Montana Jones

Montana n: A state of the northwest United States bordering on Canada. Admitted as the 41st state in 1889. The fourth largest state in the union, it includes vast prairies and numerous majestic mountain ranges.
Syn: Treasure State, Big Sky Country, Last Best Place.

Jones n: slang. An addiction or very deep craving.

Sunday, April 15, 2007


I first felt it a long time ago. About this time last year. An interesting ache in a back tooth when I drank cold water. Or bit into food that was too hot or too cold. I could tell there was something there I would have to deal with sooner or later.

I procrastinated.

It's not like it hurt or anything. Just a gentle reminder. I made a habit of chewing food on the other side of my mouth. I wielded my toothbrush a little more vigorously. I knew I would have to deal with it sooner or later, I just kept putting it off. Sort of like cleaning out the car. You think of it when you are in the car, but most of the time when it is out in the garage you forget about it. I remembered my tooth when eating, but mostly forgot about it.

Dentistry ain't cheap. Back when I worked for others I took advantage of the health insurance and the dental plan. Now that I work for myself, health insurance is blessed expensive. Being the only year round full time employee I can't even get into a group rate.

Knowing that the dentistry bill must come from my own pocket makes it easy to procrastinate.

Back when I was getting regular dentistry, the hygienist would constantly criticize me for not taking better care of my teeth. I came to expect it as part of any medical treatment, the reminder to brush more, floss more, and employ some gadget or treatment. I was convinced that there was no possible way on earth that anyone could brush or floss enough to satisfy a dentist, so I didn't try very hard. Once at a doctors checkup I was cringing with anticipation of the lecture about exercise and diet. I finally asked to doctor for it just to get it out of the way. She said no. "But my dentist is always berating me." I said, "I sort of expect it." "Yeah," she agreed. "You can't please your dentist."

Not wanting the lecture makes it easy to procrastinate.

Funny thing, a bum tooth won't heal itself. Over time it grew more persistent. Interestingly, my dental habits grew better along with it. As the hurt made itself more known I spent more time and care with my toothbrush. I spent more time and care with my dental floss. I brushed and flossed more times during the day. The nagging tooth was a better reminder than a nagging dentist could ever be.

I finally broke down and called a bunch of dentists from the phone book. I picked one that was friendly and helpful on the phone. Not the cheapest, certainly not the most expensive. I made an appointment for later this month. The first appointment is an inspection, it will take a follow up appointment and more money to actually fix any problems.

I am expecting to get a lecture about dental care.
I am expecting to get a sales pitch for dental care products.
I am expecting to pay more than a month's rent to get my tooth fixed.
I am expecting an argument about how often I should make appointments vs. how often I can afford to make appointments.
I am expecting the dentists nagging to be less effective than a sore tooth when it comes to motivating me.

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It is people like you that come in with an attitude like you do that make dentistry so expensive. Keep in mind, sometimes we charge more if the patient is a pain in the a**.
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