Tuesday, November 23, 2010

D is for Denist.... and Damage to My Favorite Shirt

So I wasn’t wrong about not looking forward to the dentist. (Currently trying to not drool on my laptop.)

Lesson learned today: Never wear a favorite shirt when going to get your teeth cleaned.

I was not looking forward to today. I knew that at 1:40 p.m., the following hour would be filled with needles and shots, ultrasonic cleaner thingy, fluoride, and antibiotics. Yet, somehow, my body still drove me to the dentist. Stupid body.

I walked into the office and King Kong was playing on the television. Oh the foreboding. If the Care Bears or even the “Blind Side” was on, I would have felt a tad better. But no, the movie in which a giant primate takes an innocent woman against her own will, and causes emotional and physical damage seemed appropriate for all the patients waiting to meet their own dental fate. Yippee.

As I waited and waited in the empty front room (I was early mind you), an elderly woman wanders in. “I am early, I hope that is all right.” The group of four medical receptionists smile at her and the office manager pipes up, “Well you are in luck, we are running early today!”

I look at my phone. I had arrived at 1:25p and it was now 1:55p, if this was “early” – I’d hate to see what “late” was. And to my dismay, she gets led in before I do. “Prolonging the torture,” I thought, “nice.”

Cue scary music.

Finally I get led to my “chair o’ torture.” The dental hygienist, that I will call “Annie” sticks two pink swabs in my mouth and orders me to “close.” She shuffles away and it dawns on me that she was already pre-numbing my mouth. And I had questions!

Annie walks back into the room with the dentist and pulls up the picture of my teeth on the big tv in front of us. The dentist reaches in and grabs my numbing swabs and asks, “Any questions before I numb you up?”

Well according to my tongue, I was already partially numb. I manage to droll out “What is scaling?” “Why do I have to be numb now for cleaning when I have never had to be before?” “Will my tongue be numb?” “Will I be able to eat?” and finally – “Will I have to have this done every time I come in?” (The last question was helping me decide if I ever want my teeth cleaned there again.)

The dentist was very friendly, as she held the needle with the hard core numbing agent in her hand. It was all an act. I could see it in her eyes that she was truly ready to give me the shots.

With all the questions having been asked, it was time for me to “open up.” Gripping the chair will all my might, tears welling in my eyes, the dentist proceeds to tell me that I will feel her hand shaking and then a little pressure. Hand shaking? Should her hand be shaking as she delicately places the needle to numb my teeth and attempting to avoid the very important nerve that one should never hit? Great. After she is finished, she tells me I have done a great job and instructs Annie to get her if I need another shot. Oh, no more shots for me. I will brave through any other pain just so I don’t have to deal with the “numb” feeling.

Annie waves the dentist adieu and turns back to me. She grabs the rinser and fills my mouth with water. “I am going to need you to swish.” Swish?? I currently have a numb mouth and she wants me to swish?? The newly instilled water immediately pours back out of my mouth and the measly bib that has been secured to me no longer serves a purpose.

“Oops, guess you are already numb.”

You have got to be kidding me. As she tries to rescue me from drowning in the portion that remained in my mouth, I begin shaking.

“Are you nervous?”
I nod.
“I didn’t even pick up on that before.”

It takes almost every inch of my being to not roll my eyes. If my initial walking in here with a deer in the headlights look didn’t tip her off, I am surprised that the multitude of questions didn’t clue her in. I am pretty sure I had a shaky voice. Oh wait, I was already partially numb at that time, she probably didn’t notice. However, me leaving distinct fingerprints in the armrests should have made an impression on her. Good grief.

Well I would have cried after that very delayed realization if I hadn’t been completely grossed out by the water slowly dripping down the side of my neck, joining a pool of spit/water/God only knows what else that had already made home there. I would have told her but she told me not to move as the ultra-sonic thingy was going to be currently used below my gum line.

As the procedure was coming to a close, Annie began to apply an antibiotic powder that according to her “turns into a paste when it meets the water below the gum line.” Water below the gum line? Never heard of that one before. Does she mean blood or the spit that I’ve got back there? “Does the antibiotic end up systemic?” I attempt to ask. “No, it doesn’t taste good,” she responds. I give up. She won’t understand me anyway.

She makes it to the other side of my mouth and stops. “You look like you have impacted wisdom teeth.” “I did,” I try to say. “Well that’s why your gums look like that then! Definitely shouldn’t be putting antibiotics down there. You need to have them taken out, that’s for sure.” She must have thought I said, “I do.” I shake my head. Hadn’t she looked at my x-rays! No wisdom teeth. I point to the screen with all my x-rays. I can clearly tell I have no impacted wisdom teeth.

I think back to the movie I had watched before I sat in this seat. Maybe King Kong had just been an oversized, misunderstood monkey. He didn’t look like he really wanted to hurt that blond haired lady. Contemplating how King Kong would have tried to successfully communicate with someone, I begin again. “No …. Wisdom… teeth” as I shake my head and point at the screen. The light bulb goes on. “Oh! Have you had them removed?” I nod. She looks to the x-rays. “I see it now. We are good to go.”

Well ultimately I survived.

Every time she told me to close my mouth around the suction, however, I would again become covered with everything that had been previously in my mouth. I am pretty sure I looked like I had taken a bath in the chair.

Upon conclusion, Annie told me that ideally I needed to have a checkup every 3 months. Oh this lady is a real jokester. I told them I would call them to make another appointment. I will be coming at least every six months, and that is if they are lucky. She then apologized for the blood on my shirt. Sure enough, there was a quarter sized blood stain on my right shoulder. So much for going grocery shopping after this.

I did, however, successfully manage to give a creepy smile to everyone sitting at the front desk as my ENTIRE lower jaw ended up numb.

(This is Sheldon from “The Big Bang Theory. My smile looked very similar to this.)

Yay for going to the dentist.

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