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settle down melitas...this won't hurt a bit...


Now this is in modern times: July 8, 2010 to be exact. I have just been to my dentist’s office in Palm Desert for the tooth-cleaning routine. My Hygienist finished picking away at the whatever teeth I have left, while the 2 bridges were in some machine getting their workout. All were in sparkling order, and I thought I was about to flee the premises, when she suddenly remembered that X-rays had to be taken. That is exactly what I did not want to hear. It would just have me face to face with Dr. Moller, and no way would I be looking forward to that.

After the X-rays, I would naturally have an audience with Dr. Moller. Last year in early 2009, he very gently went tap, tap, tap around the various teeth, which are still there, and then he stepped back. Our conversation went something like this:

Dr: Moller: “Now, you know, you have one crown, the upper left rear, that has been in there since 1986.…..”

Melitas: “Gee, I haven’t really been keeping track of any of them. Sorry to interrupt —-”

Dr. Moller: “…and the glue deteriorates, and that glue is probably in bad shape, and so I would strongly suggest that WE replace it before WE have a problem.”

Melitas: “How much?”

Dr. Moller: “$1400.00”

Melitas: “Oh, well, then I’m saying…….. if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

End of conversation.

Now, we are in the present, this 8th day of July 2010: after the Dental Assistant completed the X-rays, she announced the Doctor’s pending arrival to check on everything, and I was surmising that he would no doubt find another crown from some other year to bad mouth, while he was at it — and want to “86” that one as well. In my imagination, I heard the roll of drums, and there he appeared . He studied the pictures, then turned to address those teeth now standing at attention awaiting his gentle tap, tap, tap. The conversation started where we had left off last year.

Dr. Moller: “ Now about that 1986 crown……..”

Melitas: ….interrupting….”Yes, I remember that crown, and how you want to “eighty-six” that 1986 crown….. Same answer as last year — If it ain’t broke……..”

Silence reigned, so while I had a captive audience, I continued:

Melitas: “You know, Doctor, you have been pretty darn lucky to have me sticking around as one of your customers all these years. I would venture to say that there are very few in my age group still hanging around. And you know what? If I went ahead and let you replace that dear old 1986 crown —- which I have come to love —- I may croak shortly thereafter, and then I WOULD REALLY BE MAD!“

End of that conversation.

I could see he was trying to escape — the Assistant had already made herself scarce — and so when I finished my dissertation, I turned to pick up my belongings, while he probably threw up his hands in despair, silently fleeing out of there to a nice, quiet room. I went to the desk to settle for the cleaning, and asked the girl what the price was for old ’86 to be “deep sixed,” — still the same? She looked it up, and nodded her head up and down. Yes, it was the same old $1400. They obviously have not heard about the depression the good ol’ US of A has been wallowing in these past several years.

There IS a MORAL to all this: Do NOT let these guys talk you into something when it isn’t even “broke” yet. It may break next week, and then you can address the problem at that time………. I ALWAYS SAY.

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