Today I spent two and a half hours in the dentist’s chair. I won’t say the obvious, like “I hate going to the dentist” because that is a pretty stupid statement. I have yet to meet anyone who actually enjoys going to the dentist.
But I had been dreading this visit more than usual because of the knowledge that he was going to remove not only a molar and replace it with an implant, but he was also going to remove a wisdom tooth which had not very wisely appeared next to it.
I personally didn’t see why the wisdom tooth needed to be removed as it wasn’t giving me any trouble. On the contrary I had been using it to eat with in the absence of external structure on the other molar, which finished at gum level. Which is another reason I was unhappy about the upcoming procedure. The dentist had nothing for his pliers to grip onto to pull it out.
But I was told that these not-so-little wisdom teeth can actually become quite a nuisance as they grow bigger as they can start to take over your mouth, which is another unwise thing to do in my opinion.
The dentist had already told me during the initial consultation that the nerve was running very close to the root of the wisdom tooth. I think he was hoping I would have had forgotten that little snippet when I visited today, which was hardly likely since the x-ray of my lower gnashers, strongly featuring the route of the nerve, was displayed on a screen not 14 inches from my face.
I was assured that I need not worry, as he would be giving me several strategically placed anaesthetics to numb any pain. That was reassuring. I closed my eyes as he reached for the first needle.
To be fair, he had swabbed my gums with some numbing substance to ease the pain of giving me the pain-reliever but I could still feel the liquid emerging inside my gum. Then he started to tap and poke and scrape around, as they do. After a couple of minutes he said
“I’m afraid you will feel some discomfort during the procedure. But if you actually feel any pain, like I’ve touched the nerve, just raise your left hand.”
Too bloody right I shall, I thought, all fisted up straight into your face!
Half an hour or more had passed when he let out a sigh and said,
“I’m afraid I’m having a bit of trouble with this back one, the root seems to have fused to the bone.”
Since a circular saw wouldn’t quite fit in my mouth he resorted to an angle-grinder, at least that’s what it felt like, to separate the two elements. It wasn’t easy. Nor was it pleasant.
I think my dentist spends his leisure time on archaeological digs, because that’s what it felt like, except thinking about it, when I’ve seen those being performed on television they looked a lot more delicate.
He eventually completed his quest and then started work on the implant. I’d really had enough by now. Couldn’t he do that another day? Apparently not. So he got out a different tool box, the contents of which he spread out on the bib which covered my boobs and commenced whatever procedures one does for the installation of a metal post in my mouth. At least he tried to.
I caught sight of something which looked like an expanding bolt on the end of a small electric screwdriver, which he appeared to want to install in my gum, asking me to ‘open wide – as much as you can’. You’ll be delighted to know that I cannot describe the procedure because whatever the contraption was that he was trying to use, it didn’t want to work. He stamped on the control pedal – nothing.
His assistant disappeared somewhere in another room but seemed unable to solve the problem. Within a few minutes we had what seemed to be half the staff of the dental clinic crammed into the room behind me trying to get this fancy piece of dental machinery working. They eventually got it to make a whirring noise, but as soon he got the screwdriver to within two inches of my gaping mouth it would stop.
The remaining half of the staff, including the cleaner, also had a shot at getting it to work but they eventually admitted defeat. The dentist said that instead of screwing in a post he would do a bone graft, at no extra charge. I had no idea what he was talking about and frankly didn’t give a toss so long as it meant that I would be out of this bloody chair as quickly as possible.
As I sat back and waited for him to finish I thought I felt a spider crawling across my face. It turned out to be the thread he was using to stitch up the gaping wound which had been opened in my gum to facilitate the extraction of the molar. I started counting as he stitched and got as far as four when I realised I could feel the needle going into one bit of flesh, then the other, before being knotted up. I hasten to add that it didn’t hurt, as such, but the fact that I could actually feel it was bad enough. Urgh! It’s making me shudder just thinking about it!
As he moved further and further back with stitches six and seven it got more and more tender, and higher, and began to wonder if his needle was going to come out through my ear!
Having declared the job finished, he got a wad of antiseptic-soaked gauze, wedged it at the back of my mouth and told me to bite on it, softly. For an HOUR.
I was then ushered through to the reception area to be given instructions on antibiotics and pain killers, foods and drinks to avoid – I could only have soft, cold food for THREE DAYS. Yippee, an elongated Ice Cream Party.
Then I had to pay. Yes, PAY – for two and a half hours of pain and torture! Of course the receptionist continued to ask me questions, which I vainly tried to answer through closed teeth.
By the time I’d spent the rest of my allotted hour at home, trying to explain to Ziggy what had happened, I was getting so good at talking through my teeth I think I’m going to have a shot at ventriloquism as my next hobby.