For those of you who where here from the start, you may recall that I began this blog as a result of a bad dental day. You can read all about that here. That saga has continued. Here are the latest developments from yesterday.
After the initial trauma of having three titanium screws surgically removed from my upper jaw without the benefit of modern anesthesia, I went for a follow-up visit with Dr. Szell. More bad news. I was told that the damage done by the mis-fitted dental prosthetic was irreversible. There was significant bone damage / loss and now the only way forward was to sacrifice 4 more teeth to create an 8-tooth bridge. Not what you want to here, especially when you are still in your 30’s
The good doctor was quite apologetic and said he would fix the problem and even give me back a “small amount” of the $10,000 he had charged me to permanently disfigure my teeth. What a guy.
But then he told me there was more bad news. He said he had accidentally applied too much pressure to one of my healthy teeth and in doing so he thinks he killed it. I would now need a root canal on that tooth. And since he wasn’t sure the nerve was dead or not, it would have to be done without any anesthesia. So we made an appointment and several days later I was back in his chair. He began the root canal, but after drilling for a while he could not find the canal. He stopped and told me there was a complication and he would need to send me to a root canal specialist. We made an appointment and several days later (yesterday) I was in his friend’s chair.
I get in and the dentist will not speak English. I explained that I don’t speak Swedish. He just glared at me. This is going to be a long appointment I thought.
He put rubber surgical dressing (dam) around my mouth to isolate the tooth. Then began. He drilled until it hurt. Then stopped and prodded until it hurt some more. Then he scraped out the canal repeating the three steps several times with three breaks for x-rays to see where he was.
The most disconcerting part was how he was conducting some sort of business on the side. Something to do with payments. The fist time, mid-canal he stops to take a phone call from someone who I assume owes him money or someone squeezing him for payment. The discussion gets quite heated. He is getting pissed off. Then returns to my root canal.
He is much more aggressive now. I notice he’s looking at his assistant instructing her who else to call over this money matter as he scrapes and probes. He’s got the point where the nerve is very close and it begins to hurt. She gets the next guy on the phone he abruptly stops and takes the phone. He is nice to this guy. They talk money and payments. I figure this is either someone he owes money to or someone is is trying to coax a payment from to pay the other guy. He seems in a better mood when he returns to my tooth.
He’s at the bottom of the canal. I can feel most of what’s happening now. He tells his assistant to get the other guy back on the phone. I cringe to think of him getting re-agitated at this delicate point in my procedure. I’m relieved to hear that his assistant is unable to get the guy on the phone. He seems displeased but composed.
The procedure took one hour and 15 minutes. He spoke English as I left. That was nice. He said the filling should last until September. He also said the tooth will hurt for a day or two.
Compared to the other procedures I’ve been through the root canal was a cake walk. Nothing to it. But what really hurt was the invoice: $1,000. With the addition of this bill my dental costs are up over $11,000 — not including out of pocket expense, the cost of lost work and considerable pain and suffering.
I’m constantly reminded that “People in Sweden don’t sue” and in general I like that. But there are limits. I’m going to have another talk with Dr. Szell.