Monday I had an appointment at the dentist to get impressions made for my new dental appliance.

There was some confusion at first, since I had asked for something that could be removed so that I could clean it myself and remove it if it became uncomfortable.

The dentist scheduled me for a bridge, which I assumed would be the removable appliance I had asked for. I do have dental insurance through [ghostbank] but it would not pay for the entire amount, leaving me holding a $2500+ bag. That’s a pretty big bag, but I have a bit of savings and they offered a payment plan. A second appointment was set up to give the new hole in my head time to heal, during which I experienced the “joys” of strep throat and having a white furry tongue.

Again, sorry about that. Here's a sleepy Fearless.

During my many convalescent periods, I had time to do a bit of research and find out the meaning of the different terms the doctor had used. Like many specialized professions, dentist have a language of their own that inexperienced outsiders might not understand. Immensely helpful in this was a website I found run by a dentist by the name of Doctor Spiller that answered all my questions. (Don’t click on the heading for Meth Mouth . Trust me.)

The bridge the dentist had scheduled me for would require the tooth on either side be ground into pegs, capped with crowns and an artificial tooth attached to either side to “bridge” the gap. I didn’t want two perfectly good teeth damaged irreparably, I just wanted to fill the gap in my mouth.

Going in to today’s appointment, I spoke to the receptionist when I checked in to make sure that what I was going to get would be a removable partial denture, not the bridge the doctor had been pushing on me. The receptionist told me I was scheduled for a bridge and I told her exactly what I told the doctor; that I wanted something that was removable, a partial denture. She writes a few things down and I go sit in the waiting room while she goes and tells someone that I’m being contrary. I get back to the exam room where the tools to destroy my teeth have been laid out and tell the assistant the same thing – I don’t want a bridge, I want a partial. She says “Oh, you just want a flipper.” (no idea why they call them flippers) and runs back up to the front so they can run my insurance again, since this is a different procedure.

I  wait.

The dentist comes in and I tell her the same thing – I don’t want a bridge. She tells me a bridge will be more comfortable, look better, grant me three wishes … I don’t care, I don’t want one.

The assistant comes back with good and bad news – my insurance won’t cover a portion of the flipper/partial denture the way it would the bridge. That’s the bad news, the good news is that it costs one-fifth what the bridge does. I agree to pay and go through the distasteful process of having my teeth cast in alginate. Blech. I should have my new tooth next Monday, so I’ll let you know how it goes.

It should look something like this;

Image appears courtesy of Doctor Spiller

This particular breed of flipper, a single tooth denture, is also called a Nesbit. Prior to the Seventies they would have cast metal wires securing them to the adjoining teeth, giving them the appearance of a spider when removed. In the Seventies, when lawyers learned that these were occasionally swallowed and, in very rare cases, the metal wires could possibly be sharp enough to do damage as Nature did its job, it became illegal to make them of metal. They are now made of a flexible material that should hold it securely in place.

Like so;

Image appears courtesy of Doctor Spiller

For those creeped out by teeth, sorry.

Here's a sleepy Firefly.