Diss 2.0 Day 3: Frankentooth

The meeting with my advisor went really, really well. We talked for an hour and a half, and he gave me lots of great advice -- things to work on, things to avoid, and we developed a bit of a plan so that I can defend in the fall. Now, all I have to do is just do it. Sigh.

The just doing it bit was hampered a little by my first experience with major dental work yesterday. About a year ago or so, I cracked a tooth. Until then, I'd never really had any major work done. (Excluding my wisdom teeth extraction. But I had that done when I was 16 and don't remember much of it. I was given a Valium at home before the surgery so that I would be tranked enough they could even get me into the doctor's office, at which point they promptly IV-sedated the bejeezus out of me. What I do remember from the experience is plucking the dog hair off of my sweatpants and handing it to my mother because I thought she might want to keep it, and then waking up in the recovery room telling them to remove the rubber mask from my face only to discover that that rubber mask was my face.) Anyway, no cavities ever or anything like that. Then about a year or so ago along comes a treacherous raspberry seed that just did me in. On my favorite molar, too. Well, OK, I don't really play favorites with my teeth -- but now that the thing is altered beyond recognition, I'm feeling a little nostalgic for it.

Anyway, yesterday, I decided it was time to do something about this tooth. Mainly because I hadn't chewed food on my right side for about a year. It was getting a bit tedious. The only solution for a cracked tooth, unfortunately, is capping. Unlike bones, teeth don't repair themselves, those little bastards. For those of you who haven't had this capping experience, I would recommend avoiding it. It's not much fun.

And, my dentist was particularly annoying. It is a new dentist for me, since the college's insurance left me with limited choices, which is different than my past situation where I chose the dentist I wanted because of my convenient lack of dental insurance. And, let me tell you, it was a factory. First of all, all of the rooms are open. No closed doors. So, you can hear the grinding and the moaning and the spitting and the screaming coming from all of the other rooms. (well, maybe no screaming, but I kept imagining that any minute I'd hear the screaming...) Then, they chairs are placed so that when you sit in them as a patient your back is to the open non-door. So, you can never see who is coming in behind you. You'll be lying there waiting, and then suddenly, someone is talking to you. Very bad feng shui. Very bad customer relations. And, the dentist and hygienists did not seem to feel the need to address you face-to-face when they came into the room. So, they kept having these conversations about my poor tooth's future with the top of my head.

THEN, when the dentist first came in to see me, she was being tagged by an assistant who was intent on working out the play dates for their two daughters. Here's the scene:

Stewgad: Lying in dental chair with back to the door, in a complete state of panic about what is going to happen (which, incidentally, (ha! no pun intended) no one had bothered to explain, and having only the information about the procedure that she had managed to glean myself from "the internets," having never before met this particular dentist.

(Magically appearing voices at the top of my head)

Hygienist: "You can't just say that they can have the play date and then cancel it, because I've already told Little Hygienist about it, and you can't promise things to a four-year-old and then take them away."

Dentist: Reaching for the foot-long metal syringe to inject me with god-only-knows-what. "Of course. She can come over, the girls will play princess dress up, and they'll have a great time."

Hygienist: "When are you getting the playground installed? Because you can't just promise to a four-year-old that they can come over and play and then take it away from them. You have to follow through on your promises to four-year-olds." (She was a bit obsessed about this promise thing.)

Dentist: Reaching for me with the foot-long metal needle, "We expect the play structure sometime at the end of the month. She can come over then." Leaning in with the needle...

Stewgad: "WOAH!!! What the hell are you doing? What are you going to do? What is happening? Who are you people, and before you stick me with that giant ass mediaeval looking syringe, can you at least tell me about the freaking procedure??!!!"

(At which point, the chastened hygienist slinks off. Presumably to go keep some freaking promises to her four-year-old Little Hygienist Playground Princess.)

It was so rude, I couldn't believe it. I made them go away for fifteen minutes while the Airplane Anxiety Helper kicked in. Then, when they came back, I turned around out of the chair so that they had to talk to my face and not to the part in my hair. Then, the procedure began. Giant needles, weird numbness, and then the grinding. They ground away quite a bit of my poor old tooth (which, oddly enough smelled like popcorn as it was being ground. An icky thought.) Then they stuck this metal cap on the tooth that sits there for two weeks until the new prettier cap arrives in the mail. Then, I've got to go back and they'll wrench this motherfucker off and stick the new one on. This thing is huge. None of my teeth meet because it sticks up so far, and it is clearly bigger than the other teeth so my mouth now looks like Frankenstein -- all cobbled together out of spare parts.

Before I left the dentist suggested that before the numbness wore off, I might want to take an Advil or two and have a glass of red wine, to "take the edge off." Edge? EDGE? The Grand Canyon of pain and she's calling it an edge. So, needless to say, I spent the rest of the day moping and in pain and trying to pretend that the paint grinders don't sound exactly like the tooth grinders.

Today, I feel like I've been socked in the jaw -- battered and bruised and the freaking tooth still hurts to chew on. I feel a bit cheated. So, while I continue to mope about, I've decided to write for 15 minutes (yes, Dr. Bokler), then tackle the study. I'll report in on Sunday or Monday on the top ten oddest bits of crap that I find in the stacks and piles and boxes that have been accumulating in here for a year or so. So far, I'm betting that the 2-year-old Halloween candy will win the "strangest thing I chose to keep in my desk" prize. But, the box full of Christmas tree ornament hangingmajiggers could give it a run for its money.


At 1:17 PM Dr. Mon said...

Good news--you ARE going to defend this fall. And you ARE going to get this done in time to do so--no sighs! (Ok, sighs are allowed--they help)

Sorry to hear about the massive tooth procedure--hopefully it will heal quickly so you can experience chewing on both sides of your mouth again!

At 6:39 PM RageyOne said...

So happy to hear the mtg. with the advisor went well. Have faith and you can do this! Cheering you on!

I've had a tooth capped before so I know exactly what you have described. I never understood why dentist do what you describe, enter the room and begin talking behind you.

I hope you get to feeling better soon.

At 12:11 PM Anonymous said...


Not that I wasn't already nervous enough thinking about getting a cap but your experience has frightened the beejezus out of me!!
I was actually scheduled to go today and have the teeth grinded down for the cap. However, I conveniently forgot and my dentist office just called and rescheduled for next month (whew!) So that gives me another 4 weeks to worry about whats coming.

As for the mannerisms of the Dentist when you are in the office. I think it must be a Dentist thing. I have been going to my dentist for over 10 years and everytime I am in the office, he and his secretary are always arguing verbally and conveniently while he is performing my procedures. Unfortunately, Dentist are one of the necessary evils of life...lol..

Feel Better


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