So I went to the dentist yesterday because over the weekend I started having this intense pain through my tooth, jaw and entire right side of my face and head. Feels like I’ve been repeatedly punched in the face and just as that pain from a beating starts to ache and throb, I get punched repeatedly again.
Needless to say I went to the dentist, knowing that I most likely had a bad tooth. I sat in the waiting room and what normally takes me only a few minutes in my small town — took almost two hours thanks to Spring Break kids getting in their dental checkups before returning to school. They had me in the waiting for almost 45 minutes and then had me sit back in the chair for another 40+ minutes as the dentist slowly paced the hall back and forth, in front of me all the while telling me that she would be with me soon. I don’t know if she was contemplating her life, choice of career, or just afraid to tell me the news, but she was definitely avoiding having to do her actual job which was of course, incredibly comforting.
She finally came in and walked straight to the office manager behind me and told her I needed a build-up and crown, turned to me and said, “okay the office manager will take care of you from here!” Her having not looked at my actual tooth, spoken to me or even told me what was wrong from the x-ray, I stopped her and asked if she even wanted to look at my tooth. To which she replied, “Oh no, I can see from the x-ray what’s wrong with it!” I asked her if she’d like to share her knowledge with me since I didn’t know and with an inconvenienced look on her face she told me a bunch of medical mumbo-jumbo that of course I did not understand. The diagnosis, a broken took with a completely exposed root. The procedure needed, a root canal.
My fear of dentists started years ago. Which has spun into now when I go in for a procedure, I have to be prescribed a valium before they begin work, because I go into panic mode as soon as I enter the office. I know it’s sad to be an adult and this terrified of little old dentists, but there’s a valid reason. When I was 10 years old I had to have a root canal. Having been passed down my mother’s terribly brittle teeth, it was inevitable mine would begin to fall apart early. It was a horrific experience that wound up in me getting all the way to the end of the process where at my last visit to have a permanent crown put on, I was still in excruciating pain. They opened up the tooth again to find that I freakishly had 5 roots in my tooth instead of the normal, one or two. The fix, to open back up the tooth and start the process all over. For a ten year old, this was traumatic. They couldn’t numb me enough and I felt almost all of it. Years later, that same “fixed” tooth broke apart and had to be surgically removed. So yeah, root canals are a deal breaker for me. Followed by having to have wisdom teeth surgically extracted that I woke up in the middle of the surgery and fully aware of what was happening, it’s enough bad experiences to last me for a lifetime.
After I said no to the dentist at least five times upon hearing the words, “root canal,” I asked if we could just pull it instead. She said that we could and that before we do, we should go ahead and do a comprehensive exam to make sure there aren’t any other teeth that need to be removed because, “There are most likely several more that are in the same shape and need to come out.” This was not music to my ears. So far each year for the past few years I’ve had to have a tooth pulled. Then I remembered that my mother went through the same experience until she finally got fed up and had the rest of her teeth pulled and got beautiful new dentures. I realized that most likely this will be the road that I wind up going down, a 34 year old woman with dentures. Luckily they aren’t the same kind of joker teeth that randomly pop out of your mouth, like they used to be. The new ones suction to your gums and stay put until you want to take them out. And they look like teeth instead of some odd combination of piano keys and Chiclets with the likeness of Gary Busey’s mouth.
I left the chair to schedule the appointment to have this tooth pulled and as it turns out, I cannot be seen for another two and half weeks. Two and half weeks of pain that is keeping me up all night and making me nauseous and irritable all day. I’m contemplating having all of my teeth pulled and going home with a shiny new pair of chompers, but this is an expensive and painful route to go down as well. Though, it’s better than getting one tooth per year pulled from my head. Either way, there is a glorious road of discomfort ahead in my near future that I’m not so much looking forward to.
My apologies if I don’t write much over the next few weeks, but if I did it would likely be from a place of bitterness at my pathetic excuse for teeth and the ridiculous amount of agony I am in, thanks to them. Not the best frame of mind to be writing, while in!