Chapter One Hundred Fifty-Three: Ma’am and the crown…

When you are little, a crown has a whole different meaning. It conjures up Princesses, flowy, dresses, dragons, castles, and a Prince or two. Crowns and tiaras become a part of a wardrobe staple for some little girls and boys, that they may carry on into adulthood. Celebrations such as weddings, Summer Solstice, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, all visualize crowns made of flowers, jewels, ribbons, etc…

But the word crown takes on a whole new meaning when one enters middle age. Like most things that occur during middle age, it isn’t pleasant. The word crown does not leave one with a wistful, dreamy feeling. Instead, within, it generates angst, apprehension, and a visit to one of the most unnerving places, the dreaded dentist.

Visions of Dustin Hoffman being tortured by Sir Laurence Olivier as the Nazi dentist in the movie Marathon Man always seems to flash through my mind whenever I enter the dentist’s office. Of course, my dentist is out of town, and I have a dental emergency, a  loose crown. I call the answering service and assume they will direct me to my dentist’s backup person, of course, that would be way too easy.

Instead, I am basically told I must wait until my dentist returns. I pull on my big girl pants and decide that I can do this. One day later… I have had enough of eating soup and fearing that I will wake up and have swallowed my crown. I could never last on one of those shows like Survivor. I call the answering service back and ask them to please have my dentist call me. Several hours later she returns my call. I hear waves and seagulls. I picture my dentist frolicking on a beach while discussing my crown situation. I apologize profusely for disturbing her on vacation, but I don’t think I can wait until she gets back from holiday. She tells me that she will text me in a bit and let me know.

I wait…I am so hungry and debate whether to attempt to make a sandwich but only chew on the left side of my mouth opposite from the crown side. I am too fearful that my crown may come out and become a part of my sandwich. Cheese, tomato, and lettuce, plus a crown between a baguette. I chicken out from my sandwich aspirations and munch on a banana. I Google crown situations and am inundated with horrific pictures of Hill Billy’s with missing teeth.

I call Confused Husband in a state of panic. He informs me that I better not lose that crown because our insurance won’t cover another one an homage to the WONDERFUL (code for despicable, ridiculousness,) health care coverage in the United States.

I receive a text and am instructed to call this number. I call and the receptionist is a low talker. I can barely understand what she is saying to me. She is also muffled because I can tell she is wearing a mask. I hear something about ten am tomorrow, an email. I gratefully say thank you and hope I understood her. A few minutes later I get a text and it’s from this dental place. They send what seems to be a War and Peace number of forms for me to fill out. All I want is my crown to be recemented! I basically sign away my life and wait.

The next day I jump in an Uber and explain to Khalil the Uber driver, how stressed I am about going to the dentist, and what if it’s worse than I thought? I ask him if he ever saw Marathon Man and what if I become Dustin Hoffman’s character and that happens to me? I suggest that maybe Khalil waits for me and we have a safe word which if I call him and say, so he can rescue me. I propose that if I call him and say: “The pancake is fluffy.” That means help come get me. Khalil informs me that he doesn’t know about this film, and he doesn’t like pancakes, he finds them too sweet.

I explain that he is:” NOT eating a pancake, it’s just code for help!” He responds: “Why don’t you just call and say help?”  WHY IS EVERYTHING SO DIFFICULT?!  I give him a quick synopsis of the film. He asks: “Why would you go to a Nazi for your dentist? Do you think this dentist is a Nazi?”  “Did you Google to make sure that they are not Nazis?” Khalil is missing the point. he also notifies me that he cannot wait, because he has other riders to pick up. I also share with Khalil that it’s not like Nazis advertise on Google.

Khalil drops me off and says: “I hope the Nazi dentist doesn’t pull out your teeth.” (Thanks so much for those reassuring words!) I head into the building. I tell everyone on the elevator about my dental emergency and express my fear of a reenactment of Marathon Man. no one seems to know this film! Do people not watch movies anymore?!

I get off the elevator and enter what looks like a spa. It smells delicious, and new age music is playing. I am pretty sure I hear a drill that the new age Pan flutist is trying to drown out. The low talker who has a name tag on that says” Z” greets me. Even in person and standing 3 feet away, I can’t understand her. I hand her the pile of papers and wait.

A few minutes later a bubbly dental hygienist with the nametag “G” comes to collect me (I assume it’s part of their theme to use only the first letter of each name.) I attempt to guess what her name is and instead of telling me she just laughs when I start throwing in names like Geronimo, and Gomer.  She is vibrant and talkative but refuses to say her name. I find that extremely odd. She tells me the Doctor will be in to see me soon.

In breezes a child in a white medical coat. I don’t even think he can shave yet. His nametag says “Dr. V” (okay this is bananas!) I exclaim:” So I have Doogie Houser as my dentist!” he stares at me. He is SOOOOOO young, that he doesn’t get this reference! I explain it to him.

Doogie has me lay in the chair and gives me those senior wrap-around -sunglasses which I find insulting until I realize they are because he essentially has shined a lighthouse beacon in my face. WTF?!  Not only will I be toothless but blind as well.

The vibrant hygienist comes in and they are oohing and ahhing into my mouth. dental terms are tossed out there. The exclamations are hard to decipher. Doogie the dentist informs me that I need braces and he has never seen such a case as mine. (I want to say “WTF?!” but he is wrist-deep in my mouth.)  He then says:” No one has ever recommended braces to you?” I attempt to say: “No!” and bite his finger. He jumps back in shock (right like that has never happened before). He then asks Miss Bubbly to hold my tongue back so he can investigate because not only do I need braces but, I apparently have a rather abnormally large tongue. (I know I have a large ass but wasn’t aware my tongue was fat too.)

This is getting better by the minute. I am then informed they are taking X-rays. (I just want my crown recemented!) X-rays are taken and I feel like I was starring in a tooth photo shoot so many were snapped. There is a major discussion about my X-rays, and a crowd has descended to view them. Hushed whispers and conversations are occurring, and I have no idea what is going on.

FINALLY, I am given my results.  Doogie the dentist informs me that, he pauses dramatically and looks down at the ground (OMG! HE FOUND SOMETHING IN MY XRAY AND WHAT A TUMOR?!!!) he sighs and clasps my hands and says:” It looks like you need another root canal on that tooth.” So now I need a root canal AND braces?!!! And I have a fat tongue too! This day just keeps improving! I just want him to cement my crown back on. I have lived fifty-plus years with apparently Bugs Bunny teeth so why the hell would I get braces now?! He prods and pokes for another twenty minutes and now my mouth is beginning to hurt.

Miss Bubbly comes in and assists him in finally recementing my crown. They act like they are performing open-heart surgery with all of their seriousness. I have to bite down and wait. He then gently says:” He will meet me in the consultation room.”

OMG, I just want to leave. After Miss Bubbly AKA “G” checks me. I am then escorted into the “Consultation room.” It is down a long windowless corridor, there seem to be no exits. In the windowless, and I assume soundproof room, I am seated with two other men in white medical coats. Yes, I am in a dental cult. I still have my Senior Ray Charles shades on as well. All I need is Confused Husband here in a Hawaiian shirt, and we would look like tourists visiting a time-share place.

Dr. Mitch and Dr. Ian are introduced to me and shared that they reviewed my X-rays and have come up with my treatment program. Well, several and we can see which works better for you. They present three different options. I am so baffled! The first plan is a photo of some weird 1970 brace headgear akin to Hannibal Lecter that they are suggesting I wear for my buck teeth. They explain the process and the payment options which cost more than a weekend getaway including flight and lodging, plus food.

I attempt to say” I just wanted a loose crown recemented. I have a dentist.” But every time I attempt to speak I am thwarted.  This is turning into me in a car dealership about to pay for an overpriced lemon. Dr. Ian says: “I have to believe in their ability to fix this.” I feel like I am one of those people Leah Remini interviewed in that Scientology documentary. 

I casually look at the door and wonder if it is locked. They attempt to book me an appointment and ask for my credit card info. I loudly say: “Why would I pay when I have insurance?!” They inform me that their practice doesn’t accept insurance and after I pay them via credit card, they will submit it to my insurance company and then my insurance company can reimburse me. I really am immersed in a dental timeshare, Gaslight situation.

I stand to leave and tell them: “Thanks, but no thanks.” They smile like they know something, and I don’t. They change tactics and present a PowerPoint on “Buck teeth nightmares “The pictures are traumatic, and I want to gag. I run my tongue over my own buckteeth and wonder…

Miss Bubbly comes into the room and informs the two heads of the dental cult that there is a medical emergency (probably another victim held captive found a window and jumped to escape.) They leap up and act like they are George Clooney and Anthony Edwards in a scene from ER about to save a guy that’s been skewered by a flagpole.

Dr. Ian turns to me and says: “Always life and death situations for us doctors!” (Ahh, okay, good thing I have these shades on so they can’t see the eye roll.) They dramatically exit the room and I seize my chance to escape.

I run JUST like Dustin Hoffman did for my life!  I have just escaped from a cult. Running out of the building. I sprint to the metro and make sure I wasn’t followed. I breathe a sigh of relief! The metro is packed! A man offers me his seat, and he leads me to sit by my elbow. I realize I still have these ridiculous sunglasses on and he must think I am blind!

Sitting, I begin to unpack my almost cult brainwashing scenario. I imagine myself being interviewed by Leah Remini and retelling my harrowing escape! My phone rings and it’s Confused Husband bellowing into the phone “Why are we charged two hundred dollars for glasses from a dentist? Why is a dentist selling glasses?” “Why would you buy glasses from a dentist?” I turn into Helen Keller. I pretend that I also am deaf…

Published by

Kat Akcakanat

Wife, Mother, Teacher, Artist, Writer, Friend.

4 thoughts on “Chapter One Hundred Fifty-Three: Ma’am and the crown…”

  1. Too Funny and Scary! A trip to the dentist is bad enough, but a timeshare-cult dentist? Good thing you ran! Hope you now have a new crowns (both for your tooth and head!) Thanks for the laughs, and reminder that I need to make a dentist appointment.


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