Armed with my salt rinse solution – and yes, I started going places with a little vial of salt in my purse – I then turned to finding a dental practitioner. Which was how I wound up at Brushin’ on Belmont, a place that I drive by every day after leaving the dog park with The Kone, and which got good reviews on Yelp. Hmm. I should have been wary when I called and they insisted I tell them which specific tooth was causing the problem. Umm, if I knew that, I might just pop that sucker out using the ol’ string-and-doorknob method, eh?
But I go in anyway. And it’s a very nice place, and conveniently close, but…..
Dental technician: Okay, which tooth is the problem?
Me: Umm, I’m not sure. The whole right side of my mouth and jaw hurts, the pain isn’t from any one tooth.
DT: But you have to pick a tooth!
Me: Really, I have no idea – but this tooth did crack about a mont….
DT: Perfect! We’ll take an x-ray.
They take an x-ray of that one tooth, and then the dentist comes in.
Dentist: Okay, this tooth is clearly the problem. You need a root canal.
Me: But are you sure? Why is the pain so widespread? I can’t even tell where it’s coming from!
Dentist: That’s normal – the nerves wrap around like that.
Me: But….don’t you think there’s an underlying infection?
Dentist: No, I don’t think so – it’s just that tooth that needs to be fixed.
Me: But…can’t I have some antibiotics just in case? I swear I think there’s an infection causing this agonizing pain.
Dentist: I really don’t think you need any…
Me: PLllllllllllllllleaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaseeeeeeeeeeee……….my first-born for some antibiotics!
Good lord, now I’m sounding like a junkie looking for Percocet or whatever the narcotic du jour is these days. Luckily she acquiesces, because I’ll be damned if I’m leaving without them. And I’ll be damned if the antibiotics don’t actually start to work! Yep, within a couple of days, the pain is drastically reduced – imagine that. But I still need a dentist, because I have no confidence that I’ll get a root canal on that one tooth and that’ll solve the problem. I don’t believe the dentist actually even looked at my teeth – and then charged me $107 for the privilege of the sole x-ray and the consultation which consisted of a 5 minute conversation. Not too shabby – for them.
Thus begins my quest anew for a new dentist – and though I get a lot of good recommendations, I go with the one of my friend Alton, who raves about his guy, Dr. Codel. And here was my first conversation with them when I called to make an appointment.
Me: I have a bad tooth that’s causing horrible pain. Well, it might be one tooth – I’m not really sure. I need a dentist who can figure that out.
Nice appointment girl named Bernie: Okay, I can help you with that!
Me: Because I really can’t take it anymore and I just went to another dentist and they said it was this one tooth but I don’t know and I’ve taken to popping whatever pills I have at home and drinking whiskey….
NAGNB: Did it help at least? The whiskey?
Me: Well, kind of. Or at least it just knocked me out. By the way, sorry I’m babbling, but this has just been horrible, I can’t sleep, the only that helps is a salt rinse so I’m walking around with salt with me at all times…
NAGNB: Oh no, you’re fine! It’s always good for us to have as much information as possible! Oh, what kind of dog do you have?
She hears Kona and Timmy barking in the background, and after I tell her, she waxes eloquent on how much she loves dogs. So that’s it, that’s all I need to hear. I’m talking to people who are okay with my nonsensical babbling, and they love dogs. Score! Well, it’s not like Yelp was much good, now was it?
Finally, the big day – and thankfully, by now the pain is almost gone. We’re down from 24-hour pain, to maybe a couple of hours a day. Huh, imagine that. I’m chit-chatting away with Bernie, who’s wonderfully awesome, when I get sent back so that Dr. Codel can check out my teeth. And lo and behold, he actually does a pretty thorough inspection, and as he looks at my x-ray, we start chatting.
Dr. Codel: Oh, I see you’ve had a root canal on this adjacent tooth.
Me: Yeah, my teeth have always sucked, no matter how well I take care of them.
Dr. Codel: Hmm, interesting….
Dr. Codel: Oh, the way they did the root canal. See how they used a screw? A ridged one no less? Those aren’t really used anymore, because they have no give or flex, so there’s a greater chance your teeth will crack or break.
Me: Oh great – I’ve been paying big bucks for shoddy dentistry.
Dr. Codel: Well, it’s just that there are so many more advanced techniques. For example, some endodontists are using carbon fiber inserts for root c…
Me: Wait. WHAT??? Did you say……carbon fiber?
Dr. Codel: Oh yes, absolutely – there was even someone who insisted on a titanium cap for a tooth.
Me: Titanium?? So you’re saying that to match my titanium collarbone, I could have a carbon fiber TOOTH? And then a titanium cap? Okay, that might be a bit expensive. But an AERO TOOTH?
Dr. Codel: Well yes, that’s one way of looking at i….
Me: SWEET! Sign me up! Root canal, here I come!
I give the “V” for victory sign, as I think most people do when they’re told they need a root canal, yes? And yes, Dr. Codel does check out all my other teeth to make sure they’re not the problem – and then after giving me a referral to a root canal specialist, doesn’t even charge me for the consultation.
But clearly the bigger lesson here is that the path to greatness is never easy. Look at me, for example – not only was I willing to completely shatter my collarbone so that I could have a titanium collarbone (i.e. the very definition of aero), but I also got The Cancer (implants = more buoyancy for swimming), and finally the toothache from Hell (= an aero tooth). Now, I’m not saying this is why I’m known as the Triathlon Goddess – but, this is why I’m known as the Triathlon Goddess. Are you willing to do what needs to be done to reach my exalted stature? Yeah, didn’t think so…..