A few weeks ago I began sensing a difference in one of my molars. This tooth, crowned years ago, had never offered a twinge of complaint. Suddenly, I became aware of the tooth. Just a consciousness of its presence in my mouth. I don’t cringe with hot or cold foods. Searing pain doesn’t shoot through my mouth and jaw into my ear. I simply have this sensation that something is amiss. Over the weekend, discomfort entered into the picture. Not pain. Just a low level throb that came and went. Fearing that this throb is a precursor for excruciating pain, I scheduled an appointment with the dentist who had treated the tooth all those eons ago. A quick x-ray and a little more poking and prodding made her refer me to an endodontist.
This morning, I endured more x-rays. I learned more about the roots of my teeth, the possibility of saving my crown (and money) and the promise of less discomfort down the road. Begging for the first available appointment since my sister’s here for a week, I hit my first disappointment—nothing open on his schedule until the first week of March. On that visit, the endodontist will drill into the tooth through the crown and check to see if the crown is letting bacteria into the tooth. He’ll pack the molar with antibiotics that will “cook” for a week to ten days. At that point, he’ll continue with the root canal and let me know if my crown can stay in place.
I respect the medical and dental professionals, but I really don’t understand the high costs for their services. I know that this man will try his best to heal my tooth. But a part of me keeps zooming back on the expense of this procedure. I wonder if it’s worth the money, but feel like I have no choice in the matter. It’s like getting the brakes fixed on your car. A terrible expense that cannot be avoided.
Copyright 2012 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman