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Reporter’s Notebook: Dental Divorce and the New Man in my Life

For 15 years I was in a committed, caring relationship. Okay fine, occasionally I strayed, but only because of distance -- I was in LA, he was here, it happens. But last week I was uncerimoniously dumped.

You might remember the .

Since then, I called my dentist and told him, one last time, my poor ravaged tongue needed his attention. One last time I asked him if he could fix my temporary crown. One last time, he said, through his receptionist, “No.”

“There’s nothing sharp in your mouth so there’s nothing he can do,” the receptionist told me, relaying what he’d said.

I asked for advice, “Can you ask him if there anything I can do to get through the next six weeks? I mean I can hardly talk.”

She put me on hold again, then came back to the phone and said, "No. He has no advice."

I said, “Well I’m going to have to see another dentist because I can’t live in pain for another six weeks.” She said, again, “There’s nothing he can do.”

And so it came to be, through a third-party, that my dentist and I have formally broken off our 15-year relationship. In short, I got dumped over the phone.

So now I’m stuck playing the field for the first time in more than a decade of a stable, loving relationship.

I called a dentist, who was recommended by a friend. His receptionist said, “Dentists don’t touch a crown that another dentist’s prepped. It’s the golden rule.” Sounds more like the secret handshake, but either way, I hung up without a date.

As is often the case with golden rules, turns out it’s a financial thing. It has to do with insurance. So I called the my wonderful Endodontist, Dr. Bernie, who recommended: Dr. Ruddell in Oakland.

I explained to Dr. Ruddell’s French-sounding receptionist how I got jilted. She was appalled.

"It's their job, to get you out of pain," she said with more passion than I’ve ever known a receptionist to have.

She mentioned the golden rule, but that she’d check with Dr. Ruddell.

When she came back on the line she said, “No problem.  When Dr. Ruddell comes back from vacation Tuesday he’ll fix the temporary first thing. Then you can decide if you want your old dentist to do the crown, or have him do it.”

So it turned out Dr. Ruddell’s golden rule was to get the client out of pain – insurance by damned. My kinda guy. He just might be long-term material, but it’s way too soon to say.

I’ll be there (9:30 a.m.) as you’re reading this post. So wish me luck, I haven’t been on a blind date in ages.

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