It's not about the house.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Just Think, People!

You are two short appointments away from never hearing about my dental woes again!

Double-jinx, touch wood, bite tongue, etc. But in the meantime...

The dentist Johnny and I both saw yesterday is not the one I started with, but it is the same one as last time and, I think, the time before. I might have told you she was Japanese – if I didn’t say it, I definitely thought it – but it turns out she’s Korean.

She’s good. She can fill two cavities in twenty minutes flat: zip-zip, and out. She also has a magic way with the Novocaine that takes some getting used to, whereby your actual tooth that she’s going to be working on gets numb, but nothing else does. So when she asks you if you’re numb yet, you say no, and she says she thinks you probably are, and you insist you know that you are not, so she agrees to let you sit a minute longer but doesn’t so much as consider the possibility of a second shot. And when she gets sick of waiting for you and moves in with the drill, you tense up and tell her you’ll holler if she hurts you, then she thinks that you’re a giant baby. Then she starts, and you feel nothing, and agree.

You see why this takes getting used to.

Yesterday, she took me late. She’d had a particularly difficult appointment before mine, so I wasn’t in the chair for my 9:00 until almost 9:30. This probably explains why she wasn’t over-eager to hear about my so-called broken filling. She looked, said that what came out was just a piece of extra filling-stuff, and I was fine.

“Okay, but um, so much food gets stuck in there, and it hurts.”

“You’re in pain?”

“Well, no, not right now, but—”

“Yes. The piece was irritating you. Now that it’s out, you’re fine.”

“But I haven’t been eating, so—”

“You can go ahead and eat. You’re fine.”

“But when I do, it hurts.” Around here is where I started to tear up a little. Was I really going to just have to live like this? Forever? “I think it—”

“So now you’re telling me it hurt after the piece came out. You said before, now you’re saying after?”

Oh hey now. Way to dry up those tears right quick, Doctor.

“You didn’t,” I hissed, “let me finish.”

She stepped back.

“The problem started on Thursday,” I said. “The piece came out on Saturday. I stopped eating on Monday.”

“Okay, I hear you,” Doctor Interrupty said. “I am listening, I promise.”

I think I truly had snapped her back to attention. I think the problem was just that she was behind schedule, that she’s the kind of person who hates being behind schedule, and that she didn’t even realize she’d been getting rushy with me. Her opinion was the same, but now she spelled it out for me to understand.

“You have what’s known as a ‘gingival trauma’” (oh goodie, a new trauma to add to my collection!) “from that piece of amalgam we left in the last time. I’m sorry. We try to floss it all out before you go, but sometimes we miss some. As you flossed and ate, you pushed it down into your gum until it caused trauma and inflammation and dug itself, essentially, a little hole. Now that it’s out, the gum can heal. If you rinse with warm and salty water, you’ll be fine. And keep it clean. You are still flossing the area and everything?”

“Honestly, I didn’t for a couple days. But now I am.”

“You really have to always floss, even if it’s swollen and painful. Especially, in fact, if it’s swollen and painful.”

Of course. We had to find something that was my fault, didn’t we?

“Go back to eating normally, rinse with warm salt water, you’ll be fine.”

Then she puzzled over my chart a while and took a deep, thoughtful breath. “We could do both those wisdom teeth today if you like, but I don’t know how numb you want to be.”

“I don’t care! If we do them both today, I’m done, right? That’s it? Right? After these I don’t have any more fillings left to do? That’s right, right? I don’t care how numb I am! Let’s do them both!”

I really did giddy on like that. For about three times as long.

We’ll skip past the actual working-on-my-teeth part -- pausing to acknowledge briefly that, when I insisted the right side of my face wasn’t even slightly numb and she, for once, agreed to giving me a second jab, I didn’t feel the shot go in at all. Because, apparently, I really had been ready all along. Needless to say, I did not admit this to the doctor.

She did both my upper wisdoms, I shit you not, in twenty minutes. Not until I got out of the chair did I notice she was twelve months pregnant, which made me forgive her initial snippiness a little more.

Johnny had the appointment behind me. She did three cavities for him in the same amount of time and when she was done, he asked her if she’d ever worked a M*A*S*H. The dental assistant actually punched him in the arm.

“Ow!” says Johnny. “What’re ye hittin’ me for? All I meant was she’s the best I’ve seen, and where’d she learn to work so quick like that?”

So that’s how we found out Dr. Pregnant is Korean.

Or at least that the assistant thinks she is.

When Johnny left, Dr. Pregnant told him to take care of me, and to make sure that I rinsed with warm salt water. So I triple-forgave her, and I’m following instructions. Even though saltwater-rinsing makes me gag.


Leslie said...

You know, as dental-phobe I'm going to be very glad when your dental work is over because even though I make the choice to read through everything you post about this stuff, it makes me a little queasy as I do so.

And just to show off a bit, I'm one of the lucky 1 out of something like 10,000 or 100,000 or 1,000,000 who was born with no wisdom teeth whatsoever, which my dentist tells me is because I am more highly evolved since humans no longer need those teeth.

EGE said...

Of course, one COULD point out an alternative theory for your having been born without those teeth we know as "wisdom."

But one won't.

(Thanks for reading, Leslie! I know how gross it must be. I probably wouldn't read it either, if I wasn't writing it. It's almost done, I swear.)

Vanessa said...

My dentist is super pushy with the gas, but not the shots. I would prefer it the other way around. He doesn't want any shots until 10 minutes of gas. Usually by that point you can scrape me off the floor and do whatever you want. Hopefully your teeth are good for the whole year now. Cheers!

EGE said...

Oh my gosh, Vanessa, gas?! Gas is not even an option where I live. I would kill for gas!

su said...

Crap gas sucks and i surely hope this work is more than a 1 year respit.

theotherbear said...

I could not help giggling at the M.A.S.H bit.
And feel a bit glad that I was only half evolved (only wisdom teeth on top, not on bottom) and that they grew out so sideways that they got plucked out in the chair (which having glossed over, let me tell you was so horrible).