On April 26th, Reg had an ortho appointment at 4:30 pm. That feels like last week, and yet it was a month and a half ago. I just fumbled around with my giant desk calendar that sits on my island, so sure was I that this appointment was in May.
Anywho, after the appointment Reg hopped in the car where I was waiting. "Only like 6 more weeks. Then I get my braces off."
On our drive straight to travel ball, Reg complained a bit. We've been going to the same place since Ed was 3 years old and required an expander. Yes, THREE.YEARS.OLD.
Ed's top and bottom teeth didn't line up right. He couldn't chew properly. He sucked on his food. When he was tired, he'd sit at the table almost like he was in a trance with his little lips pursed as he worked on his food. It's the face one makes when peanut butter is lodged on the roof of one's mouth. I'd constantly remind him STOP SUCKING, CHEW. He needed to make a concentrated effort to chew.
I shared my frustrations with the dentist and he sent us to the ortho. Ed then wore an expander (maybe something even before the expander?) with headgear at night. The drool while he slept would collect in his chin strap, leaving him with a bright red, raw chin.
At the ortho, Ed was a champ. Younger than most of their patients, the staff marveled at his willingness to cooperate, chit chat, etc. Plus he was as cute as a bug's ear. Ed's 21, so I've been going to this place for 18 years, if anyone's counting.
A few years ago, the ortho retired. He'd recovered from something as a young man (lymphoma?). He retired early and planned to do volunteer work, because he wanted to give back after being blessed with his eventual good health. He was a great guy, always very engaging.
Through a gradual process, he handed the practice off to new people. Reg and Curly, who experienced the original group, feel the new people do not measure up. Wires don't fit quite right or get tightened too much, and pieces break off more regularly. The staff comes across as clueless.
Early on, the new doc tried to get me to come in for a consult about THE PLAN, I was like OH, YOU JUST DO YOUR THING. All the explaining in the world will not make me any more knowledgeable about orthodontics. Save me the 1 hour consult, thank you very much.
Needless to say, to get one kid closer to the finish line at this non-favorite place felt AMAZING.
Me: SWEET, THEN IT'LL JUST BE CURLY, AND I THINK SHE'S GONNA FINISH UP IN LESS THAN A YEAR.
April 26, I sat in my car, ate my dinner from my thermos, and worked on my laptop while Reg was at travel ball. He came out at 8:15 pm.
Climbing into the car: OH, MY MOUTH.
I thought it was just the pain from having braces tightened. Sadly, no. He took an elbow to the front teeth during practice. One tooth was now protruding the littlest bit, and was overlapping the other front tooth.Nooooooo!!!!! We were so close.
I called the dentist. He was at the office on a board member zoom call meeting. He told me to bring Reg in. *This may or may not shock you, but I used to babysit for the dentist's kids when I was 12.
Dentist: YOU NEED TO GO BACK TO THE ORHTO. SOON. I'M NOT GONNA TOUCH THE TEETH, BUT THEY'LL PROBABLY PUT A SOFT WIRE ON. THEY'LL NEED TO TAKE X-RAYS.
Adding an extra trip to this off-the-beaten-path place was not ideal.
At the ortho a day or two later, they couldn't adjust anything yet. Too acute, but come back next week. In the meantime: have x-rays at the dentist. Said I'd have to start bringing him in every 2 weeks after the following week. They tried to send me back to the dentist for x-rays, claiming he had the better equipment. There was some back and forth with a few unnecessary phone calls. Finally the dentist called me personally to assure me that he'd told them
how to do their job that they needed to do x,y,z x-rays on x,y,z machine.
How did they not know this? Now, I had to go BACK there for x-rays that they should've taken. Dentist was like, it's OK - you can just do it next week. No need to go back today. Sweet mother.
We've been going every few weeks. On June 2nd, I sat in my car for an hour and 10 minutes for an appointment that should've taken a few minutes. What?
I marched inside: I DON'T KNOW WHAT'S HAPPENING, BUT THIS IS CRAZY. I NEED TO GO.
Reg later told me that he fell asleep in the chair, they'd left him laying there for so long. The office staff was like, OH, IT'S BECAUSE WE NEEDED TO TAKE SOME MORE PICTURES. HIS TOOTH IS CHANGING COLOR. More photos should not have taken that long, unless of course they don't know what they are doing, like which tooth do we take a photo of?
My internal dialogue that had recently celebrated an end in sight for braces was now going: TOOTH CHANGING COLORS? WHAT NOW? WE'VE BEEN HEARING THAT THE TOOTH WAS LOOKING FINE. EVERYTHING'S FINE, RIGHT?
Reg and I have an appointment at an endodontist later today. Can you hear that? It's me weeping. Poor Reg. Root canal? What are we looking at? No idea. Will the braces be extended? I'll keep you posted, in the meantime - dental nightmare stories? Clueless orthos? I'm afraid to ask.