Thursday, April 12, 2012

Thursday-10:30am: K

Due to being so extra nervous that I had emptied myself out before noon (ROFL!) I made it to the dentist yesterday--tada! My normal dental panic was heightened because of the "tooth" he wanted to work on.
This "tooth" is right next to a front tooth. I had a miserable, older dentist when I first came up here to Fargo-Moorhead who took the state medical card but complained the entire time he worked on you about how he made less money on you, you were lucky he took you at all, he wasn't giving me any more novocaine because he'd lose money, how he hated wearing gloves now because of those people with aides, and that if he was rough it was because of the gloves. And he was terribly rough. People in the waiting room kept running down the hall to the bathroom and offering for other people to go first. I saw some people chicken out and leave before their name was called. But at that time, he was the only dentist the state listed as taking the state medical card in Moorhead.
Well, he had managed to numb me up on my second visit. I was intensely focused on trying to remain immobile (he yelled at you if you flinched and threatened to quit working on you there and then) but I heard and felt a crack. I knew something had happened because he quit his usual ongoing tirade of complaints (which you could always hear in the waiting room) and just grumbled and mumbled. Sounded like he was trying to figure something out.
Okay, he briefly drilled something in his hand. In his hand? How odd, I thought. But he continued and fiddled and pushed and muttered...told me not to bite down with my front teeth (?)...and sent me on my way. The man did not allow questions.
When I got home and could get a good look...well, it looked like something grey was oozed out along the base of that capped tooth. I was very careful with it, didn't even eat anything, but it fell out within a couple hours. The. Whole. Tooth! He had broken that capped tooth right off at the base. The whole tooth! And had tried to use some kind of cement to stick it back on! Never even admitted that he had done it, either.
I called right away. They told me he was so booked up that the earliest appointment would be to squeeze me in the following week. I had to go buy some kind of denture bond stuff so I could stick the tooth back up there when I left the house to go to classes. It often fell out into my mouth during class and I secretly cupped it into a tissue. No talking. No smiling. Trips to the bathroom to jam it back up there. Was a horrible week.
When I went back, he tried to tell me it was my fault for jerking and flinching--that there was nothing he could do. I calmly told him I had not flinched or jerked my head since he yelled at me in my very first visit (and didn't bring up the fact that it wasn't even the tooth he was working on because he knew that). I asked him nicely if there wasn't something he could do. Please? (I knew he had planned on the money for the office visit, doing nothing, and kicking me out.)
He shut up and grumbled...but he was thinking. His poor wife, who was his assistant and office girl (because I'm sure he couldn't keep anybody else with how he ordered her about and shouted at her all the time), couldn't look me in the eye. Well, he drilled the actual tooth out of the center of the cap so he could fill it with cement, stuck a couple wires into the cement and when that dried he pounded the cap wires up into my jaw...and sent me on my way.
It fell out a few weeks later.
More denture stuff. No smiling. No talking. Another horrible week and a half.
He pounded it in again. Harder. Told me, in an awkwardly helpful tone like a spider to a fly, it would just keep falling out...but that he could keep pounding it in for he was afraid I'd try to hammer it in myself and he'd lose the office fee. Since he never so much as bothered to clean off the tooth and it took him less than 60 seconds, I knew he was trying to show his nicer self to me now that he saw me as a quick cash cow--LOL!
That time it didn't fall out for about a year or so. Long enough that a family dental clinic opened where they took the state medical card. That dentist pounded it back in, told me the wires were too short, but if it fell out again he wasn't sure they could ever get it back in.
I've been careful with it for years now. I get nervous and tell them to be extra careful when they clean that tooth...and have reminded dentist's not to lean their hand on it while working on other teeth. It has stayed in. But...that's the "tooth" he wanted to work on...fill in the gap between the cap and the root that has formed over the try to keep the rest of the tooth up in my jaw from decaying because then the the cap would fall out sooner...and they really don't know if they can pound it back up there again.
When you are poor, you cannot afford to get a fancy new fake tooth. ;) I am not itching to sport the hillbilly look, you know? They do not cover anything but the very basics. If a tooth gets too bad...they pull it. Doesn't matter to the government if it's a front tooth or a back one, you know? They aren't paying for things like root canals and the like. Fake teeth--just aesthetic. Not necessary.
So, you can see why I was extra, extra nervous yesterday.
But, they are so kind there! Pleasant, cheerful, and kind. After my terrible dental experiences (and I have had others), I may forever be shaking inside no matter which dentist's chair I sit in...but I shake less going to Dr. Coffey's.
To be treated with kindness and respect, no matter if you are poor...well, it's priceless. To laugh with the assistant and the dentist. To have them offer to call the senior bus for you afterwards for pickup. To be welcomed with smiles and to leave with a smile on your back...priceless!
Kindness can go a long way. I wish more people took the time to show a kindness to their client, waitress, clerk, phone operator, co-workers, everyone.
But especially, to people who aren't kind to you. It's often the angriest, bristliest people who need the most care and love. Or, at the least, to not dish it right back to them only to prove to them they were right about this being a negative world. I think of all the times I dished it right back and it makes me sad.
Spread a little kindness today. :):)
"Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again."
Og Mandino


Furry Bottoms said...

Hi Karma!

Denists never really bothered me-- don't know why. Until the last one... I figured out that my dental hygenist was married to my chiropractor, who I was on flirty terms with. I haven't been back since I found that out and I haven't been back to that chiropractor either.

I do need to find another dentist though. You are right... a little kindness goes a lonnnnng way!

Intense Guy said...

Ummm.. need a K-word....


I'm glad you and the tooth survived and that the new dentist and staff are so kind. Jeebers.. what a story...

TexWisGirl said...

what an excellent message, rita. i am SO glad you have a good, caring dentist now! it is difficult enough as it is...

Megan Adamson said...

Oh I have to go to the Dreaded Dentist next week as I cracked a back tooth...well, actually, I lost a filling, and the tooth cracked, so I'm just having it taken out.
I hate the feeling of latex gloves in my mouth, but luckily our dentist is's just the thought of sitting in THAT dreaded chair, feeling totally helpless!
Hope you are feeling better now. ;)

Beth said...

Thank you for this post Rita. I forget from time to time how very fortunate I am. I certainly needed this wake up call!

Toriz said...

I'm glad you have a nicer dentist now!

Excellent message! :)

That corgi :) said...

Ouch Rita! What a terrible experience with that first dentist; honestly I would have reported him. Terrible bedside manner, borders on malpractice if you ask me. Just awful. It doesn't matter how the bill is going to be paid with what insurance, etc., every patient needs to be treated with compassion and caring and hopefully with treatment that is right.

Glad you did find a better dentist who does seem to be that compassionate and caring!


Hilary said...

Wow.. what a miserable, unhappy man that dentist was. I'm glad you're no longer at his non-existent mercy.

Your post is a fine message of kindness though. The quote at the end is indeed a wise one.

Queenie Jeannie said...

Big, big hugs!!!

I've had my share on bad dentists too, and that is why I'm sooooo afraid to go. And that's why I make a point to make sure it's a GOOD experience for Bella, because I don't want her to have my fear!!!

So sorry for your troubles! I wish I could help!! But I'm glad they were kind to you.

Jo-Anne's Rambling said...

Bloody hell what a horror dentist experience you had I also can not afford to go to the dentist I only go to the dental clinic and only if I really have to...........and they will sometimes give us a voucher to go and see a private dentist and thankfully I have never had a problem with being treated in a rude manner.........

Except about 20 odd years ago I was seeing a dentist at the hospital yes it was before they had the denatl clinics and the dentis was an old man and he got annoyed because I couldn't open my mouth wide enough so I said I am not standing for this and started to try and get out of the chair to leave.........another dentist rushed up and took

laurak@forestwalkart said...

as soon as i saw 'dentist'...i started to hyperventilate.
i had a horribler experience with dentists as a mother wouldn't allow our dentist to use novacaine when he DRILLED on our teeth !!!!!
it was pure torture...and ever since...i have had a true FEAR of dentists. (OH! and i have since realized that it takes an unusual amount of novacaine to numb me up...MORE than they want to's like they don't believe that i can still FEEL it! just knock me out...PLEASE!)
yes, i have luckily found a couple over the years weho actually made me feel like i could handle sitting THE BIG chair...
i would shake...tremble...cry...while sitting in the waiting room.

i am SO happy to hear that you finally have a new office to go to...where they actually CARE!! yay!!

DJan said...

I am a big baby at the dentist's. I cannot believe the treatment you received from that hack! And now I am so glad that you have a good place to go. Thank heavens! This post struck me deeply, because it's so true that people who treat you badly probably need kindness the most, and they are the hardest ones to send kind thoughts. You are a very special person, Rita. Blessings to you today. :-)

Deanna said...

I'm glad you found kindness after kruelty (hush - I can spell it with a k if I want to!) That other dentist obviously should not have been practicing. How awful!

Maybe this wasn't the best post to be reading before I go to the dentist on Monday ;)

AliceKay said...

That sure sounds like a traumatizing experience, Rita. So sorry you had to go thru that. I'm glad you have a great dentist now. Sounds like they will take very good care of you and your teeth. I had a bad dentist when I was a kid (not like that tho) and that's one reason why I hate dentists.

Kindness goes a long way. I like how you think, Rita. *hugs*

Far Side of Fifty said...

You should have reported that Dentist..what a jerk. I am so glad you have a good dentist now:)

Julia said...

Hey there-- popping in to say hello, courtesy of the A to Z challenge and hop.

I'm a fellow art blogger-- I'm always posting about my most recent projects as well. Everything from knitting to painting to scrapbooking to jewelry to screen printing to... well... you get the idea.

Anyhow, I agree that kindness is one of the most important things out there in the world... and I believe that the difference between a good doctor and a GREAT one (or conversely, a terribly horrible doctor and an amazing one) is your "K" word.

A little kindness goes a long way.

Thanks for giving me something lovely to read on my hop hop hopping around <3

*~* Julia *~* *~*