Dentistry: More Art than Science

Prior to visiting the dentist yesterday, I’d been missing most of a front tooth for about nine months. A crown kept falling out of that tooth. When I learned it would cost over $5,000 to get an implant, I decided to wait until (a) I could afford an implant or (b) I could afford – at the very least — dentures.[1] I’d hoped that if I waited until New Orléans, it may be cheaper to have it done.[2]

I went to a local dentist only to find out that, yes, it would still be $5k or more for a single implant and, in fact, just a partial temporary dentures would run me nearly $2k.

I needed a tooth. I was sick of not being able to smile without drawing my lips down to cover my teeth. So, as much as I hated to spend the money, I relented and used two years’ (this year’s and 2017’s) worth of company-provided dental benefits to get partial dentures.

It took the dentist all of 20 minutes to pull what was left of the remaining tooth, graft bone to the spot, cover it with a membrane and push the dentures into my mouth as if he were trying to see if the other teeth would break. I spent more time waiting for my Lyft home than I did with his hands in my mouth.

When he finished, he said, “You were easy. I would have loved to drop an implant in there.”

I replied, “Me, too. Can’t afford it, though.” However, he should have felt free to drop a complimentary one in while he was going a few rounds with my jaw, I didn’t add.

“I know,” he said.

You’d think a dentist you pay that much could be less of an asshole.[3]

Now, as I’ve been telling others, I paid $2k for a tooth I can’t eat with, pain I can’t sleep with and a lisp I can’t speak without.


I really do believe dentists are all about getting you to “keep comin’ back,” as they say in AA.

Dentistry: More an art than a science.

[1] Given the option, I’d let them pull all my teeth and replace them with implants or dentures. Preferably not this “temporary” partial dentures crap, though.

[2] Surprisingly, everything in New Orléans – including alcohol – costs more than anywhere else I’ve ever lived. I guess when you have no industry but hotels, you gotta screw your residents.

[3] How is it they can do this for $30 in China?

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