I have something to confess. My visit to the dentist this morning wasn’t really traumatic at all. I was going to write it up as a horror novel, complete with torture chamber and rough wooden chairs with leather straps, but the honest truth is that it went quite well. It was reminiscent of my wisdom tooth removal many years ago.
It turns out that despite all my faithful brushing each (fort)night, my upper left front tooth developed what dentists like to call a ‘cavity.’ This cavity started in-between my big left tooth and the next one back. The enemy of all teeth went from the edge of the big tooth 5 mm across, and onto the other tooth.
When I sat down he kindly asked if I wanted to be numbed and I told him I didn’t think it would be necessary, the cavity was down a ways from the root of the tooth. I think he was glad of that response, but at the same time he told me to let him know if there was pain he could always put in the Novocaine at any time. This guy was just the sort of dentist that people would want to go and see: Friendly, lightly joking, but also had things ready to go and didn’t waste time.
I doubly appreciate this because the last dentist we had, in the States, was brusque, pushy and annoying. And his hygenists wore denim scrubs; different, but not good different.
He started with a little bit of air on the tooth and asked if that hurt or felt uncomfortable. I was surprised, but it didn’t bother me. Normally my teeth are pretty sensitive. Then he went to the next attachment. Dentists must be getting charged a small mint for their toys, but the number of attachments that snapped on the tip was pretty neat-o. He used several drills just to make the hole. Some were as small as the end of a needle, and some were more q-tip sized, each with their own whiny pitch to harmonize with the drill. When the hole had been drilled out of the back of my tooth, I felt it with my tongue. And it felt like the wheel well of a car. Or the hole a worm might make in an apple. He’d also drilled on the front of my teeth. It made me wonder whether he’d gone all the way through, but I forgot to ask.
One thing that a patient doesn’t feel when they are numbed is the spray of water that goes everywhere, as well as the bone shavings that go everywhere. At one stage he actually reached in and picked a chunk off my tongue. I might not have thought about it at all for the entire session, but that action made me think of all the fragments that were no doubt dusted all over my mouth by that point, and I’d already swallowed several times. On the bright side, that calcium is now being digested and redistributed throughout my bones and muscles.
Then he started doing the filling and such. First he brought out one of those white bits of cotton that made me think of Little Shop of Horrors. It was to keep my lip away from the tooth. Then he brought out a funky item, not connected to the drill attachment, and it looked like something from CSI. It was about the size of a thick pen, and had an amber filter clipped to the top. I think the end must give off ultraviolet light or something..? He held it pressed to the tooth and waited for a certain number of beeps.
On the front tooth, he put the polymer in, but then decided he hadn’t picked quite the right color and I thought to myself, I hope they have something closer to the color of corn, cause that’s about what my teeth are.
Another reason I wouldn’t make it in entertainment.
A few days later, when I am actually finishing up this entry – I can tell you that the back of my tooth is not smooth. It feels like the husk that sticks in your teeth while eating popcorn is now on the back of that tooth. Up till now my tongue has been a living blob with a vague sense of needing to be held between my teeth like a cat crawling under a car, but since this dental work it’s become an OCD going up to a blank wall scratching at the gluey white slivers of an ad that only it can see.