Thursday, June 01, 2006

cavity creeps

I went to the dentist today. It was my follow up appointment from last week, when they discovered I had one tiny cavity (gasp). I was nervous about this whole "filling" thing, because I've only had novocaine in my mouth twice before, and both were less fun than a hard kick in the shins.

Time 1 was in high school, and I had my first cavities. 4. All at once. I know what you're going to say when you hear this, but the dentist had a personal vendetta against my family. He'd met my brother, who had horrible teeth (thanks to a certain candy-toting stepdad of mine) and didn't like him. When he found out who I was, he clearly played no favorites.

First he told me I would never win any beauty contests unless I got braces. Let me point out that 1) my teeth are not perfectly straight, but I have the straightest teeth in my whole family.
2) I was not then, or am now, entering any beauty contests.

It was nice to be insulted by a "professional" I'd never met before. Then he got ready to drill my teeth. Aren't you going to use novocaine? I asked in my sweet childlike way. (I had heard of such things thanks to movies and tv.) No you don't need it. Actually, I would like novocaine please. No this is already going to take too long. You don't need it. As fun as it is to argue with people when my comfort is involved, I decided to pull out the big guns. Well, I believe you're required by law to give me novocaine if I request it. I'm requesting it. I had no idea if this was true or not, but it worked.

Fine. You'll get novocaine. You'll get all the novocaine you can handle! *cackle cackle cackle*

(He didn't actually say that, but it was clear from the things I am about to explain that he thought it very loudly.)

So I get my novocaine, get my teeth drilled, and all is well. Or so I thought. My mom picked me up and asked how I was. Numb. That's normal. We had places to go. 2 hours later: I'm still numb. It should be wearing off soon. 4 hours later: (slapping my own face) Mom, I'm still totally numb. She begins to get worried. Dinnertime: I can't eat because I am still numb. I do a lot of drooling, though. Bedtime: Not an ounce of feeling in any part of my jaw, gums, or tongue. I notice that when I'm asleep I am still feeling numb. So 16 hours later, the novocaine had worn off. Good, because during this time I could neither talk completely coherently nor eat nor drink.

I don't think I need to mention that after I told my mom what happened, we never went back to that dentist. My mom was even threating Lawsuit, but since no actual harm had come to me, she dropped it. Quite a few people at the dentist's office got quite an earful though, if I may say.

Time 2:
This time I'm in college. Guess what? My wisdom teeth need to be removed. So I arrange to stay with my boyfriend's family and have the work done in Fresno. (My family had since moved out of Fresno.) The orthodontic surgeon's office was also a cosmetic surgeon's office. This cracked me up as I read pamphlets about liposuction while embarrassed patrons mumbled to the receptionist. I can't hear you, dear. You'll have to speak up. What's that? You're here for your BREAST AUGMENTATION? Knowing glances were exchanged between myself and the receptionist. I was laughing more because she (I'm sure) did that all the time. Plus, it's rude for her to laugh in front of customers.

Everything seems hunky-dory when I go in to have my teeth yanked out of my skull. This time they used lidocaine to numb me, but lidocaine is the retarded sister of novocaine. keep that in mind. The doctor waits a few minutes and sets to begin. My memory might be a little clouded at this point, because all I could concentrate on was one thing. PAIN. As the pliers grabbed my tooth and tugged, I gave an utterance (since there were many things in my mouth, including 2 giant hands, an utterance is all I could afford). The doctor stopped and asked me if that was hurting me. Yes, yes it was. So he gave me more anesthetic and waited a bit more. Tried it again. Replay. After several large doses of lidocaine and many many minutes spent waiting, we were both impatient. He tugged, I yelled, but eventually the teeth came out.

I had previously requested a prescription for pain medicine so that I could pick it up and have it waiting for me when I finished the appointment. This doctor had denied that request. However, when the teeth were out and I was bawling, guess who wrote me a prescription? It must have been a nice sight for Craig, after waiting god knows how long, to see me come out of the room crying. We went to the pharmacy. Incidentally, this is the same day I discovered I do not react well with Vicodin. But I will go into the nightmares, hallucinations, and utter freak-outs a different time.

So, as you can judge by my past mouth-numbing experiences, I was nervous about today. However, my fears were without cause. The dentist today (an Asian woman - a combination I'd never had before) was fast and painless. They told me the procedure (cavity & cleaning) would take an hour but it only took 20 minutes. My mouth was numb afterward, but only in 1/4 of it, and only for a couple hours.

I can now, honestly say: BEST DENTIST APPOINTMENT EVER.

(That is, except of course for the time I was but under the gas and don't remember a thing!)


Suebob said...

I miss my old dentist, Dr. Barbieri, whom we all called "Dr. Barbarian," of course (because making fun of people's names is always funny, right?). When I came in, he would say, with an expression of thankful wonder, "You came back!?!"

gandhi rules said...

I read this a couple of days ago and didn't comment because this is a sore spot for me. I ought to go to the dentist myself and they scare me. Many novocain dramas too......

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