14 July 2009, a day that will live in infamy!
Ok, maybe that’s a little too dramatic, but I don’t think so! Some one in my household has accused me of over reacting to my dental experiences. Well, all I have to say about that is, “HA!”
What I’m writing to you about is actual, factual accounts of some pretty traumatic experiences that I have gone through. And believe it or not, I lived through these frightening experiences cause I’m one tough guy! So there!
When I go to the dentist or in my case a periodontist, I get treated differently than a dainty woman. I also notice things most women don’t even bother to notice. Like for example, while my lovely Wife might notice the nicely arranged furniture in the waiting room, I can sit there and hear the screams coming from behind THAT door! You know which door I’m talking about, it’s THAT door that someone in surgical garb opens to get you!
Why do they have to wear surgical clothes? I’m not here for major surgery or maybe they haven’t told me everything!
Today I’m supposed to have a tooth extracted and one side of my upper and lower teeth cleaned. That’s all, nothing else. I was told that having your teeth cleaned was no big deal, so why is this guy calling my name wearing surgical scrubs?
Upon hearing my name called, I acted on instinct. I ignored it! That’s clearly what my instincts were screaming for me to do. At that moment, my teeth felt perfectly fine. I had brushed them just before coming to the periodontist, so they were clean, so logically, I shouldn’t have to go through this ordeal, right? Unfortunately, Mr. Spock and logic weren’t sitting next to me. My Wife with the perfect hearing was, and made it very clear that my name had been called and I should go to my doom!
Slowly, I walked through THAT door! The dental tech said, “Follow me!” For some reason, I remember Lurch from the Adams Family saying the same thing, only Lurch sounded friendlier!
As I followed the dental tech down this long, long dark hallway, I continued to hear the screams of other unlucky patients being worked over that day! The screams seemed to get louder as I walked. We passed many, many small rooms with black dental chairs just idly waiting for their next victim, um, er, patient. Then we stopped at my room and I was told to sit in the black chair. Oh, man, I’m scaring myself to death!
So, I gingerly sit in the chair and I politely tell the dental tech that my back is hurting today and I would appreciate knowing when the chair-back was going to be lowered.
He said, “Ok!” and promptly, dropped the chair-back about 10 feet! He then said, “I’m lowering the chair-back!”
I think my back spasm lasted about 20 minutes. During that time, I could hardly breath but once I did start breathing, I kindly asked him to tell me BEFORE he moved the chair-back.
He said, “Ok!” I think he was beginning to suspect I was going to be a problem patient.
The dental tech then tells me that the periodontist will be in shortly to do the extraction and cleaning. He wants to know if I have any questions that he might answer before it all starts. I believe he did this because he knew very well that I wouldn’t be able to talk from that point on and especially after they were through with me!
I quietly asked if I could leave now, and he very firmly said, “No, your Wife wouldn’t like that!” and that was the last and only question I asked.
He put a huge, huge bib around my neck. I saw a tray of what I believe were instruments piled almost three feet high and covered with a blanket down near my feet. I know they were instruments cause some were poking from under the blanket. The tray was only about two feet wide and I’m sure some of these instruments were six feet or longer. They all had sharp points. I know. The dental tech never mentioned the tray.
I could hear the screams in the other rooms dying down now. It was getting quieter as I laid there, pondering my bloody future. I could now hear footsteps behind me coming closer.
In an instant, I was staring into the face of THE PERIODONTIST! He said, “You ready!” and then slammed the chair-back down another 10 feet!
Quietly from the corner of the room, the dental tech said, “Uh, he wants to be told when the chair-back is moved.”
Some how, while enduring this incredible searing pain in my back, through clenched teeth, I said, “Before, before!”
The Periodontist says, “Oh, Ok. Now, let’s have a look at those teeth.”
I open my mouth as wide as I possibly can and the Periodontist says, “Can you open as wide as you can?”
So, I open wider. My head is tilted back and I’m staring straight at the ceiling concentrating on keeping my mouth wide open and the dental tech, whom I lost sight off, swings this gigantic spotlight directly over my eyes. I am surely flash blinded for life! He then hands me a pair of dark glasses and says, “You should wear these!” If I had a guide dog with me I would have been all set!
The Periodontist now says he’s going to start the cleaning and eventual tooth extraction but first he needs to deaden the inside of my mouth. He takes two small q-tips and rubs the back inside of the left side of my mouth. He says that will start the deadening. I’m thinking that’s pretty good. Sure not like last time when they used needles. I hate needles!
What the heck! From somewhere the Periodontist has brought up this three foot hypodermic syringe with at least a four foot long needle dripping something from the end. And he points this thing at my mouth and before I can let loose a blood curdling scream he plunges it into my mouth! Oh, my, goodness! I’m in total shock. There’s no way I can go through the rest of this. I try to tell him that but my mouth feels funny! It’s all numb on one side and I can’t feel much. Well, maybe that’s the worst! And I kind of relax. And here comes another one of those dang monster needles! Whoa! Where’s he going to put that one? I very quickly find out. It goes right in my mouth again and another 10 gallons of Novocaine gets squirted right in my gums! Is this torture never going to end?
The next thing the Periodontist says is, “OK, let’s get started.”
What in the heck has he just done? As far as I’m concerned he has started and ended right this very second. If I could have talked I would have said, “I’m done.”, but all I got out was something like, “da da!”
So now the dental tech pulls that tray with the four foot pile of instruments right over to below my nose. He yanks the blanket off and you wouldn’t believe the kinds of evil stuff on that tray. I swear there were knives and forks and screwdrivers and stuff that looked like sticks of dynamite! And I ain’t exaggerating nothing!
He also pulls out this long hose with one of those slender vacuum attachments on the end and sticks it in my mouth. My tongue immediately feels like it’s being ripped out. Then the Periodontist says he’s going to have his tech put a water fountain in my mouth so they can suck and drain all the tartar out. As my mouth is filling with water, the Periodontist says it’s important not to swallow right now and the suction should take care of all that water. Well, the suction has most of my tongue stuck in it and I’ve got thirty gallons of water backing up like a clogged drain so somebody better do something and fast!
Finally, I free my tongue, don’t know what the dental tech’s doing, but slowly the water is going out that tube like it’s supposed to. Right about now, I’m figuring that it is best to just close my eyes. I either won’t see what they’re doing or maybe they’ll think I’m dead and quit!
Next thing I hear and feel is this sand blaster thing. The Periodontist is running it up and down and around my teeth throwing out huge clods of stuff (tartar). He’s got this in one hand and grabs a massive pick in the other (I’ve seen miners on TV carry those)! He tells the dental tech to grab that, I swear it sounded like “sledge hammer”, and in my mouth it goes.
Before I know it, that three-foot pile of instruments (must have been about 30) are all crammed in my mouth, there’s a vacuum cleaner hose stuck down my throat and a water fountain gushing somewhere forming a child’s swimming pool right under my tongue! The Periodontist and the dental tech have both hands in my mouth and asking me to open wider!
I hear a nurse come in and they mumble something to her about warning everyone of the impending explosions! I swear that’s what they said.
Finally, I think they’ve got my teeth cleaned but, oh, my, goodness, here comes the jackhammer to get that tooth that’s going to be pulled. It’s got to be broken up so it will come out easy! Who came up with that joke! Nothing about this has been easy or a joke!
I can feel the stainless steel pliers pulling the pieces of my tooth out and dumping them on the tray! Whang, goes one piece, whang goes another, then another, and another, and another. Man that was one big tooth! Oh, my! What if they forgot and just pulled all of them!
At last, I can feel all the instruments slowing being extracted. Oh, my mouth is feeling so nice and empty. Ah, now what’s this. Someone has just stuck a dirty sock in my mouth and he’s telling me to clamp down on it! Actually, the Periodontist has inserted some gauze in the place where my tooth was to help stem the bleeding but to me it tastes just like a sock!
The Periodontist say, “Ok, we’re all done!”, and wham, up goes the back of the chair. It sure was good that I was already gritting my teeth or they would have all been broken by now. I give a little groan and the Periodontist say, “Oh, sorry, I should have told you I was raising you up!” Ya think!
Of course I can’t say a thing cause one whole side of my face is completely gone. Well, it’s there, but I just can’t feel it. I’m led out to the reception area where my beautiful Wife is waiting. Best thing I’ve seen in the 30 days (she says only 30 minutes) they were working on me.
The dental tech hands us a 52 page sheet of instructions that I’m to follow for the foreseeable future. I also have a prescription for pain killers, antibiotics and some mouth wash (which I find out much later is the absolute worst mouth wash in the entire world).
They said to take it easy for the rest of the day. Be happy that you’re still alive and oh, by the way, when would you like your next appointment!
You GOT TO BE KIDDING!