Root for Me

Yay! I went to the dentist yesterday and was told by Dr. Henry of the visible nostril hair that I need a root canal on the tooth whose filling I lost in Mexico. Dr. Henry was not pleased with the state of my gums either and gave me a serious dressing down for not seeing the dentist more regularly. I said, "But I didn't have insurance. I had to pay my rent first." He said, "You could've worked out a payment plan." I think he was forgetting that I hate dentists and would rather have my teeth rot out then go to one and pay for it out of pocket with money that could be better spent on student loans and red wine. I did like Dr. Henry on the whole. He gave me extra Novacaine on my request. It looks like my mouth will require about $10,000 worth of work before I'm able to smile freely again. Only you can stop gingivitis.

So, I liked the doctor okay, but I hate everything about being at the dentist. It's so primitive. I feel like any second he's going to secure a string to my molar with the other end tied to a door knob and then slam the door to extract the tooth. I hate how they jam what feels like large squares of cardboard into your mouth and then tell you to bite down and hold it for x-rays. He took about 20 pictures of my teeth from every possible angle. I still have cuts on the roof and bottom of my mouth. He informed me I have a low palate which makes it hard to get the pieces of cardboard in there. After all of this, he announced that the x-rays of my damaged tooth didn't come out clear enough and he'd have to scrape at the tooth to see if it was full of decay. He mentioned something about a nerve possibly being exposed. I asked if he would give me the highest amount of Novacaine even if it made me drool for the rest of the day. He obliged.

Here are just a few things I hate about the dentist: I hate the scraping noises of the dentist picking away at your teeth. I hate the way the instruments look--sharp and curled like fish hooks. I hate laying helplessly back in a chair with my mouth open for 30 minutes. I hate being afraid I'm going to choke or suffocate because I can't swallow properly with the fifteen instruments shoved in my mouth. I hate not knowing if he's suddenly going to hit a nerve. I hate the air stream thing--the way it sounds and how it hurts slightly when it hits your teeth. I hate not knowing if he's going to say, Well, you have 16 cavities. I hate thinking that if I make a sudden unexpected move to sneeze or cough, he could accidentally jab a hole in my cheek. I hate that he could hurt me and I might not be able to tell him to stop quickly enough. I hate wondering if the Novacaine might wear off in the middle of the treatment. I hate rinsing and spitting into that little round basin. I hate the bits that fly into the air as he's picking your teeth. I hate when it's all over and your face is numb and slack and you look like a stroke victim and can't eat for the next 5 hours. I hate that I have to go back there in 10 days and in the meantime, he cautioned me that my tooth might react badly to being picked at. I could develop an infection and severe pain. I should call him if this happens.

After he told me that my tooth is very decayed, we discussed the options. I voted for just pulling it out. He vetoed this idea. He said the root canal was the only way. He said it might take two separate appointments. The next appointment will take about an hour and a half. On the bright side, he will be prescribing me painkillers.


Karin said…
Oh no! I was hopeful about your tooth. Then again, what the hell do I know?

I don't mind the dentist too much. I remember enjoying getting a cavity filled once because I could see what the dentist was doing in the reflection of his glasses. But I'm weird like that. I like watching surgery on TV. In fact, when I was a kid I wanted to be a surgeon, until I realized how manually un-dextrous I was. I would be a danger to society, I'm sure.

Enjoy the painkillers.