I find it interesting that we pay dentists. I suppose it is just another example of our skewed sense of normalcy (a word coined by FDR to obfuscate the reality). After all, there are men (mostly politicians, it seems) who pay women to treat them badly... even whip them.
I visited the dentist today to see about getting my partial repaired. Well, of course, I could have it repaired but there would be no guarantee it would stay repaired (or even that the repair would be successful) they told me. If I wished, I could have a new partial made which would be less likely to break since it has a metal framework. It also might be more snug fitting. It also will cost more to do this. No surprise there.
These are very nice people, the dentist and his staff. I suppose they must be; glum and grouchy people would scare off the already unhappy people. Have you ever noticed how nervous people in the dentist's waiting room are? Like they are ready to bolt at the drop of a hat. Any other waiting room, the people are impatient and can't wait to be called. The door opens and everyone looks up expectantly. Not at the dentist's office... People peer more deeply at the year old magazines they are reading, look away, or seem to shrink into the rather uncomfortable chairs... all hoping it is someone else's name that will be called.
Not me, I like pain. Ok, that's not entirely true. I'd just rather get it over with when I know there is no escaping it.
When I was 15, I had a toothache. A bad one. It went on for two days before my mother insisted I go to the dentist (in fairness to her, I waited two days to tell her about it). The dentist could not see me for another 2 days so I had not only the tooth pain but the anticipation to deal with for two more days.
I am sure you won't be surprised that on the morning of the appointment, the pain disappeared. Completely. My mother, however, would have none of that and dragged me off to the Chamber of Horrors anyway.
After a short wait with the other very nervous, fidgety, and uncomfortable people, I was called in and sat in the chair. I wonder why these chairs do not have restraints.
The dentist entered, smiled, and asked me which tooth ached. I pointed out the tooth that had been hurting up till that morning. He made the usual noises...
...after the usual admonitions to "open wider... wider" and then poked and prodded with the instruments of torture these people stock their offices with. There was no pretty nurse to distract me, no elevator music to annoy me, just the hum of the fluorescent lights and the interrogations of my torturer.
"Does this hurt?"
Those "No"s sound more like "urroh"s... how can you answer intelligibly with the dentist's fingers jammed into your mouth???
"Well," he says (with a bit too much joy, I thought), "It will have to come out, I'm afraid."
He's afraid? What does he think I am?
First, though, there's the Novocaine to administer. Four shots. He exits saying it will take a couple of minutes to take effect. He returns an eternity later but the numbness has not set in. So, three more shots and another exit. He returns again, this time after not quite so long and acts surprised when I say it's still not numb. Just my lip is a little tingly.
"Hmmmm," he says. And pokes and prods the target tooth.
"Yeth," I reply.
"Hmmmmm," he says and gives me two more shots.
I am feeling like a pin cushion. But the feeling does not change. The numbness does not spread beyond the partial feeling in my lip.
He decides, and announces, that I am "only feeling pressure" and grabs the extracting tool.
He inserts said tool, firmly grasps the tooth and squeezes while I attempt to scream around the hand and metal in my mouth.
He twists, I try to bite, he pushes down while still twisting.
And then he pulls and, with a grunt, yanks the tooth from my mouth.
I am in agony while he stuffs gauze into the gaping hole in my jaw to staunch the bleeding. He quickly escorts me out to my mother in the now almost empty waiting room. My mother leads me outside to the car and comments...
"I could hear you yell from the waiting room!"
My next experience with dentists is in Navy Boot Camp. A tale almost too painful to relate so I will save it for another time.
A Night Unremembered
7 years ago