How much for a lovely smile?!
Contributor
Written by
Sandra Staas
October 2010
Revising
Contributor
Written by
Sandra Staas
October 2010
Revising
I have two bridges on the upper jaw that need to be replaced. That’s a total of eight teeth. At roughly 850 dollars a tooth, you can see the dollar signs sparkling in the night like giant neon fillings. Did I also mention I need to have three crowns on the lower jaw? That’s now a total of eleven teeth. That’s a trip round the world. I’m very popular with dentists these days. I decided, since I was going to have to pay big bucks, to seek a second opinion. I hate it when you are called into THE ROOM, be it at the doctor’s or the dentist’s, and then you have to sit there and wait and wait and wait. How many magazines can one flip through? I was on to children’s books whilst all the time hearing the dentist’s voice booming like a second rate actor at the local community theater. I found out all about someone’s gum disease, another person’s upcoming extractions. This guy was good. He had patter. But, I was fed up waiting and was about to get the hell out of the place before he started announcing to the whole building about my two bridges and impending three crowns. Privacy, please, if you don’t mind. Just then, his Lordship appears. He spins in like a matador teasing the bull with his cape. Ole! “How can I help you? “ He smiles, and I see beautiful white teeth. Always a good sign in a dentist. “Em. Well….” God. Get the words out. “I’m only here for information.” “Information? Can I look inside your mouth?” As if I had a choice. Next thing, I’m lying flat on my back. Why do dentists make you lie like this? “I feel as if I’m in a coffin, that I’m already dead.” He starts to laugh. “I’m just going to look at your teeth. Nothing too terrible.” He dons a light as if he were going down a mine. Then he dons these telescopic glasses. “Gosh. When you say you’re going to look, you don’t mess about.” “I’m meticulous. And if I’m not happy with what I’ve done, I go back and do it again.” He peers deeply into the recesses of my mouth. I hope he’s happy with what he’s done for I don’t want his big hands groping inside my mouth again. “Uh huh. Hmm. Oh… Well…” Very articulate is this dentist. “I can make you two gorgeous bridges. Real gorgeous. We can even crown the other teeth on the upper jaw. That would give you a terrific smile. As for the lower jaw, I can do that real nice too.” “How much?” Get straight to the point, that’s what I always say. “Big bucks?” “Depends on what you mean by ‘big bucks’. Say around fifteen thousand.” He moves his hand back and forth, as if he were waving to the bull he has just hypnotized. I imagine him in the suit of lights. Nope, his belly is just a teeny bit too chubby wubby. “Bloody hell. I could go on a really nice trip for fifteen thousand.” “Ah. But you wouldn’t get a beautiful smile. Anyhow, you may not be a candidate for new bridges. Maybe you should consider implants. Cost more, but I do outstanding work.” “Implants?” “Yeah. Maybe a bone graft here and there. But implants would look real good.” He stares down at me and I imagine he has a sword, that I’m the bull. He’s ready to plunge the sword into me, into my poor mouth. “Thank you. Thank you. For the information, I mean.” “We could do xrays right now. Once I get xrays I can tell you exactly how much everything will cost.” “No, it’s okay.” Just press the button and let me sit upright, buster. Senor Matador. “I have time. If you have time. I’ll get my assistant in right now to take the xrays.” “No, it’s okay.” “Sure was a pleasure meeting you. Don’t forget to pick up my card when you leave.” I sat in my car afterwards, relieved that I had got a second opinion. Information is always good. Yet, I wondered if by spending more that I’d be guaranteed really nice teeth. More to the point, if by spending less would I still get really nice teeth?

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