Friday, July 21, 2017

Busted Chops in Columbus, or, Tooth Number Four Where Are You?

On Wednesday, the nineteenth day of the month of July in the Year of Our Lord two-thousand ten-and-seven during the day season, and in particular the hours of the mid-late-morning, I was passively gathering wool, slowly succumbing to the inanity of the talking heads on the idiot box, and idly wondering if anyone took any of their jejune notions with sobriety and a straight face, all while enjoying a leisurely breakfast consisting of a marinated portabella mushroom, onion, and cheese omelet, whole wheat toast with butter, black coffee, and a mildly strong bloody mary, when it happened.

My number four tooth broke off at the gum line.

I'd had this particular tooth a long time, and I was somewhat attached to it.  It sported a cap and an internal post to support it, but evidently that wasn't enough as off she came.  Having undergone  a root canal on this particular tooth, there wasn't any pain involved, but losing a tooth in the middle of an otherwise idyllic breakfast creates a certain mental anguish that, I would imagine, is comparable to that feeling that good Christian parents get when their 13 year old daughter contributes to the usual morning breakfast conversation by announcing that she's pregnant and isn't sure just who the father is.  Fortunately for me, I'd already consumed most of my breakfast.

I fired up the old PC, brought up Google maps and looked for a nearby dentist.  Sure enough, I found a half-dozen or more, and picked one based on the man's last name: Kurtz.  I phoned the office, and the nice clerical worker who answered the phone Oh-My'd over my story and got me an appointment for 9:30 that morning.  Good deal, thinks I.  Just enough time to shit, shower, and shave, then it's a ten minute drive to the Chops Doctor, and he'll do his stuff.  Nothing could be easier, right?

Peanut Gallery: Wrong!

Yes, well... you see, I have a critical case of odontophobia.  Fear of the dentist.  It starts when I know I'm going to have to go to the dentist, and ends when I pay the bill.  My old dentist back in Sylvania used a rifle loaded with tranquilizer darts labeled CAUTION! FOR LARGE ANIMAL USE ONLY!  He'd give me a good running start in the parking lot, and I'd wake up in his waiting room staring at an invoice.  This would be Dr. Robert Morrison, an excellent dentist and a real humanitarian.  He introduced me to Xanax and taught me relaxation exercises, and pretty soon I was doing just fine.  He was a great guy, but he's no longer with us.

So I dropped 2 milligrams (mg) of the generic equivalent, which is lorazepam, and headed over to see Dr. Kurtz.  Only, see, Doctor Kurtz isn't there.  There are four girls and one preadolescent female child behind the desk, and no one in the waiting room.  The child is practicing ballet movements, and she isn't very good.  Huh.  One girl gives me the standard questionnaire to fill out, in which they ask a bunch of questions that are none of their damned business, and which I fill out as best I can, then it's off to see the wizard.

Some oriental lady who neglects to introduce herself induces me to sit in the chair, then takes a short look at my chops.  This is followed by an x-ray, which is no real surprise.  Then she tells me that good old number four will have to come out.  I can barely understand this woman, so I opt for an oral surgeon.  What I'm really wondering is why the place is so vacant, why Dr. Kurtz isn't around, and why the staff won't answer any questions about him.  They mumble and change the subject whenever his name comes up.  The refer me to some guy with a rag-head name, present me with a bill ($105.00), and send me on my way.  They tell me that I am supposed to call and make the appointment with the specified oral surgeon; they don't do that kind of thing.

I return home and heat up the buzz box.  That's when I discover, surprise-fucking-surprise, that the vast majority of office staff are condescending, snippy, and obstructive.  I called five offices and got the same response for each one, with a few variants on the amount and quality of condescension and with resolute, obstinate obstruction.  One young girl finally told me to have my dentist call, and I'd get a better appointment time.  I tried that, and the staff either didn't call, or didn't know what the fuck to do - one is as likely as the other.

I finally called the East Columbus Oral Surgery Specialists and hit pay dirt.  They could get me in on Friday morning (as opposed to the middle of August, which was the best I was getting elsewhere), they understood my concern, and Dr. Von Kaenel would treat me right.

And he did.

I was able to register on line.  The staff had time to call my radiologist and confirm that there wouldn't be any problems with the upper set of chops, which radiation therapy will cause, and were ready for me when I strolled in.  Doctor Douglas A. Von Kaenel, DDS, is a nice guy.  I'd go out drinking with him, and his staff are equally nice and polite.  A steady stream of patients were in and out of the place while I was there, and the phone was ringing regularly.  The Doc examines me briefly, then sits down and has a talk with me, explaining about radiation therapy and my chops, but also just chewing the fat.  After a few minutes, he offers to do the extraction today.  He's got one quick surgery, then he can pull my chop and I'll be off down the road.  I agree, and stipulate that he give me nitrous oxide which he readily agrees to, and offers to crank it all the way up.  Hot socks!

I pop another Xanax and get comfortable in the waiting room, so by the time the Doc is ready for me, I'm feeling pretty relaxed.  I've been told that 2 mg of Xanax is a large dose, but I've taken three and even four mg on occasion, and it only relaxes me.  My system is resistant, you see.  Main Lady told me that it's because I'm used to operating normally while in an impaired state.  Well, she might be right about that.

I'm shown into the business room about 2:00 PM.  At 2:30, I'm shaking off the affects of the laughing gas and thanking the good doctor and his staff for a job well done.  There was no pain, no anxiety, and no problems at all.  And if that isn't enough, the Doctor cut his fee back because I am a cash customer.  And not just a little, either.  I'm talking significance.

My verdict?  The dentist I went to see is:
Dr. To (pronounced Toe, as in 'your big toe')
1709 Brice Rd, Reynoldsburg, OH 43068
(614) 522-0024

I have a great deal of trouble understanding her, and the place wasn't crowded.  Dr. To might be a perfectly good dentist, but the communication problems bother me.  Also, her staff could use a few lessons in courteous human behavior.  In other words, I've seen friendlier, much more helpful people.  In short, I won't be back, nor will I recommend her to my friends and family.

My oral surgeon of choice is:
Douglas A. Von Kaenel, DDS
6555 E Broad St, Columbus, OH 43213
(614) 427-0400

East Columbus Oral Surgery Specialists

The man is good at his job.  His staff is helpful, friendly, and courteous.  I'd recommend Dr. Von Kaenel without the slightest hesitation to anyone in need of an oral surgeon.

It's about 5:30.  Dr. Von Kaenel sent me home with a bottle of Percocet, which I gather I'm not supposed to combine with good old forty rod.  Maybe just a little snort wouldn't hurt, would it?


CWMartin said...

So all's well that ends well. I had a tooth pulled a while back-suddenly started hurting so bad it was giving me 250+ blood pressure spikes- and they asked if I wanted to save it with a root canal. I'm like, "Why would I want to save the traitor?" I later had an ancient filling split off, only result being I got some unintended calcium added to my diet. In short, while I do not fear dentists as you do, I find a visit there roughly comparable to one to a funeral home.

Bob G. said...

Mad Jack:
That breakfast sounded damn fine.
I don't think is anyone (that I know of) who has a WORSE case of Odontophobia than myself. I got cold sweats when Wifey had her wisdom teeth out last year!
A dread the day I have to visit any dentist more than being shot in my part of the ghettohood (I can fire back at last in such an instance).
But, It's good to hear that all eventually worked out for you.
Sure makes a case for going back to days when you could just "walk in", and no one had to pull rolls of red tape outta their ass as they try an accommodate you.
AND whatever you needed to get done GOT done and at a decent price.
Yeah, I miss those days, as well as the neighborhood doctor and dentist offices.

Roll safe out there.

Mad Jack said...

CW: 250+ spikes?! Please take care of yourself. I do NOT want to read a post on your blog written by someone else about 'bursting like a big water balloon and making a mess'.

Bob: Yeah, I'm with you on the good old days. You used to know people, you know? When I was a kid our family doctor actually made house calls. He was a great guy. I still remember him wearing a dark, pin stripe suit, white shirt and tie - which is what you wore back then. The only time we wore jeans - dungarees - is when we worked out at the barn, or if you were a kid and tore everything up. Like me.

CWMartin said...

Yeah, it wasn't fun. If I kept water in my mouth, it was okay. When I had to swallow, look out! Once it was gone, back to normal.