Sandra Tsing Loh gets dental surgery.
To review: As if in a dream, a chunk of tooth fell out, while eating Zankou chicken. Being myself a dental chicken, I got referrals for 36 different dentists off of Facebook - which is more than one for every tooth. You'd be surprised how seriously people take their dentists. There are people who've moved out of state who still fly in to L.A. twice a year to get their teeth cleaned by their beloved Dr. Yamasaki.
My choice ended up being Dr. Anna Hubler in Glendale whom my friends said, "specializes in terror." Fantastic. Even before coming in, I indulged in several phone conversations with the extremely patient Dr. Hubler, who calmly listened as I ruminated and hypothesized about various ways this thing could go. I don't think eHarmony.com supports this much pre-screening.
So, here's what a "terror specialist" does: she welcomes you. She sits you in the chair and quietly adjusts it while making small talk. Then she says, very gently: "May I look into your mouth?" Even though a strange-looking chunk of tooth had fallen out and clearly something was going terribly wrong with my back molar, instead of screaming: "Good God! That's the worst I've ever seen! The entire mouth is unsaveable!" Dr. Hubler warmly murmurs, without missing a beat, "Nice! Beautiful veneers! And, not too many cavities!"
Do you see? It's like having a dentist who compliments you for having a head. "Wow! And look at these! Teeth! You appear to have some teeth! Good job, young lady!"
In fact, Dr. Hubler was so mellow and friendly and complimentary, with such a soothing voice, that it takes totally happy and relaxed me a moment to process her review of my X-Ray. To wit: "This may not be the news you want to hear, but due to a split root, infection and bone loss, we should really extract that tooth. Can you see the surgeon on Monday?" The "good news" was that an implant would be just $5,000, and quote-unquote: "You'll be buried with it!"
Ah, well. So there you had it. There was no help for it but to schedule oral surgery and to medicate. I got Valium, Vicodin, and Amoxicillin when, oh yes, my sinus seemed to go temporarily numb. The night before my procedure, it was a bottle of Merlot and the only movie I could stomach, Mel Gibson's "Braveheart." Oh yeah. I figured after three hours of watching the raggedy Scots and their British oppressors beat the heck out of each other, a simple Glendale tooth extraction would seem like a spa treatment.
And it was.
In fact, am thinking of changing my Facebook relationship status to "In love with Nam Cho, DDS, Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery." But, perhaps I'll wait until the pain medication runs out.