Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

On the firing of a dentist

Tuesday night, right before I left work, I broke a filling in one of my molars. It’s the third tooth up from the back, on the bottom, and it has a silver (or silver-color) filling that’s sort of bowtie-shaped on the top of the circular tooth. It has always bugged me since I got it, because food gets caught between the teeth and I have to floss it out. Well, this time, when I went to floss it, it felt like a giant seed or pit or something was stuck in there and I couldn’t get it loose. I went to a mirror and saw that the entire back part of the filling was loose, and I was actually lifting that out with the floss. Cue panic.

I called my dentist, the guy who is right next to my house and who did the half-ass work, and he was just leaving and said he couldn’t do it unless I came in on Thursday and sat around all day. I had visions of swallowing the filling and having white-hot pain for days and the inability to eat solids, so I started googling “emergency dentist New York”, cost be damned. I eventually found a guy who would take me at 9:00 the next morning, for $300 plus the cost of any repair. I then went home and ate macaroni and cheese, which you can pretty much drink if you make it soft enough, and went to bed with great worry in my head.

The new dentist was good. Fast, courteous, he took an x-ray and explained the situation. The old dentist did a shit job of putting on the filling, and it didn’t fit flush to the tooth in the back. So all that food from the last few months got caught under there and eroded away the tooth underneath, making it come loose. Even I could see the problem on the x-ray. (Of course, I’ve had a little more practice looking at dental x-rays than the average person.) He drilled out the back part of the filling, put in this temporary cement filling stuff that looks like thick white-out, and we made an appointment to do a real repair this month. I thought of going back to the old dentist, bitching him out, and trying to get some work for free, but if he’s going to do a piss-poor job on the repair and make it all repeat itself in three months, forget it.

The new guy, oddly enough, is the team dentist for the Yankees. He doesn’t keep a regular practice, just this emergency service and other appointment-only work. He’s also a baseball photographer, and googling his name brought up a million SI and API photo credits, which is pretty weird. At least I’m not a fervent Red Sox fan or anything.

So between the stress of my back (which is almost better, but not quite), the stress of my tooth, the stress of my stupid job, and don’t forget tax season comes soon, I haven’t been getting much done. I’m still reading journal entries, making minor snips and edits, and pushing them into one of the howevermany categories. I think there will be a rather large “other” category, though. I’m also reading this biography of the Wright brothers, which is old but very good. Very weird to hear the stories of their ancestors; I can’t imagine moving to Richmond, Indiana and having your entire family killed by Indians.

I’m also working my way through the Beatles Anthology DVDs, an episode a night. (There are, I think 8 episodes plus extras, two per DVD, each one being about 80 minutes long.) I am three episodes in, and the beginning of Beatlemania has happened, along with their first movie. It’s all good, but it’s also somewhat annoying that at this point, they play pretty much the same eight songs over and over. I can’t wait for another album or two to come out to get some more stuff going. But the interviews are great, and they’ve spliced in a lot of home movies the band took on trips abroad, old TV footage, fan-shot movies, radio recordings, the whole nine yards. They must have some heavy-duty archivalists at Apple Corps.

Speaking of Apple, no, I’m not getting an iPhone. They look very nice, but at ~$700 plus maybe $100 a month on the calling plan, that’s a hefty chunk of change just to browse the web on a tiny screen. I think if I was so inclined, I would just get a Blackberry or a Sidekick. I think a Sidekick is like $200 + plan, which is $30 for data and then whatever for voice. I dunno, maybe.

Okay, time for work. A short day, and then a long weekend. We will be going out of town on Saturday/Sunday, so that’s good. That’s all.