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Dental Drama

Last Wednesday I got a filling and a temporary crown. While I was numbed up I took a bite out of the inside of my cheek. The temp popped off that evening while I was eating dinner, but my dentist re-affixed it the next morning. The pain in my cheek and jaw got worse, however, and I was somewhat irritable over the weekend. I’ve only ever had one other crown before, and I don’t remember that it hurt like this. On Monday I called my dentist; he assured me this was normal and sure enough the pain and swelling soon subsided. Last night, I was flossing and I got careless and flossed the temporary crown. Sure enough, it popped off again. But the good news is that my permanent (gold) crown had arrived at the dentist’s office, so we were able to put an end to the drama this morning — almost a week ahead of schedule.

I like my dentist. I mean, he seems like a nice guy. I can forgive him for moving his office out to Old Metairie because he avoided getting flooded by a month or so.

But anytime I have dental work done, I have to deal with these nagging suspicions. My Grandma Mildred never had a single filling, or so I’ve been told, and she grew up before fluoride was a big deal. That made me think I might have good dental genes. Also, I don’t eat a lot of sugary foods. I only had one filling before age 35, and that was from a dentist I only saw once — I quit going to him after letting him fill that one cavity.

I didn’t see a dentist at all for a few years around the turn of the century. I started going to my current dentist in 2002, I think. According to my notes, I got eight fillings in two years. Since then I’ve had a few more, including two crowns. Often times the new cavities develop around the old fillings, which make me wonder about the wisdom of getting the filling in the first place.

In all this time, I’ve never had a classic toothache. None of this work has been based on my complaint or any pain in my mouth. It’s all predicated on my dentist’s diagnostic tools.

I believe in preventative medicine, but I have to wonder if all this is really necessary. As I said, I like my dentist. He seems like a fine, upstanding member of the community. I’m sure he adheres to the highest ethical standards of his profession. But still I wonder — is it all some kind of bizarre conspiracy?

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  1. pam pam

    if so, it’s a conspiracy amongst old metairie dentists. mine found i think seven (painless) cavities at my last checkup. yeesh.

  2. Most likely not a conspiracy, at least not in the “Trust Your Mechanic” Dead Kennedys sense. More connections between dental health and other medical conditions are found all the time–such as the link between gingival deterioration and heart disease and fillings are not high-profit procedures. And of course, the amount of sugar in, well, everything was far lower in our grandparents’ formative years.

    Crowns are higher profit, but presumably there was some condition necessitating the placement. If in any doubt, there’s always a second opinion.

  3. Jack Schick Jack Schick

    As a suspicious type….our dentists in the sixties actually gave out candy suckers
    at the end of the appointment.
    I’ve had eleven root-canals, and several teeth pulled.
    I think I wouldn’t allow any drilling-and-filling in your case. Maybe you can find
    an honest wholistic hippie type to look at the claimed “cavity” sites.
    I think these guys have no conscience about it, they actually think they’re doing
    you a favor to bring you into their “practice” by doing little BS jobs which, as you
    said, create further decay spots because THEY DRILLED THERE.
    There exist hippie types who say you can actually heal-up your teeth and gums.
    And PLEASE B.—-read up, Fluoride is an intentional program to destroy our
    health. It is handled by guys in Space Suits, in the industrial world. It is a
    toxic by-product of Nuclear Energy Plants.
    FireSign Theatre had an Album titled: “Everything you Know is WRONG!”

  4. Anne Anne

    I’ve had these kinds of suspicions, too, although not with my current dentist. The one issue I’ve had while going to her for the last two years, she showed me the visible spot under an old filling on the x-ray and then explained it in detail for something like 20 minutes. I like the explanations.

    And I hate to bring up age, but I, too, had wonderful teeth until I was in my mid-thirties, then I suddenly had a bunch of minor issues. Of course, my grandparents on both sides, and both my parents, have had major dental issues, so I don’t have good teeth genes at all. Maybe a lack of flouride in the water since Katrina? A lessening of consumption of milk products?

  5. Grampa Ray Grampa Ray

    Well, Bart, you may have gotten your dental genes from Mildred but you sure didn’t get them from me. When I was fifteen I went to a dentist in Chicago and he found sixteen cavities. In the next several weeks I endured excruciating pain. He thought anesthetics were for sissies.

  6. Bayou Boy Bayou Boy

    My dentist has a fancy new machine that makes crowns right there on the spot. No more temps. You leave with the real thing. Of course she charges through the ass for it but it’s worth every penny in my opinion.

    I’m just saying……..

  7. Jack Schick Jack Schick

    Liquid Calcium-Magnesium Citrate.
    Don’t accept the cheap Mag Oxide and Not Calcium Carbonate.
    We prob’ly don’t get enough Cal, and Assuredly, not enough Mag, in American Diet.

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