An Inconvenient Tooth

Warning: The following post contains some dental imagery that could be disturbing to some audiences. Such as the blog author. Also, this was supposed to post Wednesday. It did not, although I’m putting that as the date, since it was written then. Pardon my incompetence.

I got a root canal this morning. Never had one before, although my family has notoriously bad teeth. I keep telling myself I’m going to Wikipedia or somewhere to look up just what exactly happened to me this morning, but I haven’t yet. I also did not beforehand, because I’m pretty sure I would have passed out from anxiety. When I actually got in the chair and they were working on me, it wasn’t so bad. As my mom says, “You get anxious about getting anxious.” I think she means sometimes the idea of getting anxious about an event scares me more than the event itself. OK, I’ve just realized 1) I’m weird and 2) I’m not explaining this well. I’ll blame my incoherency on the large amounts of Novacaine.

The forms you have to fill out beforehand are hilarious in retrospect yet kind of terrifying at the time. They need to know any and all diseases I’ve ever gotten. I emphatically circled “No” on all the VD-related ones. I circled yes on “nervous/anxiety” and “received psychological treatment.” Then I wondered if they were judging me for that. Irony much? Also there’s the whole disclaimers about how if you die, you can’t come back and haunt them and be a terrifying ghost with bleeding gums, etc. And that endodontic treatments are generally only 90-95 percent effective and if it isn’t effective for you, tough shit. They asked if I had a family history of excessive bleeding. I wrote “occasional nosebleeds.”

Then, just as the lady calls me in to the back, what do I get? A nosebleed. I excuse myself to go to the bathroom and try to clear it up, hating my nose the whole time, getting anxious about what if it doesn’t stop, what if they refuse to do it now. They do not, although the assistant does ask me, “Are you sure you’re up to this?” I tell her “Yeah, I don’t see why not.” She takes an X-ray, then I have to sit and wait for a bit, since the dude is late. They apologize, telling me, “He commutes from (x).” Which is really far. He gets there a couple minutes later, apologizes for being late, shakes my hand, and I ask, for the sake of conversation, “How far away is (x)?” He answers, “142 miles.” Wow. It sucks to have his fuel budget. But he’s also the only guy in town who does root canals, so I guess that’s why he keeps commuting. For now, at least.

Anyway, other than the short stabbing pains when I think they were digging around in my nerve to clean it out, it was more uncomfortable and annoying than “ouch pain bad.” And it took less than an hour from the time he got there to the time I left-40 minutes, maybe. Now my mouth is sore as hell, and I can only chew on one side until I go back to my normal dentist in a week or two to get a crown. More money. My dad paid for the root canal, thankfully. Not sure how I’ll deal with the other shit, but at least the worst part-the dread-is over. I feel tough now. Or something. At the end, when it was over, they had to take another x-ray, and the assistant noticed I was grimacing and asked if I was OK. I said, “Yeah, just getting used to not having my mouth open.” Then I realized what I’d said.

Sometimes I think working at a dentist’s office must be like one big Freudian clusterfuck. Or maybe that’s just me.

I just Googled “root canal” and some sick bastard posted a video of a root canal demonstration on YouTube. I did not watch it. I saw that movie this morning; don’t care to go back again.

If you really want to know: Root canal Apparently my above suspicion was pretty accurate. About the nerves. But you probably don’t really want to know. But at least now I know how to spell “endodontic.”


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