NOTES from the UNDERGROUND… No. 144 | June 26, 2008
OPEN A LITTLE WIDER, PLEASE
(Danger, Debt, Deception, Decay, Degradation, Demagoguery, Depression, Devastation, Disgrace, Distress, Deep Cleaning & Doom through Modern Dentistry—The Tooth-Fairy Franchise)
by Norbert Blei
I sense some real pain and anger out there, mouths watering at boiling temperatures, roots reaching to their depths to grasp the truth of the tooth, displaced dentures submerged in chipped china cups on bedside tables, chattering to themselves in the dark–‘what happened? where am I?–folks looking for something, someone to sink their teeth into—if they have any left, if they can afford to have any left, if ‘the system’ isn’t continually biting them in the ass.
The writer’s “DENTAL FOLLIES FILE” … That thick! A good first bite. There’s a novel in here, out there. Or at least one hell of a story. “Did I ever tell you about the dentist I went to… ?“ Save it..
My friend, Jerry Bitts sent this to me the other day, “Teeth.” It opened the whole rotten cavity again. Where are the great American novels on Dentists? Dentistry? Or how about Dental Hygienists? There’s great frustration in America today over the price of a barrel of oil, but who’s talking about tooth-tyrants, who have everyone over a barrel?
Bite down hard…
I got your implant here…
You got a story? Anything to say on the subject? Send it. Maybe I’ll put it up so we can all chew on it some more.
Here’s Jerry Bitts’ “TEETH” for openers.
TEETH by Jerry Bitts
I used to have a very good dentist here in Las Vegas until I fired him. He was so good that he made sure I got deep cleaning ($500) and more cleaning than the normal two per year. Of course, since I had lots of gum problems, my cleaning also cost $40 more than the usual price, though I could not see that I was getting any more care than normal.
I had a cleaning in September of 07 and again in January of 08. At the January cleaning the hygienist found a cavity that had gone nearly through the tooth (#7?). (If you are numbering teeth, your two front teeth are 8 and 9) –from your right to left. So why didn’t we find it in September?
Hiding under a crown.
So what if I do nothing? I could get an infection. Could go to my brain and I cannot afford to lose any more of that.
So how long till it starts hurting or gets infected?
Maybe two months.
So what does the dentist recommend? He wants to have an oral surgeon pull 7 teeth and put in five implants. Then he will do bridges and crowns.
Cost—$37,500—and I have no insurance
Shall we cash in our IRAs? Refinance our house?
And another thing—after spending hundreds on super three D x-rays, I learned about implants. Now implants are nice for some people, but don’t believe those ads that say “Teeth in a Day.” If they pull teeth, they may also do bone grafting. Then the surgeon puts in the implants. They have to heal for at least five months, during which I would wear “flippers,” temporary snap in teeth that are so called because, if you bite down too hard they may flip out of your mouth and land in your dinner partner’s soup.
After the five months, the gums are reopened and another spike is screwed into the implant. That has to heal for at least a few more weeks. Then the permanent tooth like thing goes on top and the bridge work can begin. The process could in some cases take up to a year to complete.
I went to other dentists for second opinions (note: when going for a second opinion ask them to do x-rays.) The first second opinion was a woman dentist who said the procedure was in her opinion “very aggressive.” The second dentist just spanked me. “If you don’t take better care of your teeth, you’ll lose “em all,” he said.
So I’m in a race to save my brain. What if I just got the bad tooth pulled to buy time?
Good enough—the oral surgeon says he’ll pull #7 and do bone work—under anesthesia–$1,800. NO!
I ask around to friends and go to the internet.
Los Algodones, Mexico is just south of Tucson, AZ. That’s about 330 miles from here. The Mexican doctors are trained in the United States and they would do the same work for $10,000, so I made an appointment.
Later a friend suggested I not go to Mexico because the drug bandito’s were shooting up the place. I cancelled Mexico and got back on the internet– found Doc Rob (a good Mormon Dentist) in Cedar City Utah—180 miles away.
I like Cedar City. It’s cooler there and they have a Shakespeare festival at the local college. Lots of cool plays. Several theaters.
Doc Rob did x-rays and found it was tooth #6 that was decayed and not #7. Also said I didn’t need implants! He offered to pull three lower teeth. Then he’d do an upper and lower bridge and crowns for $8,500. And he even paid for our motel bill.
In July I get the dental work finished—maybe we’ll see a few plays there and in Saint George. Dental work and travel are not unusual. You can go to India or Hungary or Greece—
But now I have to find a closer dentist here in Las Vegas—until I need more major work done. Then I’ll probably go back to Utah.
Viva Las Vegas!