DEAR ABBY: I have been seeing the same dentist for more than 20 years and have been very satisfied. During an earlier checkup, I had been told I had a loose tooth, "but it could tighten up again." I checked the tooth the morning of my most recent visit, and it was fine.
After cleaning my teeth, the hygienist, "Sue," was polishing my teeth when the tool slipped and the metal part hit the "loose" tooth really hard. Sue said, "Oh, sorry!"
When "Dr. Smith" came in for the final check, he said I had a cracked tooth. It was the same tooth. I had not seen a crack that morning, but thought I'd check it again when I got home. There is a big crack across the front of the tooth. If it had been there that morning, I'd have seen it.
I am sure the "hit" cracked the tooth. Only Sue and I know for sure, and I wouldn't know if it hadn't been for the fact that I'd been watching it because it was loose.
Should I talk to Sue or to Dr. Smith or to both of them about this? Should I just get the tooth fixed and forget it? Or should I start hunting for a new dentist? -- DENTAL DILEMMA IN DENVER
DEAR DILEMMA: When Dr. Smith told you your tooth was cracked, you should have spoken up then and asked to see it while you were still in his office. However, because you did not, it's time to call Dr. Smith and tell him what you have told me. I am sure he will want to talk to his hygienist about what happened. (Actually, she should have already informed him.) If the cracked tooth was caused by his employee, it should be fixed without charge. And if it isn't, THEN you should start looking for another dentist.