A New Dentist –Why Does this $hit Happen to me Before I Go Away?

Hi all!  Allow me to set the scenario for you:

I have a story to tell you. Notice I always smile with my mouth closed!

Last Saturday evening The Frenchman and I went out to dinner at our favorite restaurant, Spring Mill Café.  Dinner was great, as usual. And when I arrived home to get changed, I started to floss my teeth.

Our favorite restaurant. Teeth or no teeth this place is the greatest!

It was early enough to switch from the nice clothing I wore to dinner into more comfortable at-home evening attire—sloppy, flour-ridden pajamas and bare feet.

Welcome to my lounge apparel!

Now. Understand. When I floss my teeth, I’m extremely aggressive. I also love to floss with these little plastic-handled instruments called Plackers. These get way down into the gum.  I may have all my teeth but I have plaque issues.  And while flossing one particular back tooth, it broke. In two. It was a tooth that had been filled. Regardless, I freaked out.

Might I add that these little flossers are epic to take out one’s anger and frustration….

I shan’t elaborate but the amount of gunk these things pick up is disgustingly satisfying!

First of all, I’m a complete dental wimp.  My past experiences with dentists have been excruciatingly painful, anxiety-ridden, and downright horrific.

Ricki Lake Teeth GIF by Netta

Yup! This pretty-much sums up how I feel when a dentist approaches!

The last dentist I went to worked on my gums, refused to give me novacaine, and seemed to delight in my pain.  And, no offense to older people because I am one, but I think this guy could have taken some dental upgrade classes into the 21st Century!  Oddly, when I passed the building where his dental practice had been I noticed the practice was no longer there.

I shall also add that it has been many years since I went to a dentist. I suffer from PDST—Post Dental Stress Trauma.

Time Dentist GIF

The trauma is real people. It’s real!

Luckily, the tooth that broke managed to break in such a way that the nerve wasn’t exposed and I didn’t get a toothache. The feeling of my tongue against the broken tooth wasn’t and still remains unpleasant but if I eat anything sweet or too hot or cold, I get a bit of a wake-up call so to speak.

Bitmoji Image

That feeling of my tongue hitting the broken tooth isn’t painful but the feeling is……

And since we leave for Paris in three weeks, I realized that something needed to be done. Either a root canal, which I absolutely refuse to have. In all honesty, I would rather give birth to ten-ten-pound babies again naturally and deal with ten more fourth-degree lacerations than have a root canal.

Actually, deep down I’m also doing this for my husband. He hasn’t been “home” since the lockdown. The last thing HE needs is to find a dentist for me while we’re away! 

A bridge would be another option because I understand that lots of people have them. Of course, the tooth would have to be extracted but after receiving massive doses of novacaine, I would be fine.  Add a little happy gas to that and I could actually turn into a pleasant little creature.

Happy Feliz GIF

A few shots of Novacaine and happy gas and I’m as giddy as she is!

Lastly, an implant, the most expensive option which would also require an extraction. I’m fine with that.

Dentist GIF

Oh yeah. I need lots of novacaine and happy gas!

The most important step would be to actually find a dentist.  One who would take my Cigna insurance. Here’s where the fun began.

Last Monday I went into the office early because I had to conduct some serious sleuthing to find said dentist. Cigna’s website sucks. Plainly and honestly speaking. It sucks.  After navigating the damned Cigna site for over a half-hour, I gave up. The most I got out of it was being able to print a copy of the card that I never received in the mail.

Sherlock Holmes | Description, Stories, Books, & Facts | Britannica

You need to be Sherlock Holmes just to navigate the Cigna site in search of a dentist. SMH.

Instead, I went to my old reliable friend, Google and entered the following textDentists in Phoenixville, PA.  One office was manned—or rather womaned by two female dentists. I sent them an email explaining my situation.  I never heard back. The next day, I wrote them off completely.

The second dentist that showed up on my search turned out to be a proud partner of the Philadelphia Eagles.  As a born New Yorker and one who believes in loyalty to the team of where one was born, there is no way on earth I would go to a dentist with any mention of the “Iggles” (that’s the way PA people pronounce this team—they can’t even pronounce their home team correctly) on his website. This NY Giants fan passed him by. And with all due respect, I’m sure he’s a great dentist.

I”m sure this is a wonderful dental office but The Eagles!!!??? Not for THIS born New Yorker!! I would rather have all my teeth rot than go to an “Iggles” Dentist!

The third time was a charm. I came across Phoenixville Dental.  Simple and to the point. I live in Phoenixville and I need Dental work.  In addition, the insurance carriers were displayed on the home page. A rather pragmatic approach if you ask me.

And the charming Dutch Colonial home-turned-office is so charming! And he takes Cigna!!!

I called the office. OMG. This was more nerve wracking than making my lady parts exam.  Opposite openings if you will, can be stressful when they need medical attention. I also explained that I was such an awful patient that the dentist might change professions after dealing with me.  The response was a chuckle.  I made the appointment and couldn’t look back. It was time to put the big-girl panties on and go for it.

Girl Vintage GIF

It was sure time to adult up, put on my big-girl panties and head to the dentist. I was never this happy to go to the dentist! Wait till this one finds out the drill will hit her nerve–she won’t be this gleeful!

Trust me, the last thing I need is to have a dental emergency in Paris. I want to enjoy every meal and every morsel. I have no time for a bad tooth. And just my luck, an abscess would have popped up.

In addition, my husband is treating me to a class in croissant. I do believe it’s for his benefit. I really need to get that half-tooth taken care of.

I was very fortunate to have gotten an appointment after my working hours and the ride from work was a straight on. So far, it seemed promising.

Upon my arrival, there was plenty of parking spaces, which I appreciate and I would have to make a right-hand turn out of the parking lot to go home. Laugh if you will, but the right-hand turn exit is very important to me—especially in the evening when my sight is limited. I don’t do left-hand turns and when I do them, they aren’t done very well.

I entered the office a bit nervous and saw a sign at the front desk welcoming me. This was a good sign. Anyone who actually welcomes me is either truly really nice or just plain crazy!  In I went, got the X-rays. Babbled on in nervous conversation about my life story and between pauses begged not to judge the state of my neglected mouth.

This is what I’m talkin’ about baby! They welcomed me. That’s more than the reception I receive from my co-workers and my family!

The outcome? My mental and emotional state is a definite no root canal.  (Much to the chagrin of my sister because my brother-in-law is an endodontist and RC is his specialty.  Besides, I’m not trekking out to Long Island spending hours on the Belt Parkway to have my brother-in-law discuss my horrible tooth situation with my sister). Surprisingly, a bridge was not an option either. My bottom back teeth are crooked. I should have had braces as a child. But given the fact there were five children in the family and it was during a time when braces were used only for buck-toothed children. We’ve come a long way in straightening out teeth.

The only reasonable but pricey option was to have an implant where the tooth would be extracted.  Because I have an HSA that has been untouched, it’ll cover the cost and CIGNA should cover the costs of cleaning. The remainder will be co-paid by yours truly. This is actually a good thing because I can get all this done by the end of the year—hopefully.

Parks And Recreation Pain GIF

The pricier option is far better than the DIY route!

The “hole” where the tooth was needs three months to heal, though. So, the implant will be done early next year. The thought of a metal screw embedded into my gum grosses me out to no end but getting that space filled is far better than a gaping hole. Besides, I’ll be so sickened by the tooth extraction that I’ll live on soup from tomorrow until we leave for Paris. I’m good to lose a couple of unwanted pounds.

Manischewitz Matzo Ball Mix - 5oz : Target

I’ve already prepared Shiksa Matzo Ball Soup–from a mix. It’s so good that I’m sending my husband out for another box. I’ll be souping it up for the next week or so.

Did I mention that the last time I had tooth extractions were my wisdom teeth?  The first wisdom tooth extraction had me at the emergency room.  My instructions were to eat only “soft” foods. The day after the extraction, I went to the San Gennaro in NYC’s Little Italy and had a calzone.  My thought process was that the ricotta filling was soft. I never considered the chewy dough. I ended up bleeding and couldn’t stop it.

I should’ve prayed to St. Gennaro to guide me on what to eat. Perhaps if I did there would be no visit to the ER.

The second wisdom tooth extraction occurred when my son Jake was about nine or ten months old. Since I had the day off from work in order to have the tooth taken out, I was able to enjoy time with my son.  As we rolled around on the floor, Jake jumped on me. He landed on my face where the tooth was pulled. Again, I ended up at the Emergency Room at Columbia Presbyterian.

Teeth Dentist GIF

My jaw was as swollen as her’s was after that tooth debacle!

This time around, I’m keeping away from Chippy. I’m not even going to look at any solid food. And I’m going to concentrate on our trip.

I’m so afraid Chippy will shower me with canine love the way he attacked this lone gougere!

Hey. It could have been worse. I could have broken or lost my front teeth!

Always look on the bright side! It could have been my front teeth!!!!

And guess what? Dr. Wollach’s first language is French!!!!  French! How’s that for divine intervention?

French Baguette GIF

My husband can’t wait to accompany me to my French-speaking dentist! They can discuss bread.

About Catherine

Far from perfect, but enjoying life as a non-perfect and flawed individual at 60 years young. I'm still wondering what I'll be when I grow up! The characters in my life's screenplay include my better half. He is a refined Frenchman who grew up in Paris and summered in St. Tropez. I grew up in Long Island and summered in Long Island. I am not refined. My three grown children are also a big part of my life. For their sake, they happily live where their careers have taken them! But I can still mother them from a distance! I write about the mundane. I write about deeply shallow issues. But whatever I write or muse about--it'll always be a bit on the humorous and positive side! It's all good!
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42 Responses to A New Dentist –Why Does this $hit Happen to me Before I Go Away?

  1. Susan says:

    Trust me on this-I’m a former dental wimp too- the implant process itself is not that bad. They’ll numb you up and gas too if you want it-I hate gas!
    Main thing is. When you get the offending tooth out, Ice pack on the jaw! 20 minutes on, 20 off. No heat at first, just ice. Don’t eat chewy food-think mashed potatoes,very softly cooked chicken, eggs, yogurt. DONT drink anything through a straw! And hopefully no one will jump on your face!🥰

    • Catherine says:

      HI Susan! My dentist said the same thing about straws. Honestly, the entire procedure was so quick. I was nervous because the way the tooth broke, I thought he would have to dig down into the gum. But I received plenty of novacaine (NO gas), he explained that I would feel pressure and if I felt anything sharp to let him know right away. All I felt was pressure and within minutes the tooth was extracted. . The graft done and stitched up. I didn’t even need that much gauze. I went through two little pieces of gauze and that was it. I’ve been taking ibuprofeb (but right now dont even need it) and Amoxicillin. A tad sore but that’s it. I don’t want to eat solids yet so last night I had Matzo Ball Soup and that’s what I had tonight! LOL. I’m keeping away from Chippy! XOXOXOXO

  2. Arabella says:

    I will not go into my gory details, suffice to say I am in the same club when it comes to dental phobia – when I became widowed 7 years ago, regular dental checkups was one of the many self care things I neglected and consequently 2 weeks ago I had to have all my teeth pulled 🙁 all I can say is thank G-D for face masks and the fact that I have really great insurance as I will be getting full dentures once my gums heal. I keep flashing back to my mom, many years ago that had dental surgery who was told only a liquid but she Had to have that Big Mac – I can see her clear as day eating that sandwich with tears rolling down her face. I sure hope you are completely able to enjoy your Paris trip!!!

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Arabella, Honestly, it’s been years since I was at the dentist. It’s so shameful but true. I’m thinking this broken tooth was an omen of sorts because after x-rays I will be getting my sliver fillings replaced and having gum work done. A long process but I feel so much better with Dr. Wollach! XOXOXO

  3. Denise says:

    You had me at having to take a right out of the parking lot!! Absolutely agree – especially in the dark!

  4. Rachael says:

    I could relate to your phobia! Though I’m now totally over it, when I was growing up on LI, the family dentist didn’t feel the need to use novocaine or laughing gas- my cavities were drilled sans any pain killer-my mom used to have to literally drag me out of the house for dentist appointments! Sound like you found a good practice now and will be in good hands! ( my daughter in law is a dentist too!)
    Re matzah ball mix- try Streits brand- I think it’s the best!

    • Catherine says:

      Rachael. Your dentist on LI wouldn’t have been Dr. Vasta in Plainedge–would it? He was ours and he didn’t believe in Novacaine either. It was traumatic. I can still picture his office. Yeah. I must say after leaving the dentist’s office yesterday that my anxiety has lifted. Streits? I’ll try it. I was going to give my hand at making home-made matzo balls but it was too stressful-Do I want a floater or sinker? How much dill? The box works for me! XOXOXOXOXO

  5. Bonnie says:

    Be Brave Catherine – the implant process is not really painful at all. The pain is in the paying for everything. I had 2 done and it cost me over $10,000. I never did tally it all up – I didn’t want to know. Maybe you’ve found your guardian angle dentist. Do keep going and having 6 month check ups. Procedures at the dentist office are much better than the last time you went ( don’t admit to how long it has been)
    More importantly, I’m cheering for you and “Bonaparte” having a grand time in Paris. I can’t wait to hear all about it from your point of view!
    On Y va
    Bonnie

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Bonnie. Yeah. I’m definitely happy I went the implant route. The tooth is out. A painless process –I’m just a tad sore and all is well. I’ll be able to eat in Paris. My HSA is taking care of the cost and surprisingly, my dental insurance isn’t that bad. I’m shocked! I’ll be packing for the trip this weekend! XOXOXOXO

  6. Vickie says:

    Oh goodness!! I’m with you on the root canal! The day we were out on lockdown, I broke a tooth. Luckily, like you, no root exposed. I didn’t get to the dentist until a year later. I just knew he was going to say I need a RC!! The tooth had a filling on it already bc of a childhood thing that caused damage to my teeth. It has been on there for nearly 50 years. But luckily only a cap was needed!! I yelled in joy so loud, I’m sure the whole office heard me!!
    Take care friend!!!

    • Catherine says:

      Vickie. With all the breakthrough in the dental field, one would think by now they figured out a way to NOT hit a nerve or to have some sort of medication that you can take so you wouldn’t feel it. When the dentist told me I would feel pressure (I was well-numbed) I welcomed it because it wasn’t anything that would hit a nerve! OXOXOXOXO

  7. Linda says:

    Omg! You are hysterical. I despise the dentist. My nightmare started with Dr. Reilly in Bay Shore near St. Patrick’s. Talk about forever FEAR. He pulled my baby teeth without any numbness and every time I cried, he yelled to shut up!!! Every six months when I go to my present dentist, I am a basket case. Thanks for making me laugh.

    • Catherine says:

      Hey Linda. Anytime. I’ll make you laugh any time! We didn’t go to Dr. Reilly (was he Bernadette’s dad?)–instead we went to Dr. Vasta in Plainedge–it must have been part of the NYC Police officer insurance. He was awful. AWFUL. No novacaine. No nothing. I swear he is the reason I’m petrified because he hit a nerve and, just like Dr. Reilley, he yelled at me. I’m so happy that dental practices have upgraded with the decades! XOXOXO

  8. Debra says:

    Growing up we went to a dentist whose office was decorated with antique dental tools…crude, iron, scary-looking things. This guy, too, didn’t believe in novocaine. Then, as a young teen, I wore braces that were put on and maintained by another evil man who was…less than gentle. This was my experience with dental care as a youth and that is why I did not visit a dentist for several (many) years in my 20s.

    Then came a broken tooth. My boyfriend (now husband) referred me to his dentist who was the nicest and GENTLEST person around. He understood dentist-phobia and always numbed me to the eyeballs, and I loved him. He’s retired now and we have a different dentist who is not as nice as the old one but critically, believes in numbing to the eyeballs too before any dental work. So, I’m a good girl and go every 6 months.

    Dentist stuff is awful. Even with the numbing, I hate it. But in your case, I suppose, better this happened to you here than in France! I’m going to schedule my checkup just before my trip next year to make sure tooth issues don’t ruin my long awaited return to la belle France.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Debra, you were lucky that your now husband had a great dentist. I think those old-school dentists we had were downright abusive. And I can bet that a great number of people over the age of 50 need extensive work done on their teeth due to the childhood trauma of the dentists we went to.
      I’m trying to make an appointment now to visit a Louis Vuitton store when we get there. the bags are less pricey but the website is horrendous! XOXOXOXO

  9. Oh no! I hope everything works out with your dental situation 😬

  10. Ann R says:

    Catherine I can feel your pain! However it’s better to get sick before you are traveling rather than when you’re traveling. You’re lucky to have good dental insurance that covers a dental implant mine unfortunately does not. Don’t worry about the metal screw in your gums a good implant feels like a regular tooth. I have three to replace molars they are expensive but the way to go. I think dentistry has come a long way from the 1950s and 60s thank God! I only wish dental insurance would pay for the new techniques. When you reach a certain age you get beyond fillings & root canals and go onto crowns & implants. Have a wonderful trip!

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Ann. And thank you. We are both looking so forward to the trip. Last trip to Paris was not a good one. Actually it was two years today that my brother passed away.That entire month was just horrible. This time around it should be better–especially since I took care of my tooth. Honestly, if we didn’t have the trip, I would have let the tooth go. Glad I’m taking care of this! XOXOXOXO

  11. Jill Sheehan says:

    Loved your story and the comments. I though ti was the only one growing up whose dentist didn’t use painkillers. I used to need gas just to get my teeth cleaned. Anything more aggressive than that was valium, gas, then Novocain. So glad to know I am not the only one terrified of the dentist. Thanks for sharing, I now know I am not alone in this phobia.

    • Catherine says:

      Oh Jill. Take solace in the fact you are not alone! I did have valium and gas in the past but still prefer Novocain. I was loaded up numb yesterday and did not feel a thing! XOXOXOXOXO

  12. thelakewoman says:

    All these stories made me smile. When we were children all dentists went to the Marquis de Sade dental school. They loved making you scream in pain. My first dentist would shout at me to stop being such a child!! Hated that man. You’ll be able to enjoy your trip.

    • Catherine says:

      Thank God for Pediatric Dentists these days. Children don’t know how lucky they are. It’s true every dentist in the 1950’s through 70’s attended the Marquis de Sade Dental School. I love that term! XOXOXO

  13. Kay says:

    OMG! Such a good story….our neighborhood dentist has a big sign outside saying
    “WE CATER TO COWARDS”

  14. Bogs says:

    Was it the very last tooth? I cracked mine in half a few years back. They put on a crown. Then I cracked the last tooth on the other side, but this one needed to be pulled. Easy! And it just healed. My dentist said no need to put in another tooth if it is the last one. Healed and I could never tell the difference. Good luck!!

    • Catherine says:

      Hey Bogs. I was the second–to-last tooth. I couldn’t get a bridge because the tooth in front of it is crooked (I should have had braces) so the implant is needed to keep the other teeth from shifting and loosening. I was amazed at how easy the process was of pulling it out. I honestly thought it would be painful and it wasn’t! Thank you! OXXOXOXO

  15. Juliet says:

    Crumbs!!!! We have dentists that cater to anxious patients – its a thing these days. My late mum was a school dental nurse in the 1950s (they did ALL the dental care for primary school age children), she could neatly extract a troublesome tooth and you actually had no idea she had done it, no one will ever be that good in my eyes. I need to find a new one since we have moved to Carlisle, everything is slightly different now we are in England compared to Scotland where I had a great dentist – thanks for the reminder! Hope all goes well with the tooth and you will be in Paris before you know it 🙂

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Juliet! I’m extremely happy with my new dentist–and his staff–they are incredible. LOL. The tooth came out yesterday afternoon. I’m eating soups (my secret diet tool) so as not to disturb the stitches or anything. I’m prepping my belly for thetrip! XOXOXOXO

  16. Momcat says:

    Wow I cannot believe so many here have had such bad interactions with dentists. My father felt that dental care was next to going to Mass every Sunday so we went every six months. Our dentist was a lovely man who had a large family and the practice was in his house. Our next dentist was also nice and very practical. Because I had four teeth extracted before braces he felt removing my wisdom teeth was not a good idea. Since they were only partially impacted he elected to remove some of the gum..at 66 I still have those wisdoms. Our current dentist has been in our lives for thirty years and is a great guy. Our insurance allows for four cleanings a year and, like Cathe I ‘plaque up’ easily so take advantage. My niece ( a UPenn dental graduate) reminds me that a good dentist ( or hygienist) should also regularly check the oral mucosa and tongue for lumps, bumps or spots. A dentist can often spot an oral cancer early while it’s treatable. So not going regularly can be detrimental to more than your teeth.
    A pro ager’s best friends are a good hairdresser, a good dermatologist and a good dentist. Maybe a good therapist too.
    Good luck Cathe on your tooth extraction and your new tooth!!

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Al. Wait! Your neice is a UPenn Dental Grad? So is my new dentist, Dr. Pascal Wollach. I wonder if they know each other? And he’s Canadian!!!! Perhaps the nicer dentists come from Canada!!
      Overall, dental insurance in the USA sucks. I was pleasantly surprised that Cigna covered a nice amount of the extraction. It’s so sad. LOL. My parents were super Catholic but not super dentist!
      Thanks. The tooth is out. No swelling. Just a bit sore which is natural. No pain. I’m just taking my amoxcocillin (sp) to ward off infection and it’s been great! XOXOXOXO

  17. Marze says:

    Hi Catherine,

    You will love having the implant. I’ve had one for almost 25 years (I had a baby tooth until my mid-30s. No permanent tooth behind, and that little tooth decided it had had enough time in my mouth.) It has been a breeze the whole time.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Marze! Yeah. I KNOW I’ll love that implant. Trust me, if money was no object, I think I would have all my back teeth implanted. Can you believe a dental wimp just wrote that???It’s nice to hear your validation! XOXOXOXO

  18. patty says:

    Strangely, I had a pretty good experience with a root canal. He was an older man who had me in a headlock for quite a long time, It seems my root turned at the bottom and was tricky to get at. I’m always grateful that dentistry has come a long way since the meanies from childhood.

  19. Wendy says:

    Sorry, I’m late to the comments and also don’t comment very often but I have to say that you could’ve been describing me on the dentist phobia front!! I lie in the chair, knuckles white and as stiff as a board. There isn’t an ounce of relaxation in my body when I’m in the dentist’s chair. I think what I most fear is that he’ll somehow hit a nerve which will result in the most horrific pain known to mankind. Needless to say I don’t go very often. I am SO with you on all of this!

    • Catherine says:

      Wendy. THAT’S EXACTLY WHY IM PETRIFIED OF THE DENTIST. HITTING A NERVE! And that IS the most horrific pain known to mankind! That is why I opted for an extraction and an implant. There’s no way I’m doing a root canal. No amount of novacaine can numb hitting a nerve! I would rather have teeth pulled! XOXOXOXO

  20. DEB says:

    I have had more work done on and in my mouth than any human should (braces twice, reconstructive jaw surgery, crowns, root canals, extractions and implants) and I can tell you, the implants were the easiest part (be glad you don’t need a bone graft, I needed that too!) Inserting the implant takes less than 30 minutes and the wait time of 3 months is to simply allow the bone to grow around it to keep it stable. Attaching the tooth is a piece of cake – it took about 30 minutes. I have been very lucky in that I have always had a team of dentists that kept the pain to a minimum and I don’t have an overt fear of having dental work done. My wish for you is that this will be a positive experience and possibly help you overcome your fear. Wishing you all the best!

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Deb and thank you! Actually I did have a graft and felt nothing. I’m not exactly looking forward to having work done but you are correct in the fact that the implant is nothing. A week later and I’m feeling great! XOXOXOXO

  21. jan says:

    New commentator here. Love you blog. Funny I just had implant surgery today (the second part).I ended getting the happy IV. Right before I became conscious, I was dreaming about beautiful abstract art in blues and yellow. So far I feel great.

    • Catherine says:

      Thank you Jan. Hey, I still remember a dream I had when I was put under as a child to have a tooth extracted. It was about cartoon cars. I could use some of that happy gas every day! Glad you feel great! XOXOXOXO

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