When I saw Timmy’s number on the caller ID, I felt a familiar foreboding mixed with rage and a dash of despair fill my heart. It had only been a week since the fitting for my crown. I wasn’t supposed to hear from T-dizzle for at least a month.
We don’t get cell service in my office, so I called T-bone back from my office phone.
“Ms. Panda, unfortunately you have to come back in to get measured. The factory where we sent your crown measurements in China is on strike and it could take a lot longer to get your crown back than we had first anticipated.”
“How long Timmy?”
“Uh, at least two months. I know you wanted to get this taken care of quickly”-and this is the first time he’d taken that desire into account-“so if you could just come back in, we’ll take another measurement and it will be all taken care of.”
“Timmy, I can wait for the crown to come back from China. I really don’t want to miss any more work and I’m not that stressed about time.”
This is the point I realized he was lying and that all the pain I had gone through had been for naught.
Uggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. I went. I sat through more scalpeling and more ridiculous misogyny from Dr. Shoe Polish Hair. I sat though more chin on forehead action from the man-boy who was quickly turning into the longest relationship I’ve ever had. I sat through whispers of mismeasuring the bottom part of the crown and pretended that I still believed there was a real strike at a fake tooth factory in China. I sat through more promises of last visits and “almost finished” and hopeful tomorrows.
At the end, Timmy gave me a free professional whitening kit as an apology for making me come in again, which I did appreciate. He told me to be careful of overuse because my teeth were already “so freakin’ white.” I also appreciated the compliment. Then, I got very close to Timmy so that I could speak very quietly. “Timmy, I can’t come in again without getting a crown. I just can’t. Make it happen.”
And he did.
The next time I heard from him was to tell me that my crown was ready and that it was beautiful. I came in, sat for an hour while he shaved it down to be exactly the right fit and then left with a perfect fitting tooth. You can only tell it’s a crown if you look very, very closely. Leaving the dental school was like heaven. I told the Awesome Opossum, who obviously gets a phone call at the end of every dental visit, that I wouldn’t blog about any of this until it was finally over, because I didn’t want to jinx anything. I feel like I’ve survived a war in my mouth.
I saved about $1,500 going to the dental school over going to a regular dentist. I probably gave myself 20 new gray hairs and a new crow’s foot on each eye in the stress that all of this has cost me. I don’t know if it was worth it, but I do know how glad I am that it’s over. From now on, I am going to go to the dentist regularly and floss and take super good care of my teeth. I’m going to smile at people on the subway and help the elderly across the street and have more faith in humanity. I’m going to take this strife and come through a better person.
An hour after I finished typing the last Teef post, I got a call from Timmy’s cohort, Tom. Apparently, we still have mouth business to attend to. This journey will never end.