Ode to Molar No. 30
I am fortunate in that I have sucked up all the best dental genetics in my family. I have well spaced teeth which are strong and haven’t had any major issues in life, no braces and had my wisdom teeth out with only novacaine.
However, since turning 40 I have had a number of more pressing dental issues. It seems that my bucks have reached their critical mass due to the pressures of being a first-year law student. Ima grinder. I have gone in an out of grinding over the years. But last year, my regular dentist, Dr. Sturm, at Audubon Dental identified about three possible root canals. My insurance with her as a specially chosen provider was limited to $1k a year. That covered only one root canal.
I was in so much pain at one point that I found that the much dreaded root canal was actually the best thing ever! Whew, that pain is hard to compare since it vascilllates between a 2-10 on the pain spectrum within the same day. I was scared the first time but was at a point where I would have blown the side of my head off to stop the pain.
Dr. Arch, my first endodondist did a good job of the first root canal in short order and life went on for a while. But after that procedure, I had used all of dental benefits. Other issues began to loom, I hoped could wait til the new year. That was not possible.
Then, Molar No. 30 started acting up in early September. It was hard to pinpoint the pain, if you’ve had it, you know what I mean, it’s like the whole side of your head is in a spasm.
Since I had already used all my dental benefits to fix the first one and had no more insurance, Molar No. 30 wasn’t in the math. It HAD to be done ASAP but I had no more insurance. Thank God, Aliya, one of the students told me to go see Dr. Schmidt at Riverbend Dental. I was in so much pain I was unable to function. Dr. Schmidt agreed to take me and let me pay half and half over the course of a month.
So he did the root canal for me and saved my life. However, I still had to come up with about $1,000 for the crown on that tooth which now had a big hole in it. I finally did get enough money, but it was too late. I had already cracked the remainder of my tooth in half. I knew it going in to the office today, I could feel it sagging out of its line with the other teeth. One too may Cheese Nips or a piece of pizza did it in. It was fragile.
As I suspected, Dr. Schmidt said we have to pull it and he gave me the credit for the root canal which is now a null issue and explained I could get a bridge or an implant. I chose the implant.
Pulling Molar No. 30 was sheer hell. And I knew it would be. That molar has done so much chewing for 40 years, it’s not as is if it was suddenly going to just take off without a severence package. . . no way.
The extraction was brutal. Piece by piece, Dr. Delaohussay dug and dug and then dig an x-ray and dug some more to get all of the tooth out. There was blood everwhere and I got a few stitches too. Yikes. I was as brave as I could be.
Don’t take your molars for granted. This was a somber day for me. Molar No. 30 had helped me enjoy a lot of slabs of spare ribs over the years as well as helped ground out a lot of stress and do my best in my roughest times without any credit on his part. But today, as he was brutally relieved from his duties, I felt the least that I could do was take his picture, show my appreciation and verbalize the pain I went through, the only reciprocity for the duty which Molar 30 has absorbed for me years throughout the roller-coaster of crisis of life.
I miss him today, as I fill his spot with gauze on the stitches which mark his place today. Eventually, we’ll put a crown to replace No. 30 on top of a fake buildup of bone in the gum. This fake buildup will take months and is the only option aside from a bridge, which relies on the strength of nearby teeth. Teeth which I don’t feel can take the extra pressure.
Poor Molar No. 30 was in such a state today, at his being declared done, he was not at all ready to give up. We might as well have dropped a grenade in his office to get him out of the way. But at Riverbend Dental, they deal with patients holistically and with dignity. They gave me a nice blanket. After all, fear makes the blood run cold. Dr. Schmidt admitted later that he didn’t let on about how awful this was going to be but I told him that I knew it was a big ass-brutal-bloody-mess. But, it had to be done and I totally trusted his staff.
After they numbed me, they kinda let me sit for a few minutes and suddenly I got all antsy and was like, ” let’s go!” I pestered a staff members to get on with what equates to bullet removal from the jaw. I wanted to just get it done. I had a brief breath of bravery I could not afford to waste.
It was rather horrible but we did well and laughed as pieces of my tooth wound up in the suction tube. Progress.
Dr. Schmidt has been working with students like myself who don’t have insurance to pay as they go to get massive dental work like mine done over the years with no community credit of this quiet contribution. I can tell you that without his compassion, many of us would have nowhere else to turn.
My regular endodontist refused to do the work in two installments, Dr. Arch, who’s also very good but just sent me on my way with some Vicodin and no other option beyond the $1100.00 bill right today. See ya later!
In these economic times, I had to find another solution to my debilitating pain. Thankfully, a fellow law student told me about Dr. Schmidt. He was more than willing to help me past my crisis.
I also appreciate his bedside manner, explaining yesterday, in fact, he admits had this same issue himself. The too late, but good intentioned crown. He’s just wonderful and his office is full of students from med/dental school which is actually really fun. It creates a feeling of mild chaos compared to some offices, but I support teaching people, period. I enjoy talking to the new students and enjoy being a part of their learning. . . . Today, I was the nutty lady who insisted on saving all the pieces of my pain and they were totally cool about it. It seemed liked I was the only one who seemed to notice all the blood!