Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Devil's Dentist - Part 2

Where Ello finds herself suddenly and surprisingly the recipient of an Unexpected Root Canal.

dentist Pictures, Images and Photos

Previously, I had posted on my last painful experience at the evil dentist's office. To read part 1 click here.

Having vowed never to go back to the dentist ever again, or at least until next year, it was with great dismay that I noticed a nagging, throbbing pain emanating from my right bottom back molar. I ignored it, brushing and flossing my teeth extra diligently in an attempt to appease the dental gods. All to no avail, the throbbing continued - going so far as to not only be sensitive to hot and cold, but to sweet also. When my tooth hurt from taking a bite of a piece of chocolate, I knew I had fallen into one of Dante's Circles of Hell. I had no choice. I cannot survive without chocolate, I knew I had to go the the Dev, er, Dentist.

The first thing he did was give me an x-ray. I don't understand why even taking a stinking x-ray is so terribly painful. They stick a large rectangular piece of plastic in my mouth lengthwise and insist I close my mouth. This always drives me crazy. I feel like a crocodile in some bugs bunny cartoon with a stick holding my mouth wide open as I try desperately to close my jaws together, all the while the stick is digging into the soft tissue of my poor mouth. It takes several drooly attempts before he is finally able to take a picture.

"I have good news and bad news," he announced.

"Tell me the bad news first!" I demanded. I'm all for getting the bad news over with.

He ignored me. "The good news is that you don't have a cavity! But the bad news is I think you need a root canal."

He is smiling as he says this. I am not smiling. I am thinking the pain wasn't that bad. I am thinking I need to just get up and walk out before something bad happens to me. Unfortunately, I cannot move.

"So I think the nerve has died but I need to test this theory out," he said as he began a series of unorthodox tests including a searing hot piece of cotton, a tuning fork and a needle like instrument. I don't know if he is sewing or playing an instrument, but everything he does elicits sharp pangs of agony in my bad tooth. After the fifth time he hammered at my bad tooth with his tuning fork, he announced that the nerves are dead or dying and needs to come out. He then proceeded to announce to his dental technician that he will be performing a root canal immediately.

“Wait a minute,” I pleaded. “let’s talk things over first. I mean do I really need to take care of this situation right now? Right here? At this very second? I mean, can't I have some time to think it over? Give me a couple of days or months or years?”

Dr. Evil smiled down at me. "Can you live with the pain?"

My throbbing tooth said "Listen to him, fool! Before I make you crap your pants!"

I whine like a beaten dog as my tooth sends me a vicious reminder of why I was in hell in the first place.

"I know you," Dr. Evil continued. "You wouldn’t be here unless the pain was intolerable. You and your pansy husband are always ignoring my check up reminders. Last time that wuss was here, he had an abcess that smelled like it had gone bad in 2002. I assume you don't want to develop an abcess, right?"

"It’s only going to get worse so let’s take care of it now," he continued as he pulled out big needles the size of chopsticks and asked me to open wide.

We interrupt this post for a brief scuffle involving my dentist, the dental technician and my lockjaw.

After holding my nose and prying open my mouth, he injected the first chopstick full of medicine into my gumline as I shouted "Unhhhhh, ungggggggg, unhhhhhhhhhh, ga ga ga, unnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn, ne ne ne neeeeeeh, Unnnnnnng!" Which meant, "Oh God why have you forsaken me?" or "I hate you you miserable piece of dog excrement."

As he got ready with the second needle, I panicked and began to wail that I didn't want to do this anymore. Reaching behind me, he pulled out the laughing gas and placed it over my nose and let me breathe deeply until I began to calm down. When the nitrous oxide began to make me a little lightheaded, he asked me if I wanted the second shot now.

"No," I said. "Why would I want that?"

"Because your jaw is not completely numb yet and when I cut into the roots of your tooth to pull out the nerves you will feel it. It will hurt."

Having previously deciphered his sick code, I know that when he says:

It doesn't hurt he means It's gonna really hurt.
It might hurt means You are going to cry.
It will hurt means The pain is so bad it will give you diarrhea, possibly in your pants. This is why the chair is covered in plastic.

So he asked me again if I want the second shot. And he smiled. Again. He is always so smiley. Such a nice, smiley guy. I am not smiling. I am so far from smiling that he actually stopped smiling and looked a little nervous. After all, this is laughing gas. I should be guffawing like a demented hyena. And then I realized he wanted me to ask him for the shot. Me, the big chicken ask him for a shot. The irony hits me as I began to laugh. An Ernie laugh - you know like Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street? The one that goes kee heee heee heeee, kee heee heee heeeeeeeeeeee!

"Just give me the #$%&ing D&*% shot already! kee heeee heeeee heeeeeeeeeee!"

I don't remember much after that. I remember numbness, pain, numbness, wetness, the odor of burnt hair, a throbbing in my ear matched only by the throbbing of my head. When it was all done, my mouth refused to close after being held open for 30 minutes with a dental dam. I had to push my jaws together, like a pez dispenser that had a broken spring.

"You did great," he said. "You didn’t cry, you didn’t kick and flail your legs like usual. You didn’t slide down the chair. You were really good today."

“I believe I have soiled myself!” I said.

“No, that’s just your spit from when you missed the suction cup and drooled all over your pants.”

I vaguely remember the drooling, blubbering mouth rinsing mishap that he spoke of. Vaguely.

“Remember this is just the appetizer, the real meal comes next week, when we get to the real meat of the surgery,” he said.

I felt seriously unwell. “Why can’t you lie to me and tell me the worst is over?”

"Cause then you would be mad at me next week when you realized the truth," he replied.

"But I’m mad at you now!!!"

"And this was nothing, wait til we finish off your surgery next week."

“Curse you!”

“Thank you, and here is your bill. Since we are not quite done, you can pay half now and pay half later.”

I looked at the bill and the part of my brain that was still functioning completely shut down. This time, I’m pretty sure I have soiled myself.


Anonymous said...

There are tears running down my cheeks as I type. I'm sorry for laughing at your torment but, if you remember, I just went to get my wisdom tooth out so I'm laughing from a standpoint of empathy. I love how you described the x-ray - that's exactly how I felt.

As a Catholic I fully appreciate how a prayer and a curse can come in the same breath. This post is comedy gold Ell!

Just as an aside - God I'm glad that my dentist didn't laughing gas me - the stuff makes me instantaneously puke. Ernie laughing is so much more civilised.

Anonymous said...

I've had one too, Ello -- my heart goes out to you! In my case, the dentist described the whole process to me in detail, but in Japanese. For some reason, I didn't cotton on to it being a real root canal until several weeks later, when it was halfway finished. By that time, it was too late to stop the process and I felt too stupid anyway...

Anonymous said...

My deepest sympathies, ello!

Is it wrong that I'm so pleased you went through all that for our amusement? Is that schadenfreude?

Anonymous said...

Oh Ell. I hate going to the dentist, too. I had to have a root canal and surprisingly, it went very well, thank goodness.

At least it's over now, right?

Anonymous said...

I hate the dentist!

my deepest sympathies.


Anonymous said...

This was almost too painful to read at the beginning. I know there was some humor in there, but I kept picturing myself in your shoes having this happen to me. And I did those things like crying and crapping my pants. But then I remembered it was happening to you and not to me and finally I found my way to laughter. ROTFLOL.

Anonymous said...

I'm sooooo sorry.

I hate dentists... and their hygenists... okay, not completely true, I love my dentist, just not while she's doing the actual work...

Hygenists, though, I swear to you the only reason they go into this field of work is because it's a legal way to inflict massive pain into victims... I have sensitive teeth. I'd rather be numbed up for a filling than have a cleaning I hate them so bad.

Anonymous said...

I've had so many of these that I know the routine. I'm sorry you had to go through this. At least you could pay half of the bill. I have an appt. on Monday and if I have to have it done, it's $1000+ up front BEFORE they bill insurance. As it looks now, I'm thinking my tooth pain might be sinus related, so I'm hoping for that and not the other.

Hope you're feeling better, Ello!

Anonymous said...

So now I know why dentist's chairs are covered in plastic! I'll remember that next time in a dental surgery and will be sure to make a smart alec remark to that effect - and ask how many people have actually shat in their pants!

Poor, poor Ello, sounds howwibly howwible and I think you should have kicked while you could - just for good measure. Or you might have bitten him - I'm sure that has to be a dentist's biggest fear.

I had, briefly, a wonderful dentist but he's given up because he said he got sick and tired of people hating him. Did you know it's the profession with the highest suicide rate...?

Anonymous said...

i too have been feeling a tooth more of late, but unlike you I WILL NOT GO. i think i would rather soil myself.

Anonymous said...

You can put it off for at least five months if you rinse with sea salt water and brush with that hard tooth powder paste stuff. In fact, the shooting pains go away completely.

I've been getting two root canals done since June. I wanted to save money, so I'm getting it done at a University's dental clinic.

I've gone SEVEN times, haven't been able to chew on both sides of my mouth since last February, and WE'RE STILL NOT DONE!

And they don't give me laughing gas, not even when I'm shaking like a leaf in the chair.

Anonymous said...

Oh girl, you poor thing. This is scary surreal. For the last week I have had a pain in my tooth. All too many horror stories about dentists in these parts and I still haven't gone. I'm at your trying to appease the dental gods stage.

I hope it is all over and you feel better soon!


Anonymous said...


Sorry you had to go through that.

Emergency root canal indeed.

Anonymous said...

What an awful day! (but good writing material...hey, there is a bright side)
My hubby went in for what he thought was just a consult and came out with a root canal. I think they like to spring them on you!

Anonymous said...

You may well be my favorite humorist! Fantastic!

Me, I go to Blowdart Dental. Twice a year, usually in a public place, I hear I hear a loud puff and something stings my neck or haunch. When I wake up, the dental work's all done.

I hope they open a travel agency next..

Anonymous said...

i hate the denist...awful. I was just there for a cleaning..thank goodness it was "okay" cuz 6 months is not even long enough for me.

Anonymous said...

I just want to say that I love that you found a picture of Herbie the Dentist for this.

Anonymous said...

Oh the agony! Please feel better. I'm glad you use the pain as fodder for humor, though... You're the best at that!

Anonymous said...

Hilarious stuff, but I sure hope you exercised literary license and didn't have quite that horrible an experience! Personally, I like getting my teeth cleaned and I've a great dentist. He's very gentle. I've had to have a half dozen crowns becuase my teeth keep breaking, and several root canals because they also keep dying off for no apparent reason. The abscess or dying tooth pains are a lot worse than the needle.

Anonymous said...

Rereading, I'm confused. A root canal should only take an hour or so. What's this with multiple visits?

Anonymous said...

I'm with WW. A good tooth-cleaning is pleasant and I look forward to it. But what's with the multiple visits, indeed?

I'm pretty sure crowns and root canals are in my future as I have very "craggy" molars and they were never sealed. My kids do, too, but I will get theirs sealed to hopefully spare them some of the pain and horror!

Hope next visit is better. I like the blowdart approach!

Search This Blog