I went to the dentist two weeks ago.
Have I ever told y’all about my intense tooth-doctor fear? Oh yes. I am the world’s biggest baby at the dentist, and there is no binkie big enough to calm me down. Well, maybe if you dip it in whiskey like a good mom. Okay, fine, just give me the bottle, and maybe I’ll make it through.
I went in for a cleaning and to be chided for never flossing, and that appointment lasted three hours. Let me repeat, in case you missed it: I cannot deal with going to the dentist, and I was there for three hours, and that was the first of oh, about four appointments. I nearly weep just thinking about it.
I am not ashamed to tell you that I had not been to the dentist in four years, and the only reason I went now is because Frank made me. No, really. He went to them Monday for a cleaning, because our dental insurance was running out at the end of the week, and we might as well take advantage in the very last week of coverage. While he was there, he had lots of time for telling the dental staff about my cowardice, because the power went out in the entire building (I can vouch, because I worked in the same building). So Frank’s mouth was numbed up (they went ahead and did his filling while he was there since the insurance was running out), and the power was out, and they couldn’t do anything with his mouth, so they went and got him Starbucks coffee (he sent me a cellphone picture), and he asked them if they could get me in that week. Unacceptable behavior, yes, and he is sleeping in Rowdi’s dog crate forevermore. So they called me to make an appointment. As my bad luck would have it, I was able to get in the next day.
I have the most sensitive teeth in the Pacific Northwest and possibly all of the United States, and that is no exaggeration. The hygienist was only able to make it through the first half of my cleaning. And while she was scraping tartar and I was feeling every scrape and cringing in pain, she was saying, “I’m still on the tartar, so you shouldn’t feel that.” Um, yeah, well I do.
Oh, but let me back up. I haven’t had x-rays in four years, so it was clearly time. The x-rays themselves took close to an hour due to my shiny, strong gag reflex; at least we know it works, right? And the hygienist didn’t think to numb the back of my throat until halfway through. So there was a lot of gagging. And pain.
As I said, the hygienist got through the first half of my cleaning, and then it was time for me to see the dentist. I moved over to his chair and got to listen to her tell the doctor that my teeth are very sensitive. “I think some of it is the anticipation, but some of it is sensitivity.” Um, I’m right here. You should at least wait until I’m gone before you start telling the doctor that it’s all in my head.
He looked over all my x-rays and was concerned about two of my teeth, which looked like they had infections under the teeth. He put some dry ice or something on the tip of several teeth, one at a time, with the direction that I signal him when I could feel the cold. Well, considering that my teeth are incredibly sensitive to cold, most of the time he didn’t even have the cold on my tooth for more than a second before I was yelling at him, or signaling, you really couldn’t tell much difference between the two. When he touched the cold hell to one of the possibly infected teeth, I told him in certain terms and motions that I could feel that. And then he touched the other tooth. And touched it. And touched it. And finally said, “You can’t feel that?” “Nope.” So he tried again for a while and then sighed. “That’s not good.” “What? What does it mean?” “That tooth is dead.”
It’s a little disconcerting to hear the doctor say that your tooth is dead. A part of you has died, literally, and it is never coming back. It made me feel old and mortal and cling to my vampire stories a little more closely. I’m currently looking into being vamped and considering, for the first time ever, zombiehood.
After telling me my tooth is dead, the dentist told me about the rest of my teeth. Two cavities on the top, one on the bottom, two additional gumline cavities on the bottom, and one tooth requiring a root canal. And then he said, “So we need to do a little work, but everything looks good, you have great teeth!” Um, dude, you just told me I need five fillings and a root canal, and I have great teeth? I guess since most of them still do their primary job of chewing food, he wanted to accentuate the positive.
Since I was already there, and he had time, and I was on my last week of insurance, he went ahead and filled two cavities right then. The nitrous made me giggle, I didn’t have much pain the rest of the day, and I was okay. But my root canal was scheduled for two days later on Thursday.
To be continued…