braces or no braces, surgery or no surgery] I say nothing. [translation = sulk]

He doesn’t say it, but I know he wants to – ‘you should have had this all done 25 years ago when you were young.’ But of course such procedures didn’t exist 25 years ago, especially in England. I have the temptation to stomp my feet and shout ‘not fair,’ but I’m sitting down. I’ve been in braces for three and a half years. I could drop down dead tomorrow and I’d still be wearing braces. I could drop down dead the day after tomorrow with four more teeth missing and still wearing braces. If the procedures are ever finished I will probably drop down dead the very next day and never get a return on my investment. It’s all a scam to filch me of my very last pound. [translation = dollar]

“I’ll be o.k. Implants are painless by comparison to what you’ve already been through, it’ll be a sinch!” [translation = but you’ll be financially bankrupt] “Tell you what, it’s not gonna cost you any more time. You’ll be done by……done by Christmas as long as you have it done straight away.” I pretend to read the documents, all the risks, no liability, no come back. I should have had them all extracted when we first landed in SF airport 12 years ago and gone for dentures and been done with it.

“Open up, let me have another look.” He prods me with one foot Q-tips. “That’s a great bite! You look great.” [Translation = each tooth meets it’s friend]

I pout which is hard to do when your mouth is arched open fighting the opposing force of the elastic bands. I’m tempted to bite off the end off his Q-tip. I debate whether I am angry, sad or poor?

I suspect he is also a thought reader. “Come on, everything else has been covered by your medical insurance, medically necessary. This is just the last step!”

I don’t point out the 20% that wasn’t covered, to say nothing of missing 6 months of my life. [translation = eating and talking] I can’t help debate whether my fees will constitute a new dishwasher in his household or a foreign holiday? [translation = disingenuous] I would like to mutter about a second opinion, but I already know that he’s the best there is.

I think of all the relatives and friends that we met during our recent holiday in England, where I swore that everything would be done at the very latest by Christmas. I watched approximately 53 faces sigh, roll their eyes and shake their heads.

“Doctor E and doctor H met over lunch to discuss your case you know. They have your best interests at heart. He’s not sure if you can take much more of this, so this is definitely your best option rather than trying to do it later.” I smirk! Bet they chewed all their delicious lunch, masticated every morsel, chatting with their fully functioning teeth about the poor skeletal individual that they have conspired to make truly miserable. [translation = sour grapes]

“You shouldn’t feel bad you know,” I look him straight in the pupils as he adds, “it’s just genetic!” I check to see if there is any hint of irony or sarcasm. There isn’t, not a trace.

I burst out "laughing."


Awesome Mom said...

Aww man! Well hopefully it will eventually be worth it some day.

Anonymous said...

Oh no.....

I don't know whether to laugh or cry... you've been really patient with the whole thing... atleast in blogland..


Jerry Grasso said...

I dunno what your favorite meal is...but when this is all said and done, got splurge.

Scribbit said...

It's bad enough getting something done like that but to have no end in sight. That's the real bummer.

Jocelyn said...


So you're awfully attached to the eating and laughing stuff, eh? Hardcore, lady.

The Anti-Wife said...

I've had a couple of implants - in my jaw not my chest! They really aren't that big a deal. You sit in the chair, they put you to sleep, you wake up a little sore, they give you good drugs and you eat soft stuff for a week or two. A few months later they put in things that look, feel and act like real teeth and you're done. It's totally worth it!

I say buck up and do it!

flutter said...

gah, crapola.

Shauna Roberts said...

I went through something similar as an adult—braces to get my teeth ready for surgery, surgery that involved breaking my jaw in two places and then screwing it back together, and then continuing the braces until my teeth shifted and lengthened. Finally, my back teeth met again and I could chew food for the first time in six months. You have my fullest sympathy for all the time you've spent at the orthodontist and the pain and the boring soft meals.

Stephanie said...

I'm not sure doing it when you're younger is the solution. When you're younger and you're me (which, obviously, you cannot be), then you cannot afford the 'best' dentist, or the second best, or the third, ect. You can afford the guy you breaks off a chunk of your tooth and yells at you when you spit it out (after he left it in your mouth for fifteen minutes and wouldn't let you talk). Then, when someone else comes, he's really, really nice and promises never to yell at you and keeps that promise, but the damage is done and you still cannot afford the right repairs, so you still have to settle for teeth that don't quite work.

I'm holding out hope that when I'm older, and better educated, and thus can afford better healthcare you can actually get your teeth into a condition in which anbesol products are not a household necessity.

Oh, The Joys said...

K has an implant (one) and it is the BANE of his existence.

The Anti-Wife said...

Step 1 - get a great doctor.

Step 2 - follow all instructions of said great doctor including those for post surgercal care.

Step 3 - enjoy wonderful new teeth.

Step 4 - repeat steps 1-3!

Christy said...

Ouch, that sounds incredibly horrifying, I'm so sorry for you.

I'm supposed to have a bunch of work done on my jaw but I'm way too chicken, I'd much rather live in denial.

Best of luck, Christy:)

ewe are here said...

It's stories like this that make me wonder why children aren't guaranteed good dental care... to help prevent such stories down the line.

Sorry you're having such a difficult time with your teeth... luckily my husband understands my concerns about the dental care in your old stomping grounds and, like me, will be making sure that they get it no matter what.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

So sorry for your pain. This is a tender subject with me now. We no longer have dental insurance, and we both need a great deal of catch-up expensive work which can't be afforded, including two implants for my husband.

I feel guilty toward my teeth every day.

I hope the work you need is minimally unpleasant and turns out perfectly. Your new smile and good food will be so worth it.