Like Pulling Teeth

Thursday, November 15, 2007

I'm sure you've heard something bad, painful and horrible described as "just like pulling teeth".  We all know that pulling teeth is no fun at all.  Neither is going to the dentist.

This morning, I had a dentist appointment.  Usually I only need to have check-ups, but this time the reason for my visit was to fill a cavity.  THAT is just like pulling... well, not exactly, since no teeth will be pulled.  Just drilled.  I hate the drill....

As I sat in the dental chair, the dentist comes in and asks how I'm doing.  I tell him I could be better, considering where I am and what was going to happen.  He said, "That's like how I feel when I come visit you at tax time".  Ouch... but at least no one bleeds at my office.

The worst part of the visit is the shot of whatever it is that makes my mouth numb.  What I need is something to numb the gum so I don't feel the shot.  Maybe that was the goop he put on it before he gave me the shot, but I needed something stronger. I think he stabbed me three times with that needle.  Hurts even to think of it....

I'm given a choice if I want the metal looking filling, or the white looking filling.  I have enough silver colored stuff in my mouth (past fillings), so lately I have been choosing the white stuff.  My fear is that I will end up looking like that Jaws character from the James Bond movies.  What can I say...vanity.

They start to work on me, and they put this rubber thing in my mouth that separates the tooth they are working on from the rest of the mouth.  To put it in, my dentist says "Clamp!" and his assistant thrusts something into his hand. 

Clamp?  What are they doing? 

They call this thing they put in a "dam", and it basically covers my entire mouth.  Considering I was a bit stopped up with a cold, I couldn't breath and almost panicked.  Suffocating sometimes does that to me.  The dental assistant offered to hold the "dam" open a bit so I could breath.  Then I realized I could move my tongue and push it open.  I felt a lot better after that...

The drilling goes on...and on... and on (the sound of the drill is so grating).  It seemed like an eternity, but it wasn't.  Finally he finished (my dentist is good...and my experience really wasn't all that bad), and sent me on my way.  My mouth was numb for several hours afterward.  Back at the office, it's hard to drink coffee with a numb mouth, so I probably looked a little foolish doing so.  Plus talking to people was a bit awkward.

I always swear that, after I have a cavity filled, I am going to do so good taking care of my teeth.  And I usually do pretty good.... for a while.  Flossing just isn't fun, so in time I seem to slip back to the basic minimum of tooth care. 

But, pain avoidance is good motivation.  No pulled (or drilled) teeth for me.  We'll see how long I can keep up my "good dental hygiene" this time. 

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