Wednesday, October 14, 2015

How About a Small Tiara?

I have an irrational perfectly appropriate fear of the dentist. To that end, I try to avoid the him at all costs. I mean, I don't dislike my dentist as a person. If I saw him at oh say, the grocery store, for example, I wouldn't duck around the aisle and try to dodge him or anything. Then again, he probably doesn't walk around the grocery store with a drill or a 3-foot syringe. But in his office . . . well, I kind of hate him there. I picture Steve Martin dancing around in The Little Shop of Horrors every time I see him.

And just thinking about going to the dentist makes me react like this . . .

Or this . . .


Or even this . . .

But when a filling fell out, I couldn't put it off any longer. Actually, I did put it off for 4 weeks a little while. But when my tooth started hurting, I decided I needed to pay my dentist a little visit. By the time I got to the office, my palms were sweating, I was hyperventilating, and trying to think up plausible reasons why I couldn't keep my appointment today. By the time the dentist called me back, the only excuse I'd come up with was, "I'm sorry, but I can't keep my appointment because see . . . the problem here is that, . . . my little brother, this morning, got his arm caught in the microwave, and uh . . . my grandmother dropped acid and she freaked out, and hijacked a school bus full of . . . penguins, so it's kind of a family crisis . . . so I'll come back later, okay?"

I didn't think it would work. 

Back in the chair, the dentist took some xrays. I don't know why, but I can't handle that stupid little cardboard thing in my mouth. I gag. A lot. The xrays come out blurry. They need to be taken again. I gag again. The process repeats. The dentist throws up his hands and decides that xrays are overrated. He looks in my mouth and tells me I need a crown. After he told me the price of a crown, I suggested a small tiara instead. Apparently that's not an option. Thankfully, a payment plan that alleviates my immediate pain and earns me a crown upon my final payment is an option.

He gives me a shot of novocaine and walks away while I attempt to relax. I think to myself that I should probably find a dentist who will knock me out. Or maybe I should drink heavily before future appointments. Maybe I should just let all my teeth rot out of my head. How bad could it be subsisting on a liquid diet for the rest of my life? I need to lose weight anyway; I think it could work.

My dentist returns and asks me if I'm numb. As usual, I'm not. This concerns me a lot because A. If I'm not numb, I'll feel it when he drills, and B. I'LL FEEL IT WHEN HE DRILLS!

He gives me a second shot and leaves again. When he returns several minutes later, he confidently says, "Your tongue should be pretty numb by now, huh?"

"No, it isn't numb at all!" I counter, worried that he'll start working while I can still feel everything.

"How about your lip. Half of your lips are numb, right?"

"No! My cheek is slightly tingly, but I'm not numb! Do I look numb? I'm not numb! Look! I'm smiling. Does my face look weird? Does it look droopy like I just had a stroke?" I asked, only slightly maniacal. "If I was numb, I'd look weird. I'm not numb!"

He poked around in my mouth a little and seemed surprised that I could still feel everything, so . . . he gave me a third shot of novocaine.

Finally, I get numb and he starts drilling. I try to practice deep, slow breathing. I make a conscious effort to relax my muscles, but it only lasts a few seconds until my shoulders are up by ears, my fingernails are digging into my palms, and my butt cheeks are clenched so tightly that I'm literally raised about 6 inches out of the chair. This went on for a while until my brain told me, "Ummm, there are a few too many things in your mouth here. Something needs to be removed or I'm going to send a signal to your stomach to puke."

I gagged. The dentist and his assistant jumped back immediately. "Are you okay?" he asked, concerned about getting my vomit on his new shoes.

"I'm okay, but my brain has informed me that 2 pairs of hands, a drill, a mirror, a sucky thing, a plastic jack to hold my mouth open, and those tampon-looking cotton things are at least one too many items to be in my mouth at once. I'm sorry, but something has to go."

Not wanting to be on the receiving end of the product of my gagging, the dentist removed the little jack and the sucky thing, then continued. Until lightning exploded in my tooth and traveled through my nerves to every corner of my body. I reacted like this . . .

That reaction earned me my fourth shot of novocaine. I'll spare you the agonizing details of the next hour or so. There was a lot of drilling and butt clenching (seriously, Jillian Michaels couldn't conceive of a better butt workout) interspersed with copious amounts of gagging. When the dentist finally stopped drilling, his assistant put dozens of different foul tasting concoctions in my mouth. Why does everything taste like a cross between an ashtray, butt sweat, and raw sewage? How hard could it be to flavor those compounds with peppermint or cinnamon or really anything that's a step above butt sweat? And for those of you wondering (there are always those who wonder) no, I've never tasted butt sweat. I just know it probably tastes like the nasty junk they put on my tooth.

Finally, the most diabolical thing happened. The dental assistant took her ice pick and started shoving a string soaked in gasoline down between my tooth and gum. It was agonizingly painful. I guess I was still supposed to be numb. Enter novocaine shot #5 which adequately numbed me so that she could finish her evil mission of shoving that stupid string down in my gums. 

After biting down on some combination of gum, Play-Doh, and Silly Putty to take an impression of what was left of my tooth, and getting a temporary crown glued on, they let me leave. 2 1/2 hours after they started. 

When I got out to my car, I looked in the mirror to get a glance of my new "tooth." Instead, I discovered that mascara had run down my cheeks while I was crying, all traces of makeup had been drooled off my chin, and I had some sizable chunks of cement stuck to my lips and cheek. Pretty.

And that is why I hate going to the dentist. Time for me to go take 20 more Advil now.


Ashley said...

OH EM GEE!! spot on my friend! Spot on... And I've been putting this same deal off for months!

Vicky R said...

I hear you.... I hate the dentist and always make the mistake of an early appointment on a work day so get back to work with no make on the lower half of my face and no mascara as the nurse has wiped it off while wiping the tears from my eyes.

Anonymous said...

You've been to the dentist with me... I could've written this (well, if I had your talent for writing that is...). My dentist's office has taken to using the pediatric torture thingies to take x-rays of my teeth. They'd start coming close to me with the "regular" (adult) ones and I would start didn't need to be anywhere in my mouth yet. I'm thinking general anesthetic, pull them all out, and fit me with a perfect pair of dentures...don't think it works that way though.

April said...

That's why when I walk in the give me gas!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Even for teeth cleaning!

Cindy said...

Well, my makeup is ruined because I was laughing so hard I started crying! You nailed it! Every painful, butt-cheek clenching moment! GREAT post!

eileen c. said...

oh my, I know I am a few months late here, but just now read this. My fear is so beyond rational, it is full blown phobia!! I too have put it off and after having so many teeth pulled because they will put you under for that, I figured my next appointment would be for dentures. Long story short (too late) after MANY phone calls (1800 Dentist can suck my butt sweat BTW), I finally found a dentist who uses an dental anesthesiologist and yes, it is stupid expensive, but they put me out for dental work, x-rays, root planing, root canals, etc. One appointment (4 hours) down, one more and I will be good to go. Of course, the payments will take the rest of my life, sigh.......whew, sure glad I found my savior before reading this!! sorry you suffer too!

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