I’m not much of a gambler. I work too hard for my money to see it slide away easily in games of chance—and that’s what happens since I have awful luck. Even when my husband’s company gave everyone play money at a company Casino Night party once, I bet conservatively . . . and was flat-broke in about 20 minutes. People tsk-tsked me and said they’d never seen anyone lose money (real or fake) that fast. I spent the night eating way too many canapés and watching other people play.
In Vegas I’m more about going to see the shows and shopping and hitting the buffets than I am spending time in the casinos. I get 21 (even my math-challenged brain can add up cards), but it seems to me the dealer hits it far more often than the players at the table. Roulette? Too much riding on a single number. Baccarat? Well, I can spell it. But I’m not exactly sure what it is. Poker? The table stakes are too rich for my blood. Keno? I couldn’t begin to tell you how to play it.
So when in Vegas, I hit the baby slot machines. And I usually lose the set amount in my mind that is the cutoff for me. Only once did I hit it “big” – for me – and walked away with $40 in profit. The better to shop, my dear!
That leads me to betting on a tooth recently. I woke up one morning, steeped a cup of blueberry tea to accompany my Greek yogurt, and then took a swallow.
And about came off the sofa so fast and high that I almost hit my head on the ceiling.
Overnight, I felt enormous pain eating or drinking anything hot. Cold items didn’t phase me. It was the hot that got to me. I’m one of those people who likes their food piping hot, like burn the roof of your mouth on pizza hot, only hotter. I drink at least 3 cups of hot tea a day and during cold weather, I might throw in a mug of hot chocolate for good measure. So this was a huge deal.
I scheduled a dental appointment, not quite believing that only 2 weeks before I’d had my regular 6-month check-up and got a clean bill of health for my teeth and gums. Back in the chair, Dentist B (whom I’ve seen a couple of times and like a lot) said I would need a root canal. YIKES! Everyone cringes when those words are spoken. I’d never had one, but I sucked in my breath and shuddered all the same.
Based on my X-rays, she thought it was Tooth #30, the next to last one, while I thought the pain concentrated in #31, Mr. Dead Last in the back. She politely told me that the roots in #31 had calcified. In layman’s terms, they were old and shriveled. #30 had more potential for pain to be present since its roots looked much better.
Now here’s where the gambling began. Both #30 & #31 had crowns on them. To see what was happening in my mouth, she’d have to remove the crown, which would destroy it. Insurance only pays 50% for a new crown, so we’re talking a lot of money. And that’s not counting the additional expense for the root canal. I had to decide which crown to lift up for the look-see. If I chose wrong, I’d have to pay for that crown to be replaced and then STILL remove the other crown (paying for another new one) and have the root canal on that tooth. My husband told me to trust my gut.
So I went with #31.
I got all numbed up before she lifted the crown off. Half of the root canal was then performed (She “accessed” it, whatever that meant), with the filling of the roots to take place when I returned. My temporary put on. I experienced no pain for the three weeks it stayed in my mouth.
Then I returned for the rest of the root canal to take place. Dentist B dug deeply, but my little calcified roots wouldn’t let her get in there. She called in Dentist A since he’s had more experience with the procedure (I’ve seen him several times in the past). He dug to China and couldn’t do anything. Now it was consultation time. They could send me to a specialist down the road with a microscope to finish the procedure (Wonder how much insurance covers on that?), or we could go conservatively and put the permanent crown in and hope for the best. There had been very little bleeding and since I’d experienced no pain, I probably bet on the right tooth (Woo-Hoo!).
I decided to take the cautious bet. Both dentists told me I might never experience pain in that area again—or I could in 5 weeks or 5 months or 5 years. At this point, I was happy that I was pain-free and only a bill for one crown and root canal would be forthcoming.
So I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I’m good to go. My permanent crown fits like a dream, and I’ve eaten and sipped hot stuff for a couple of days now. The trepidation has died down, and I’m even flossing between #30 & #31 again.