I don’t like dentists. In fact, I absolutely fear them. I had a hideous experience as a child that has colored my views of the profession all of my life. I’ve only found a couple of dentists that provided me with the least amount of stress along with the needed procedures; however, life circumstances such as bankruptcy, loss of insurance and moving gave me the necessary excuses to stop following up with them like a good girl.
But, I broke a front tooth last weekend.
I found a new dentist based solely on who could get me in the quickest in my new hometown. He did a temporary repair and informed me that I needed a root canal. Now, it’s time to panic.
The procedure was scheduled for this morning. I woke up at 3:30 with the knowledge of what I faced barring me from returning to sleep. My bowels twisted and roared. I pouted into my coffee. I sulked through my shower. The fact that I couldn’t put on lipstick depressed me. I tried to remain focused on the fact that I could wear my new hat to the appointment and look cute.
When I arrived at the office, the Coward Patrol was waiting for me. I wasn’t even allowed to get my coat off before I was herded into That Room. There are some very wise people working at this office. Within two minutes of having arrived, the worst part of any dental procedure for me was under way. Yes, I’m talking about the novacaine needle. The dentist is Doogie Dentist, who is a young whipper snapper and up on all the newest techniques to keep me from freaking out like an idiot. After agood topical had time to set in, he started the injection slowly while flopping my upper lip manually. Perhaps a more accurate description would be that he made my lip plop up and down with his fingers like one’s lip would do while giving a raspberry. For some odd reason, it lessened the pain. Or, perhaps I was so focused on the raspberry motion and feeling quite silly that I didn’t notice the pain as much. I now settled in for what I was sure was going to be several hours in the chair.
The next surprise in store for me was the giant condom. It was at least four inches around. My excitement deflated when I realized it wasn’t a real condom; it just resembled one. He positioned this over my tooth so that it was the only thing exposed. I didn’t need a suction hose drying out my mouth uncomfortably. I could swallow. I didn’t even have to keep my mouth wide open for the entire time. I did, however, experience a series of chin quivers that I found rather embarrassing. I had to manually stop my chin from this odd behavior on at least three occasions. I’m attributing that to being old. The entire experience was enhanced by Daniel Powter singing So You Had a Bad Day on their PA system. Apropos.
The discomfort in my mouth was minimal, but I soon realized that I was having pain in my shoulders, of all places. I could attribute this to the tight grip I had on the armrests. Once I lightened up on that, the shoulder pain dissipated, too. One good thing about the chair was the angle of the tilt. My head was so far back that it entirely eliminated my double chin.
With a start time of 9:30, I was more than a little surprised to be back in my driveway at 10:38.
On a scale of one to ten, with ten being the suckiest, I give the entire experience a two. It just didn’t suck much. I’ll be going back to Dr. Doogie Dentist.