Dentist

(I’m actually just posting this because I want sympathy from my friends–not going to lie. I really did send this to the Dean of Tufts Dental though.)

Dear Dean Thomas,

In the winter of 2010, I had partially erupted wisdom teeth that brought me both pain and frankly disgusting infections. Commonwealth Care and Tufts were kind enough to provide me with full anesthesia and a wisdom tooth–and infection free–mouth.

As a kid, my parents made a mistake of telling me that if I took care of my teeth, they wouldn’t fall out. Later, I found my grandfather’s dentures and this connected in my mind to form a life-long deep rooted fear of my teeth falling out. Wisdom tooth extraction was conceptually very traumatic, but the dentist was a lovely woman with very good drugs. I woke up part way through the procedure with this beautiful hallucination that we were in a jungle.

Afterwards, as feeling returned to my face and mouth, my tongue remained numb. Ultimately, the trade off between semi-regular infections and losing the ability to taste in half of my mouth seems fair. I don’t know if I believe in karma, but I do believe in balance.

Somewhere, between cavity filings (what I get for not seeing a dentist for several years while I was locked into that horrible situation of not being able to access health care because I had no access to health insurance. Dental care is usually exempt from a lot of health care initiatives, which is a damned shame because, I believe, good health starts with your mouth), I needed a root canal. This brought about a set of worries, nightmares, and anxiety attacks. I blame my parents for these. Lovely people otherwise.

The root canal itself went fine. That was in February. I got to take lovely naps in the middle of the day. I was told it would be two to four weeks until I would get my permanent crown. It was going to be gold.

This was at the beginning of February.

Today it is July 25th and I still don’t have a crown, gold or even temporary because the temporary ones keep breaking. This root canal been a litany of disasters. The worst part is, I can’t actually blame anyone for it. It’s not the fault of just one person–rather a series of bad things happening to people. Sure, it’s easy to blame the teacher dentists for their cold, removed ways. It’s easy to get mad at students and believe they’re incompetent even when they’re not. Between the anxiety attacks, nightmares, and random crying in the middle of the day, I have even gone as far as to blame you! This is entirely unfair to you, as you have in no way ever been a part of this process.

I apologize if this seems dramatic, but to me it has been. I have had a miserable six months, dealing with a consuming fear that has affected nearly all aspects of my life. I feel like no one at the dental school has taken my fears seriously at any step during this process. I understand reassurance is a liability issue, but I still want it, and have throughout.

I was told that, finally, possibly, hopefully, this mythical crown will arrive at the end of next week and that I’ll get an appointment, but frankly I don’t believe that anymore. I feel like I’ve been really fucked over by Tufts Dental. I’d apologize for my language, but let’s be honest, I could just delete it.

That’s why I’m writing to you. I want someone to acknowledge, and hopefully apologize, for the emotional trauma, difficulties to my work schedule (I have missed so much work for this), and overall inconvenience these experiences have caused me. It would mean a lot to me just to hear back.

Faithfully yours,
M.

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