My kids were eating Airheads yesterday and asked me if I wanted one. Repulsed by the idea, I adamantly refused to try the sticky, sweet stuff, insisting it would likely pull out my teeth. I used to have good teeth, I did! Then I had kids. And now my teeth are the consistency of sandstone; they crumble apart at the slightest pressure. So I was a very good girl and didn’t eat any garbage that could damage what’s left of my teeth.
Ironically, not ten minutes later, I was washing dishes and felt like there was something stuck in my tooth. I used my finger to dislodge the particle only to discover it wasn’t a piece of food at all. It was a filling. Or part of my tooth. Or something that was definitely not supposed to come out. Which is just another argument in my growing list of reasons why doing dishes is bad for your health.
So I made an appointment for this afternoon and figured I might as well get the tooth next to it filled as well while I’m there — I lost that filling over a year ago. I’d go to the dentist more often if it weren’t for the four foot long needles, the drill, the sucky thing, the variety of nasty tasting solutions they put in your mouth, and the picture of Steve Martin singing and dancing around with a maniacal look on his face that run through my head every time I consider making an appointment.
This particular dentist has a TV in the room and plays a movie for you while you’re in the chair of doom. I suppose it’s to take your mind off the fact that he’s dislocating your jaw like a python and drilling holes in your head. Today, the movie du jour was National Treasure. I like Nicholas Cage so I was okay with his choice. Of course, I only got to see the first few minutes before he tipped me back so far that all the blood rushed to my head and pounded in my ears until I thought I’d pass out. Then the fun began.
I received my standard-issue paper bib and sunglasses. I’m not sure what the sunglasses are for. My old dentist didn’t do this. Maybe it’s to keep flying spit and stuff out of your eyes. I was just thankful they weren’t 3D glasses because the dentist coming at you with a drill in 3D is not something that anyone should ever experience.
He put some super-nasty gel that tasted like rotten pineapple mixed with grain alcohol on my gums to numb them. Then he gave me a shot of Novocaine (or whatever numbing agent they use these days) and left to sharpen his tools while it took effect. When he came back (and took me away from Nick again), he asked me if my lip was good and numb. “Uh no. Is it supposed to be?” I asked, freaking out that I’d feel him drilling, jump out of the chair, and stick to the ceiling like a cartoon cat reacting to a dog bark. And then I did an about-face and freaked out that he’d give me another shot so I offered, “My cheek is numb though.”
After determining that I wasn’t numb enough, he gave me another shot. Some shot juice squirted out of the syringe and arced through the air, landing on my sunglasses. Ahhh, so that’s what they’re for! I wondered if my eye would be numb if it weren’t for the protective eyewear. Would I be able to move my eye? Would it dilate? I spent the next couple of minutes thinking about this until he came back to check my numb-ocity level. My lip still wasn’t numb at all, so he gave me yet another shot.
By this time, Nicholas Cage had found The Charlotte and my lip still wasn’t very numb. My ear, on the other hand, was very numb. It felt cold and wet and I kept turning my head to make sure there wasn’t a dog licking it.
The dentist (who probably wanted to get home for dinner) decided I was numb enough and started drilling. Everything was fine for a minute until — what the crap?! I jumped up (and thought about grabbing the drill out of his hand). “Should it feel like I was hit by lightning in my tooth?”
Enter the fourth shot of Novocaine. While he drilled my cavity, the smell of burning teeth assaulted my nostrils and images of Bill Cosby doing his dentist bit flash through my mind. “There’s smoboke combing out of myby moubouth!”
He finished drilling my cavity, put some vile, bitter swill in the crater, then went on to fix the tooth that fell apart yesterday.
“I can’t really put another filling in here,” he informed me. “It won’t last. You don’t really have any tooth left. You need a crown.”
My eyes lit up at the thought of a crown. “A crown, you say? Now, would that technically make me a princess?” I inquired. I’m not sure, but I think he replied with, “No, but it will let me buy that boat I’ve had my eye on.”
He started drilling and once again I felt pain from my tooth down to my toes so he shot me up again. That’s right — FIVE shots of Novocaine. FIVE! By this time, the entire left side of my body was numb. I probably looked like I’d had a stroke.
When the drilling was finally done, I was pretty sure I’d need surgery to fix my permanently dislocated jaw. Then he did something so diabolical, I shudder to recall the details. He shoved some sort of cord around what was left of my tooth, pushing it down into my gums with an ice pick. That wasn’t fun, but the really horrible part was that it was soaked in rat poison or something. As it dripped down my throat, I gagged. Repeatedly. The assistant backed away so quickly, she nearly fell off her chair. I would have laughed at her reaction, but I threw up instead. I can’t say that I felt bad about it either.
For dinner tonight, I had a smoothie and enough Advil to kill a horse. I don’t believe I’ll ever go back for my crown. Royalty is highly overrated!