A small cavity had me at the dentist this morning, the decay was located on my lower right wisdom tooth. Going to the dentist for a cleaning is a stressful situation for me so going when I have to have a cavity filled is even worse.
I arrived 10 minutes early in case they could get me out of there sooner, sadly I was there until 10:25 (25 minutes after my scheduled appointment) waiting and letting fear get the better of me. I imagine every conceivable and inconceivable scenario that can possibly go through my mind – they’ll need to do an emergency root canal, maybe they’ll have to pull out all my teeth after discovering a rare form of mouth cancer, perhaps this batch of Novocaine is faulty and it doesn’t dull pain but enhances it… yes, my mind goes to all those places for the entire 25 minutes.
The Dentists office has several dentists working there and dentists that I become accustomed to leave right when I’ve gotten used to them – Is it my breath? So this current dentist I’ve only seen once and that was the week before, she seems nice, but like all dentists, is an evil monster who thrives on causing others pain. That smile, it’s only in anticipation of hearing a patient scream. I remind her that I usually get nitrous oxide when I’m at the dentist and she didn’t know that so I had to sit in the chair longer while they prepared the gas. This is not a good sign, they haven’t read my chart and know how fearful this event is for me – it reminds me of the last time I had a cavity and a new dentist was there and he was talking about my root canal – I wasn’t there for a root canal so I freaked out a bit and had one of my anxiety attacks – never saw that guy again fortunately.
They give me the gas, I breathe in and out in deep full breaths. I picture a nice ocean front beach with blue water, palm trees and serenity – I can’t concentrate on that for long though, before I know it I’m anticipating pain again and then the sweat starts to roll off my body in all places conceivable – it’s possible I sweat more in the dentists chair then I do at the gym – ok, not really, but it all pools into the lower half of my body and it’s icky. My heart is racing pretty quickly even with the gas when she arrives to puncture me with a needle that makes the right side of my head feel heavy and tingly in places. The gas has started to affect my legs and they are numb – I think to myself, stupid gas my legs don’t need to be numb my head does get up here!
The dentists female assistant suddenly leaves and is replaced by a male assistant and this is another thing that worries me – was what they were about to perform in my mouth to gross for the female assistant to witness? Again… Is it my breath?
The dentist informs me that they are going to start and stuffs huge balls of cotton in my mouth and reminds me to continue to breath through my nose so I can continue receiving the nitrous oxide, I gladly obliged and am starting to feel fine – then I hear the drill.
This entire time I’ve had a tight grasp on the arm rests and when the drill kicks in I squeeze a little tighter. The dentist instructs me to raise my hand if they need to stop – like I could suddenly make my hands release their death grip on the chair and lift up in the air in a panic – yeah, that’s very likely to happen. I’ve also not opened my eyes since I sat back in the chair, I know they’ll be grinning evilly and their instruments of pain will be dripping with blood and enamel.
I’m actually doing ok for a while then they hurt me and I cringe, but I think it’s going to be ok it was just a minor pain – then they hurt me twice more in rapid succession and my body squirms all over the chair. The sweat pouring off my body has tripled and my breathing is more panting then anything else. She stops and they pretend to be concerned for my welfare, but I imagine they’re giggling up a storm and savoring the pain that is evident on my face. They give me another shot of Novocaine and we wait for a few minutes for it to take effect. The dental assistant uses one of their tools to blow air on my face and I start to relax again.
Shortly thereafter they finish up and the dentist asks me to bite down – after doing so she asks if that “feels normal” I try to tell her that I have no idea if it “feels normal” the entire right side of my head is numb, how should I know…
As I approach the counter to pay my co-pay the receptionist person asks “How was your visit?”