3.20.2008

Tooth Fairy

If my hair appointment with Megan marked a highlight of my trip home, then yesterday’s visit to the dentist was the low point.

So you understand, Dr. Miller, a lovely woman, has been nothing but sweet, patient, and gentle with me during our 14-year doctor/patient relationship. Nevertheless, I loathe having to see her or anyone else in the office for that matter. My feeling is admittedly irrational, one of two phobias I have. This fear of dentistry is so extreme that, up until a couple years ago, I needed nitrous oxide (laughing gas) to get through routine cleanings. Once, my fear and emotions even made a dental hygienist cry.

It’s bad, really.

So you can imagine the delight when my dentist discovered I had developed a cavity on “number 30,” a back tooth on my lower, right side. As much as I would have liked to ignore the problem, Dr. Miller squeezed me in that day so I wouldn’t return to Germany untreated. This woman knows I would have let the tooth rot away rather than find a new dentist.

I was just a child the last time I had a cavity and couldn’t remember what this procedure entailed. In my hysteria, I sought comfort from friends and family. Everyone told me that getting a filling was “no big deal.” My sister Christina, who as a child was a dental disaster, assured me I’d feel little discomfort and be out of the dentist office in 20 minutes.

Yeah, right.

Because I locked up my jaw and made a tense face when Dr. Miller injected the Novocain, the first shot didn’t numb the right area of my mouth. It took three additional shots before my face felt like Pillsbury dough.

And because I made noises and faces after 5 minutes of drilling, Dr. Miller had to continue to stop and ask if I was doing all right. In other words, because of my phobia, a simple cavity took an hour and half to complete.

I left feeling a tad guilty when I saw the lobby backed up. I felt a little guilty that I had acted worse than most 6-year olds facing the same procedure. And when I got home after my ordeal with Dr. Miller, I took two aspirins to relieve a tension headache and a long nap to temporarily forget the experience.

How will I ever get through a root canal someday?

11 comments:

Danie said...

I seriously can relate and sympathize. I'm so bad that laughing gas is no match for me. Oh no, I require an IV with a happy cocktail of sedation and narcotics. And yes, I needed it for my root canal. My dentist, bless his heart, prays for me. He probably prays for himself while he's at it. I'm a nightmare.

I'm sorry to hear you had to experience this on your home leave. Perhaps you should book something with Megan to restore your happy thoughts.

AmyD said...

Ha! You poor thing!! We all have our fears. This should just give you the dedication to take great care of your teeth, so you WON'T need a root canal someday... If you do need one, just tell them to knock you the eff out, and you'll be just fine. ;o)

Hilly said...

You may think I am kidding when I say this, but nope...

Drugs, lots of drugs.

My dentist prescribed me some Valium and I take one or two before big procedures. I don't even know what's happening half of the time now ;).

Cowgirl Warrior said...

I can totally relate.
I was at the dentist this morning getting my permanent crown. I was very worked up about the whole thing as this is a procedure I was unfamiliar with. Luckily it didn't even require freezing. Of course the temporary crown was needles and drilling.
I've had a root canal and it wasn't so bad. However apparently I have an aggressive tongue that tries to foil the attempts of the dentist and the hygenist.

Lynda said...

I am right there with ya'

I keep thinking 'if they can put a man on the moon, when are they going to invent a pill you can take that keeps your teeth perfect'. Of course this would put all the dentists out of work.... oh well ;)

utenzi said...

Dentists aren't any fun, Diane. Maybe that's why I've not been to one in almost 10 years. Or maybe it was that car accident 25 years ago and my severe lack of dental material for those sadists to play with. Either way, it's one strategy to avoid cavities. I hope you feel better soon, Diane--and I hope you have had a nice visit here in the States.

Cheryl said...

Aw! I hope you recovered well. May you never have another cavity.

M said...

oh my god, I could barely get through reading that. I am exactly the same and I have avoided dentists like the plague. I have asked seriously if I can be put under general anesthetic for simple procedures but they laugh...then I don't go back. It's very bad. People fully don't understand how terrifying it is. I fully admire you for actually going through with it. My heart is racing right now thinking about it

karey m. said...

i'm so scared of medical appts that i hold my breath...and then pass out.

we're talking routine check-ups.

Lise said...

Danie's right. I had my wisdom teeth (plural) out a month ago, and halleluia for being asleep. i'm like you Diane, it's not so much what they're doing...it's the sound of it...you could always wear the headphones and kick some heavy duty music!

ms chica said...

I feel the same about finding a dentist which is why I will return after my move twice a year to visit one I like. It took me twenty years to find a dentist I like, I'm not about to let a little thing like a moving launch another dentist search.