Friday, January 28, 2011

An Ill-Informed but Somewhat Cathartic Rant about Dentistry

So, I got a root canal the other day (thanks), after which the dentist said that he recommends I get a crown on the tooth.  Now, I get that this is standard procedure in these cases, but there's a part of me that has to ask.


I mean, I don't think they're just trying to get extra money out of me or anything.  But after drilling out every last little particle of nerve tissue and the bacteria that was eating it, he filled my tooth in with permanent filling.  The same stuff they use to patch up the outsides of teeth when they need it.  Basically cement, I'm pretty sure.  But apparently my tooth is in danger of cracking if I chew something too hard.

That is, my tooth, which is newly filled with cement or something like it, is in danger of cracking.

Why don't they fill the tooth with something harder, if that's a danger?  Is the filling material not harder than the dead nerve tissue?  One assumes that it is.  I mean, I understand that they drilled out the core of the tooth, and that they had to do so from a hole they drilled in the top.  BUT THEY FILLED IT WITH F-CKING CEMENT.  How is that not stong enough?

I think the best part was after the root canal was done, and we were talking about it, and I was asking if I needed the crown right away or if it could wait (the expense of a root canal, even at the UW Dental School, is not inconsequential) and he said, casually, "Maybe a month or two."  So I figured okay, I can deal with that.  Then he said, "Just chew on the other side of your mouth."  And I said, "You mean, like, today, while the tooth is still sore."  And he said, "No, until you get the crown."

And of course I'm going to do it.  After all, I have not spent the last several years studying dentistry (he's a grad resident, so he's already got his degree), and I was warned that almost all root canals end up needing a crown.  But there's still that part of me that can't help but think WTF?

Okay.  End of rant.  Thank you for listening.

PS  Don't forget to enter this week's Dallas' writing-related contest.  It's easy, and there're fun and prizes to be had.  You'd be crazy not to.

1 comment:

JC said...

I have a lot of dental cement that I have to use to implant electrodes into mouse brains (see shaved mouse comment, Facebook, Jennie Close, 1/27/11). It might be fun to fit you with a hillbilly crown. My uncles do it all the time. I could throw in an electrode or two for free. Let me know....