Real Talk Tuesday: Ass-pen Dental

Happy Wednesday? Saturday? Monday? Who knows?

How has this awkward period that will forevermore be referred to as “The Quarantine” been treating you? Are you staying home? Are you cooking more than normal? Are you stepping on the scale? Anyone else gain at least three pounds from the incessant baking that has been happening? Can the stores please run out of sugar so I can stop making cookies? For the love of God.

As for us, we go for a lot of walks and a lot of drives. Anthony goes to the grocery store about every two weeks because he is able to shop for everything, come home and sanitize the groceries and then move on with his life. I go to the store, do a 1.5 second order pickup just inside the store entrance, get home, sanitize everything and proceed to wonder if I have coronavirus symptoms for the next 87 days.

It’s just better that he goes. Really.

Speaking of staying home and halting everyday, nonessential activities, let me tell you a little tale of why I had to venture out last Monday.

This story starts in Florida, March of 2019 and ends with me swearing vengeance on Aspen Dental in the form of a negative review and this here blog post. 🙃

Ha, okay wait. It actually starts in the seventh circle of hell, Worcester, Massachusetts in July of 2018, but I promise I’ll keep it brief for the sake of time.

..Because we’re all so busy these days. 😂

Quick backstory: in 2015 we moved to Wisconsin and left my childhood dentist behind. I hate dentists, they scare the sh*t out of me. But I mean, when I had to go, I went. The fear however, translated into me not going out of my way to find a new one in Wisconsin. I had it in my head that I’d “go while I was visiting home.”

Ha. Ha. I’m so funny.

I have a thing about dentists where none of them are as good as the one I’ve always had. So, it’s just better for me to not go than have some hack ruin my teeth, right? This is what you’d call Sam Logic. “I don’t want them to ruin my teeth so I shall do it myself.” 😂

Flash forward to July 2018.

  • Anthony quits his awful job and with it goes the dental plan we had at the time. Naturally, in the final week before it ran out, I was feeling some pain in one of my molars. I don’t know why (it wasn’t even bad) but it just catapulted me into this “I need to see a dentist. Right now. Immediately. It’s an emergency. I can’t handle indefinite severe tooth pain. What if it gets into my blood system and I become even more infertile than I already am? CALL NOW.”
  • Childhood dentist is booked out several months. So what did I do? Called Aspen Dental. They are everywhere and thus were able to fit me in last minute that very day.

This visit turned into like four other visits over the course of the week to fix the six cavities they found. One in each of my molars, and two in two front teeth.

I was mildly insulted as I floss & brush my teeth religiously at least twice a day, and sometimes I even throw in an extra brushing when I’m bored. But hey, time was of the essence so, pencil me in, guy.

Flash forward even further to March 2019. We had gone to Florida for a sort of “babymoon” where I was thrilled to find out they had a Culver’s – a fast food joint from Wisconsin that serves THE BEST FROZEN CUSTARD.

While I was enjoying my orgasmic treat, my bottom right molar was not. We got back to the house and pretty much anything I ate or drank was bothering it. Gulp. Could a cavity have reopened? This tooth was worked on like 29 times during that week-long stint I did at Aspen.

Not wanting to waste any time (I had a tooth that needed a root canal once and I can confidently say it was the worst pain I’ve ever felt, including back labor) I reluctantly called Aspen again, as I was already a patient there and they are ubiquitous so I knew I could find one close to us. I was able to get an appointment for when we got back from Florida a couple days later.

At the time, I was in my second trimester, so while the tooth pain was not extreme, I didn’t want to risk some weird infection situation with a baby on board. This is also why when they told me I needed two root canals in my bottom molars, I didn’t question and scheduled the first one right away.

They did the first root canal the next week. The dentist told me it was “incomplete” as the anatomy of my tooth was complicated, and he couldn’t fill it properly, so the tooth would need to be pulled. He slapped on a temporary filling and told me to come back after baby arrived four months later.

So, spoiler alert, I didn’t. The tooth wasn’t bothering me, the temporary filling was still intact, and I had a newborn and was a little busy. You could say it slipped my mind. As far as I was concerned, I’d deal with it when it became a problem.

This brings us to present day. Thursday before last, I felt a weird sensation in my tooth, and I think because of the current “lockdown” situation, I felt oddly trapped and started worrying more than normal about what would happen if I had some major tooth infection during a global pandemic. Which, to me the non-expert, felt entirely realistic when I left an “incomplete root canal” sitting for over a year.

This time thanks to said pandemic, I was able to nab an emergency appointment at my childhood dentist’s office, as the receptionist said it sounded like I could have an abscessed tooth (cue the psychosomatic symptoms that followed). I was scheduled to go in last Monday.

So Monday rolls around, I suit up, fully prepared to not touch anything that I don’t need to, including my face, eyes, etc and head into the office with my ziplock bag of alcohol wipes because this is life now, acutely aware of every breath I took outside of our house. Like the virus was some sneaky mosquito or something and would sense that I left my property. 😂

(Lol, ok I’m not that hysterical about it.)

I get my x-rays done and much to my surprise, the dentist who s p e c i a l i z e s in tooth removal & implants tells me, “I don’t see any reason for this tooth to come out.”

Not only that, but also, “this tooth has some staining, but I see no evidence of a cavity.” Referring to my other bottom molar.

SAY WHAT NOW?

This tooth that’s giving me shit right now is fine, no abscess, no need to be removed, no nothing, just something that broke off inside the root and I could fix it if I so choose later on as an elective procedure? The pain I’m feeling is likely from grinding my teeth??

(I mean, I buy it. I grind my teeth constantly. I tend to overthink, and I can feel the tension that lives in my jaw.)

The other molar that Asshole Dental told me “nEeDs a rOoT cAnAl AsAp1!1!” DOESN’T EVEN HAVE A CAVITY? Nor any sign of infection?!?

Which also leads me to believe the original root canal I had on the incomplete tooth was unnecessary as well. Probably just some simple cavity. But by all means Aspen Dental, TRY TO TRICK ME INTO HAVING MY TOOTH PULLED.

Needless to say, I’m pretty pissed. When I asked the dentist if it was possible that Aspen made this shit up, he said, “you tend to see that from corporate dental offices, unfortunately.

Uh. So in a nutshell, I am so glad I never went back to Aspen Dental to have them rip out a perfectly functional tooth & charge me for a $5k implant. Oh and eventually kill my other healthy tooth that they said also “needed” a root canal.

Like, I’m sorry I thought I was going to the dentist, not a salesman.

Moral of the story? Never go here. Or any corporate dental office. Regardless of the reviews.

The end.

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