Thursday, January 12, 2012

At The Dentist

I've been teasing my girls about the cost of their last couple of dental visits. Let's just say that when I refer to them as my $1200 girls, I'm not making that number up. Imagine the joy my oldest had today to discover I had a dental appointment myself for a filling. I could smell the satisfaction she emanated out her smug little smile.

One of my cavities, and the only one to be filled today, was along the gum-line of my lower right teeth. I've had issues there before and dentists really don't like to mess with that area. I also have issues getting numb on my bottom jaw. Anesthesia just doesn't work well for me. Over the years of experiencing pain during procedures, I've become quite uptight about having anything done. Today was no exception.

I start off by telling any dentist about to work on the bottom that I have trouble getting numb. Then, they try to crank up the drugs to prove their prowess. Even when they get enough drugs going, they usually run out fast and it hurts a bit soon afterwards.

Today, my absolute favorite dentist so far, Dr. R gave me some heavy duty stuff in my first set of shots. He was respectfully concerned that this procedure go well and wanted to take care of me. We all waited while he and the assistant talked about hunting. I would have preferred a fishing conversation, but it wasn't too bad. Then, I had a second round of shots. The whole time, I'm tensed up in my chair practically curled up in the fetal position and clutching the arms of the chair like I'm on a roller coaster without a safety bar across my chest.

After the medication had some time to start working, Dr. R said he didn't think I would feel anything, but he had to do a test anyway. It hurt. I don't think anyone saw that coming. At that, the suggestion for nitrous came out. Another assistant came up to me to ask me if I wanted to get nitrous oxide while she teased me with the mask hovering around my nose. She said insurance usually doesn't cover it so do I want it anyway? Yes, I thought, hoping it wasn't $1000. I had never had it before, but I was more than willing to do anything to relieve my anxiety. My hands were shaking by now.

The world suddenly looked brighter and bunnies started jumping around while kittens rolled on top of my blanket of cashmere clouds. Not really. I had to focus on breathing in through my nose and out through my mouth. Just the act of focussing on something other than the instruments in my mouth was helpful. Dr. R and the assistant talked to me a little, but my bad ear was pointed at Dr. R so all I heard was "blahblahblah" over the sound of the hissing nitrous.

I felt nothing, but was vaguely aware that my tooth was being fixed at super sonic speed. I heard Dr. R say that the amount of anesthetic I had would have been enough if they had needed to extract the tooth. I was thinking, "Who cares? Take it out!" He didn't.

And then it was all over. I had to go pee like I had been locked in a lemonade machine for three days and bee-lined out of there while everyone asked me over and over if I felt okay. My mouth is still numb an hour later and I think the post I wrote in my head under the influence of the nitrous was much funnier than the one I'm finally able to write. I must say though, that I really should take better care of my teeth given the trauma I go through to have them worked on. Dr. R is the best dentist I've ever had and I just love him, but I'd prefer that he didn't have to do anything more than tell me my x-rays are clear.


hokgardner said...

I so wish I could use nitrous. It makes me sick, sick, sick. Which compounds my dental phobia.

Speaking of which, I need to call the dentist to have a crown popped back on. Sign

ckh said...

I wish I had had nitrous before. I really suffered!

Maybe instead of getting your crown popped back on, you should pop on a tiara instead.