Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I Think My Dentist Might Be Spying on Me

I broke a molar this morning. I was just eating a sandwich, minding my own business, when I bit down on something hard and went "whoa! what's that?" and it was a part of my left maxillary third molar. That's the back left tooth on your upper jaw. The pros call it Number 16.

I was only mildly surprised by this. I had some dental work done about 8 months ago (on the other side of my mouth) and I remember my dentist had warned me that this particular tooth was "in danger." He used those exact words "That tooth is in danger." He asked me to come back in a week and get it "taken care of", but this was right before he handed me a bill that put my fucking heart in danger, so the matter was closed. I couldn't afford more dental work at that time, so it would have to wait.... wait until it breaks while I'm eating a sandwich.

It wasn't painful or anything, so I was not planning to call my dentist. I still can't afford a big dental bill, so I thought I'd do what most uninsured people do: let it rot in my head until it's too painful to tolerate and then begrudgingly put the cost of a root canal on my Visa. But then something truly bizarre happened.

Exactly twenty minutes after my tooth broke, my dentist office called me. I'm not kidding here. It was the receptionist, making her daily round of nagging calls to deliquents like me who are overdue for a cleaning. But I was so weirded out about my dentist calling me immediately after a dental accident that I must have sounded like a paranoid lunatic to the poor woman. I said really stupid things, like: "It's as if you knew my tooth was in danger, and installed some kind of micro-tooth alarm that alerted you my critical molar failure!!" There was a lot of uncomfortable silence after that.

I told her what had happened, "just twenty minutes ago! ", but she wasn't as impressed by the remarkable coincidence as I was. She was even more annoyed that I refused to make an appointment on the grounds of my sustained brokeness. She kept pushing me. When did I think I would have the money to fix the tooth? Could I at least afford $150 for the cleaning? She kept harping on and on about the fucking cleaning. Maybe she gets a cut of the cleaning scam, I don't know, but obviously it was going to take a lot more than $150 to fix my problem.

I was getting uncomfortable with her aggressive cleaning-based interrogation, so I firmly insisted I would call her in a few days, when I get paid, and have some time to assess my financial situation. And then I tried to lighten her up with some more lame humour, so I said "I'm sure you'll smell my paycheck twenty minutes after I cash it." More unbearable silence, this time followed by a click.

I think I need to find me a new dentist.

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