Thursday 6th August – The Dentist
A while ago (I can’t remember exactly when—probably while I was in America, so possibly not much more than a month ago) one of my teeth began to hurt if I drank extremely cold things, and perhaps felt a bit funny when I flossed around it. It seemed fine otherwise, but after having more than my fair share of dental problems in the past, I am now extremely paranoid—so last week I made an appointment to have it checked out. The dentist had a look, and took an x-ray which showed a dark area around part of the filling. As it was quite close to the nerve and looked as though it may be “leaking”, the dentist recommended that I have the filling replaced. There was also a small hole, as can be seen in the photo.
However it wasn’t six months from my previous check-up until the following Wednesday, and the practice offers to pay any gap between what health insurance pays on dental check-ups, but only every six months, so an appointment was made for today to have my six-monthly check-up, and also have the filling replaced.
So… after getting up, having an ibuprofen and the strongest (300mg codeine) paracetamol I could find (not, I should point out, because I was in pain—but because I am fearful of dentists and the likely pain to come), along with a glass of milk, can of soup and a multivitamin so as not to die, I rushed to the dentist. They did the usual unbelievably expensive cleaning of my teeth, calculus removal, and fluoride poisoning—and then removed the filling on my molar which had become sensitive to cold and which in an x-ray had looked “like it might be leaking” and which was worryingly close to the nerve. The dentist told me that the filling, after removing it, looked like it had been okay—but that there was quite a lot of exposure to the pulp, so there’s a 90% chance I’ll need a root canal. In fact, she asked if I wanted to prepare for a root canal now, or put a “pulp cap” in (which from my understanding is an antibiotic which may stop infection and let the nerve live happily ever after, but probably won’t) and hope for the best. I chose the pulp cap, so I now have a pulp cap with a fluoride-filled covering over that, with a filling on top of that, and a sort of desperate hope that it will all be okay and the pulp won’t get infected, killing the nerve and the tooth in the process, requiring a root canal and later a crown—and I don’t even want to think about what happens after that.
Now I don’t pretend to understand dentistry, but my assumption is that the filling itself was fine and probably hadn’t broken through to the pulp, and in removing it the dentist has gone into the pulp—the nerve cavity—and thus caused this problem, which actually wasn’t a problem beforehand. There’s obviously nothing I can do about it now that it’s happened, but I’m not sure if I should be concerned that this isn’t a good thing to have happened, or if I’m not understanding properly and it isn’t the dentist’s fault? Should I be asking for a discount on further treatment for this if the problem was caused by an unneeded intervention in the first place? Or seeing a different dentist? Should I go talk to someone about this, and if I do mention it, is it a really bad idea to have dental work done by someone you’ve probably made angry by accusing of causing the problem in the first place?
Or to put it simply, did I go to the dentist complaining an otherwise fine tooth was sensitive to cold, and come away with a hole drilled into the nerve cavity and a high likelihood of that tooth now dying?
Either way, I’m very unhappy. Oh, and my useless health insurance didn’t cover it due to its limit having been reached, so the dentist halved the bill. I’ve yet to understand the point of insurance which has a lower annual limit than what I pay annually—there is quite literally no way that it can be of financial benefit to me having it, other than requiring it so that the premiums don’t go up each year as I age, which is a sort of economic blackmail in my opinion.
Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art lens
Having partially recovered from the shock of the dentist, I turned my mind back towards the problem of replacing my camera lens. I found out that the Sigma lady’s Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art lens cost $880 and was out of stock, while Photo Continental’s cost $809, and yesterday had one left. DWI’s cost $855 (down from a theoretical $929), Ted’s seem to be $999, and CameraPro had one listed at $779, though not in stock. Considering Photo Continental is not only nearby, but also the cheapest place that seemed to have stock, I drove down there. Unfortunately the only one they had left was their display one—which may have been on display since May as that’s when they ordered that batch in apparently, and had a fingerprint on it—but they price matched the $779 price and threw in a $12 step-up ring (which I’d already bought on eBay for $1.36, but that one will take weeks to get here and will probably be the wrong thing) so I bought it and am now the unhappy owner of an exciting new lens.
I’m not, I should point out, unhappy with the lens—it was just unfortunate timing as what would probably have been an exciting new purchase has been drowned out by my dental woes.
I took a few test photos with the lens and tried calibrating its auto-focus. The step-up ring idea hasn’t worked—it’s possible to put 77mm filters on it, and until I sort out what I’m doing with it I have put a UV filter on, but it’s not really feasible and was difficult to do. It wouldn’t be possible to pop a polarizing filter on easily and quickly.
I wasn’t able to sleep as I was too stressed about my teeth, so I stayed up until 5 AM.