Saturday, September 01, 2007

Heavy Is the Tooth That Wears the Crown

First I must tell you of my old dentist. Her initials were AR and she was awesome.

AR had the gift of gab. I loved to talk to her. It's always a bonus to have a personable dentist.

But most importantly, she was gentle. Before she gave the novocaine shot she swabbed the inside of my mouth with a topical pain reliever. The actual shot felt like a little pinch.

AR left her practice and sold it to some friends. They inherited me and her other patients, the ones who chose to stay. I am beginning to question the fact that I stayed.

The new dentist I see is a man. The verdict is still out on his personality. It took three visits to warm up to him. He has no gift of gab. It could be that he is reserved or it could be that his accent is so heavy that he tired of hearing his patients say, "Huh?"

Of course what can you say but huh when your mouth is wide open?

I don't like going to the dentist in the first place. An accurate statement of my feelings for the dentist is that they are right up there with the gynecologist, or should I say right down there?

Either way I'm wide open with somebody digging around. With the gynecologist's end, it's embarrassing. With the dentist's end it's painful.

Maybe this is why the one stop dental/ob/gyn office never caught on.

Sadly I have to have a crown. A crown is what you end up with when a cavity gets too big to fill. If the crown doesn't take, you end up with a root canal. But let's not sail down that way yet.

This Tuesday was my visit for the temporary crown. First the dental assistant gave me something to bite on. She didn't even warn me the consistency was that of modeling clay. She just told me that I needed to bite on it for a "few minutes." Then she put it in my mouth.

And I waited and waited and waited. I still had the remnants of the cold Azure gave me so I had some lovely, thick post-nasal drip sliding down my throat. Then I had the slobber my mouth was generating because something was in it. It's hard to swallow when your mouth is half open so I was also fighting my ever-ready gag reflex.

The dentist came up to look at this thing in my mouth. He told me to keep clamping down. So then I was clamping down while he lifted up my lips and peered. I seriously wanted to go, "Neeeeeeigh," but I didn't think he would find it funny.

After the modeling clay contraption was removed from my mouth he decided to numb me. First he put on the topical. Then he gave me the shots. The first shot wasn't too bad but the second shot - holey moley!

He pushed the needle in.
He pulled the needle out.
He crammed the needle in.
And he swirled it all about.
He did the hokey pokey while he twirled that thing around.
And I couldn't even shout.

It felt like that too.

After we decreed it numbed, he started drilling. Only I could feel it.

He said some people were like that, there were some extra nerves (oh lucky me) and he numbed in a different spot.

Then he drilled. I started gagging due to all the stuff sitting in my throat. He told me to try to breathe through my nose. Breathing through my nose wasn't the point. It was all the crap sitting on top of my gag reflex.

I swear the drilling took forever.

I can't remember the next step. I think it involved a plate in the lower part of my mouth. It was too big. One would think as much as I stick my foot in my mouth it would be stretched out enough that it would be hard to find a plate BIG enough for my mouth.

In fact I'm surprised they didn't have to call Mick Jagger's dentist.

Then the dental assistant crammed another plate in the top of my mouth. Only there was a sore spot in the top of my mouth I had been unaware of until then. I jumped a foot. She pulled it out to put glue or rubber cement or some such shit on it. Then she wrestled it right back in with all the finesse of someone cramming a size eight shoe on a size ten foot.

I remember more plates, one of them the denist had to hold in my mouth for about five minutes. You don't know weird until you've had to sit with a person's fingers in your mouth for five minutes.

There was lots of biting down involved. Too bad none of it was on the dentist's fingers.

Finally the temporary crown was on and I was done. I may have finally hit that dreamed of eight minute mile getting out of there.

After the novocaine wore off my jaw hurt. I used one of my precious eight-hundred milligram motrins at bedtime. That left me with two.

I noticed I was drooling out of the left side of my mouth when I slept. I still am.

I can't chew on my left side. It's sensitive to hot and cold. Sometimes the left side of my jaw aches. Sometimes my jaw quits hurting long enough for me to feel the pain that's radiating up to both ears.

I have a doctor's appointment Tuesday for something unrelated. I'll be sure to ask for more eight-hundred milligram motrin while I'm there.

If the permanent crown is like this, I'm going to a different dentist to do the hokey pokey.

Wanted: One gentle dentist. Your needle must inflict no pain and your dental assistant must promptly suction the drool off my tonsils. Please call 555-1234. Hurry!


Blogger Bearette24 said...

What a nightmare! Sorry you had to go through that. I'd recommend my dentist but he's a bit far for you - probably 2 or 3,000 miles away from California :(

7:52 PM  
Blogger Undomestic said...

Okay, I'm still trying to figure out how you "gab" with a dentist! Can she actually understand what you're saying?

I'm not a fan of the dentist either. As a matter of fact, last year I had a root canal. Then I was supposed to go to my regular dentist to get a crown put on...which was going to cost a few hundred bucks. Somehow I never went back. And now I'm afraid to go back..not wanting to be chastized for not getting a crown...I mean is it even necessary?

Well, as you know, I have more important things to deal if they remove the correct I'll put the dentist on hold, yet again!!!

Good for you for at least going and getting it all taken care of!

8:27 PM  
Blogger paula said...

Buy Sensodyne TODAY and use it EVERY time you brush your teeth. I had a stupid dentist who did something wrong when he did my crown. I thought I'd die from some awful swirling infection or something when I went to a new dentist (who oddly enough use to be a vet so he has that vet vibe thing going). He told me the nerve was inflamed and if we couldn't get it calmed down he'd have to do a root canal. He told me to take motrine and use the Sensodyne. It took about three weeks but the pain began to subside. My crown and I are still together (five years later) and it lets me chew over on that side of my mouth and everything.

8:30 PM  
Blogger Gingers Mom said...

Ick. I just had to go through the very same thing. Luckily I have found a dentist I love....or not hate as much as most dentists. Dentists are a sadistic breed I tell you. SADISTIC! They didn't get enough love from their mommies so the come at everyone with a needle and a drill. Just my theory. I'm not scarred or anything....

8:36 AM  
Blogger Caro said...

Bearette - A good dentist is hard to find.

Undomestic - She used to chat with me while she worked on my daughter. A few hundred bucks isn't bad for a crown. I paid four. Yes, you definitely have bigger things on your mind right now than dental work.

Paula - Thanks for the info. I think I'll try that.

GM - Yep they are sadistic. Mine practically says Vee have vays of making you talk.

9:39 AM  
Blogger Chris H said...

I am feeling sick just reading this! I have to be 'put under' to visit a dentist or I end up in the loo with the shits and vomitting! So reading about your visit just made my day mate! ewwwwwwwwww.

1:09 PM  
Blogger My float said...

Oh, I feel your pain. I also laughed a lot because you wrote this so brilliantly!

Now I'm not sure whether to stay sad or happy!

5:10 PM  
Blogger OldHorsetailSnake said...

I unlike dentists with some passions. Reading this just about made me sick. Hurry up and get well -- but don't tell me about it.

5:21 PM  
Blogger Caro said...

Chris H - Sorry. You already had enough on your plate and here I made you sicker.

My Float - It was supposed to be funny. If I'm going to whine, I try to do it in style.

Old Hoss - This post appears to have hit a nerve, hopefully not one in your molar.

7:04 PM  
Blogger MsCellania said...

Can you find a dentist who does CERAC crowns? These are done in One Visit. I am not kidding. My last 2 crowns were both done in 1 1/2 hours total. You see your crown being made right in front of your eyes - takes 15 - 20 minutes to cut that little cube of whatever-it-is to an exact replica of the tooth that was just drilled out. And they match it to the color of your tooth. You are numb the whole time, but it's relatively painless.
I don't mind going to my dentist. The most painful thing in the cleaning.
Sorry you are having a toothy time of it.

9:38 PM  
Blogger Roxanne said...


You're one brave soul. I agree with you on the personality thing. Even if I can't keep up my end of the conversation, I like my dentist to have a personality.

2:21 PM  
Blogger Iamthebookworm said...

If I remember correctly, my permanent crown was not that bad. Most of the time was spent putting it on, checking to see if it fit right, then pulling it off and filing it until it fit perfectly. Your story REALLY made me appreciate my dentist!

5:50 PM  
Blogger Mary Poppins said...

oh gosh...I feel for ya'..I know the feeling of biting on that nasty modeling clay..I had to due that when I had my teeth whitened...and it was horrible...gaggin' all the way...

Hope you can get through the experience ASAP..

7:27 AM  
Blogger Ms.L said...

Oooh nooo!
"down there" hee hee I love that term!

That sounds like a nightmare..and people wonder why we hate going to the dentist.

9:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Change dentists. The one I go to now doesn't stick that big mouthful of crap in there and forget you. He just holds in a tiny piece that you breathe around. Your guy is way out of date and there's no reason for him to hurt you. Want me to kiss his A..?


11:27 AM  
Blogger Caro said...

Mscellania - If a dentist ever tells me again I need a crown, I will be saying, "Fuck you very much."

Roxanne - I think I annoy him too. That doesn't help.

Bookworm - A good dentist is a keeper.

Mary P - I am DONE. He kept blowing air on that exposed nerve asking if it hurt. Yes it did. I wanted to tell him to frickin stop.

Ms. L - I'd rather go to the ob/gyn every day for a month than go back to him.

Anonymom - You want to kiss his ass? He is handsome but wouldn't you rather kick it?

6:59 PM  
Blogger BabelBabe said...

oh my god, i haven't even read your post yet. you had me at the title. you are SO clever, i have been sitting here cackling for five minutes. TOO FUNNY.

3:25 PM  
Anonymous Shu said...

I had the same type of novacaine shot from my dentist. It was 5 shots including that one most painful one. It hurt so much that I that, by a protective reflex, I wanted to through his hand off my chin, it hurt like super hot stinging or burning. ANyways, I think he hit the nurve. He did it twice within the 30 day period. He sends me to the physician now to supposedly treat my nerve inflamation. He refuses to accept responsibility for causing my nerve inflammation. My nurve hurts at night and early morning, it has ben 45 days, and it doesn't get any better. Dentists should be more honest to their patients even if they have done something unsuccessful, things happen, but "dentists in denial" are the worst people who inflict further harm.

6:18 PM  
Blogger Caro said...

Oh sweetie, I'm sorry.

That's awful.

7:12 PM  

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