Thursday, May 24, 2012

Drilled, Filled, and Thrilled (not)

After returning home from a very relaxing vacation over the weekend, I found myself strapped into a dentist's chair for a grueling session of pain, torture, and general unpleasantness.  Yay.

I have been putting off having this work done for over three years, so now that The Man has dental insurance to double-cover me, I figured it was the right time to go for it.  My chompers are worth it.  My nerves, on the other hand, weren't as happy about the plan.  Four of the fillings were replacing old silver fillings with new tooth-colored ones.  The other two fillings were mostly polishing the biting surface and very tiny fillings that I've had for many years and never bothered with until now.  I also got some sealant replaced on one tooth. $55 not covered by insurance, but "it will really help!" Glad I could help buy one more gizmo for your kids.

I arrived to the dentist a bit early and got situated in the "quiet room" they have cordoned off from the rest of the exam areas.  This quiet area makes for a better experience for everyone except the person getting holes drilled in their head.  They checked my blood pressure and pulse, both much higher than normal for me (but still within low-to-normal ranges).  The assistant shoved two cotton logs in my mouth that had been coated in a topical analgesic.  It tasted like rotten mayonnaise.  Without so much as a hi, hello, how do you do, my dentist raked my lips back and started pumping my cheeks full of Novocaine.  He pricked my cheeks a good two dozen times to numb up both the upper and lower bits of my mouth.  Apparently the whiteness of my knuckles around the arms of his chair alerted him to the fact that what he was doing hurt and that I was in pain.  "Let go of my chair.  Let go.  You need to let go..." Imma let go of something else if you aren't careful, bucko.

Without so much as a pause, he set down his Needle of Doom and picked up the Drill from Hell.  I was finally completely numb by the time he got around to drilling on my second tooth.  He didn't give me much of a break between the first two teeth and the next four, so I wasn't breathing very well.  The pressure from drilling and having to keep my mouth open (I refused the bite block, as usual) had me in a full-body cold sweat, tears streaming back to my ears, and a wicked shivver.  My jaw ached.  "You doing okay?" If "okay" is the word for wanting to take that drill and run it between your ears for half an hour and have you experience this kind of torture, then yes, I am perfectly fine.

He packed my teeth full of fillings, cured the curable stuff, and convinced me that he'd done an amazing job restoring order where formerly there was disease, chaos, and strife.  All of this in forty-five minutes.  Remarkable.  Hero? Not the choice word I'm feeling right now.

I staggered home mostly still numb and unhappy.  By dinnertime, I was able to mash french fries with the good side of my mouth and not crunch on my tongue or cheek too badly.  A couple hours later, I was feeling much better.  When my dentist called me later in the evening to find out how I was managing, he asked if everyone had treated me well that day.  I told him yes, I suppose I had been treated well.  Aside from the jerk that stuck me with a needle enough to turn my cheeks into hamburger, went gold mining in my head with a spinning pickax, and filled my teeth with enough crap that my bite changed permanently, then yeah, I had a fantastic day.

At least I only have two teeth left in my head that have any sort of work needing to be done: one is a filling, one is a crown.  Want to know how excited I am about getting that work done?

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