Monday, February 04, 2008

My personal journey to hell

Until a week or so ago I had not been to a dentist in 20 years. Without question, I doubt that anyone actually enjoys going to the dentist but, here is how much I hate it. About 16 years ago I had two back teeth with large fillings that had the sides break off, leaving very sharp edges. Sure, I could have gone straight to the dentist to get this fixed, as almost anyone would. However, my solution to the problem was to get a file out of my tool box and file off the sharp edges, thereby, avoiding a trip to the dentist.

We have friend, who's son-in-law is a dentist, who has been assuring me for years that dentistry has changed immeasureably and bears no resemblence to the barbarity of 20 years ago and that I should just suck it up and go. Well, I have done that and can tell you, in no uncertain terms, it is exactly as I remembered it from two decades ago. I say this mearly as a fact, and not to take anything away from the extremely skillful dentist who is doing my work. In fact, I consider the man to be a real artist who is doing beautiful work. However, those needles still hurt like hell and the process is terribly uncomfortable.

OK, here's the deal - I am getting four crowns - the two back teeth that I filed on 16 years ago, plus my two upper front teeth which were broken 42 years ago in high school football. Actually, I was not very worried about those back teeth but, the front ones had me concerned. I have been through a lot with those two teeth - temporary crowns that kept coming off, eventually a permanent crown, broken bones in the gum, root canal, metal post implants. I think it actually makes it worse that I have gone through all this and have never even liked that stupid, lame ass, game of football which caused the problem. Can't even remember the last time I watched a Super Bowl game. I'm not even going to get into the broken fingers that now make it hard to play the guitar that I really do love. So there you have it; let's go to the dentist.

Back ones were first and not that bad. Sure, there were the usual 6" long needles jammed into the gum and jaw (Some Beach) but, I got through it. Before he started on the front teeth I asked how he would get the old crowns off. The answer made me suspicious, "We cut them right off in two minutes - no big deal - we do it every day." Here is how it actually went, and I am recalling this from about 3 hours ago: needles into the upper front gum followed by the roof of my mouth. By the time that was over with, I am sweating profusely. Then the grinding started so agressively that it was difficult to hold my head still, followed by a metal pick that still wouldn't free the crown. So, out comes the jack hammer which pounded so hard it shook me down to my spine. Finally, they came loose and my lot improved immeasureably at that point.

Honestly, I can't say it was all bad. I did have the hottest and sweetest dental assistant you could ever imagine. She did the deadening before the crowns came off and, while doing the injection, held my head against her left boob, which was pretty nice! Each time after she stuck me she would pat me on the chest with her right hand and say, "You poor thing, I am soooooo sorry." I have to admit, it REALLLLYYY helped! Then, while the jack hammer was running, she stood there and gently patted my shoulder. I will take her comforting any day over nitrous oxide.

All that is left is to go back and get the crowns glued in place. The worst is over and I am going to live through it but, don't let anyone kid you into thinking that dentistry is anything but an extremely brutal ordeal. But, aren't we all lucky to have these skillful, professional dentists that are working today? And, for goodness sakes, let's not forget those assistants!

No comments: