Dental Disaster

As some of you know, my teeth are not my strongest feature. I’ve been working with our wonderful dentist, Dr. Z, for nearly 20 years. I have had tons of work done – basically the entire menu of dental services. Root canals, various abscesses, braces, multiple crowns…. I was pretty sure that I had managed to have every dental procedure possible, except dentures.

That is, until Saturday…..

Let me tell you about Saturday. Will and I had gotten sandwiches at the local deli. I had chosen my favorite sandwich – a baguette with chicken, cheese, tomato and cucumber. The baguettes are often crispy and chewy, as one would like a baguette. We were eating along and I was nearly finished with my sandwich when I felt something odd on my teeth. I thought perhaps something had gotten stuck there, but it didn’t feel quite like that.

So I did what any normal person would do. I turned to Will and said, “Is there something on my tooth?”

Will looked up and quickly said “It’s gone!”

I replied “Okay then,” and continued chewing my bite.

Will quickly countered with “No, your tooth — it’s GONE!”

My tooth, one off to the right from center, had fallen clean out of my mouth. (That’s the #7 tooth to budding students of dentistry.) Missing Tooth

Now, you might ask how this is possible. Well, a combination of a generally weaker root system for that particular tooth, a root canal some 14 years ago, a full crown and a tough sandwich all conspired to just snap the little guy right off and out of my mouth.

I’ll admit it – I panicked. God love Dr. Z, who had given me his mobile number in the US. I looked at the time and calculated that it was 7am CST. I talked myself into believing that Dr. Z is an early riser, and I called him straight away.

It took a few minutes, but Dr. Z got me calm, organized and sorted on what needed to be done. I saved the broken off tooth with its crown — so it could be used again. I was all set for a “post and core” procedure and a “re-cement of the crown.” I wouldn’t need a root canal, since one had already been done. The previous root canal also meant that I shouldn’t have any pain. My challenge now was to find a dentist in Dublin that I could trust.

Luckily, a good friend at work, who is a native Dubliner, found me a recommended dentist not far from our house. I called Dr. O’B on Saturday, but I didn’t expect to hear from her office until Monday. I spent the weekend hiding in the house, or keeping my mouth shut the few times I had to leave. Given that Will gave an honest shudder the first time he got a good look at me, I didn’t want to expose too many to my visage. (After that first shudder, he would titter or giggle a little almost every time I smiled.)

Monday morning, I called Dr. O’B and I was able to schedule a consultation. Will walked me to Grafton Street for my 9:45 appointment. Dr. O’B did exactly what Dr. Z said she would. She cleaned out the crown, fitted a post into the crown and into my upper jaw. Some cement later, my tooth was right back where it belonged. By 10:30 I was back in business.

It was quite the adventure, but in the end, I was pretty lucky. I had no pain at all and it was a quick and easy fix at the dentist. It could have been much, much worse.

Over the weekend, Will and I considered how difficult it might be to deal with such a crisis in a country where English is not commonly spoken. Or where we didn’t trust the dental professionals. Ireland can be an alien culture to us from time to time, but in a pinch, we feel pretty comfortable here.

(Thanks to Sketchory and monstro for their Creative Commons contributions, which made the illustrations possible.)

1 Comment to “Dental Disaster”

  1. Laurie said...
    12 March 2009

    Okay, I know it is wrong but I pretty much laughed as hard and out loud reading this as I did when you told me via moblie in the train station… :)