/ people

Of Drills and Spit Vacs

<p>And now for a popular opinion.  I hate going to the dentist.  </p>

<p>I hate going to the dentist so much, I never go.  I mean, I just don&#8217;t go.  Screw that.  Unfortunately, certain <a href="http://www.rumblestrip.org/blog/archives/2003/04/candy_cake.html">habits</a> seem to run counter to my dentist avoidance plans.  </p>

<p>As a kid, I was a regular at the dentist&#8217;s office.  I could practically fill my own cavities by the time I was eleven, which unfortunately for me, was the year I got hit by a car for the first time (two incidents total, and counting) and learned the joys of root canal.  So you see, I have accumulated some serious chair time at the ole&#8217; DDS&#8217; house. </p>

<p>I hate them, natch.</p>

<p>Now that I am an adult (chronologically speaking, not in terms of emotional development), I go to the dentist when I have pain, and that&#8217;s it.  Prior to this month, my last visit was about seven years ago.  I brush, I occasionally floss; leave me alone is how I feel about it.  But all streaks must come to an end, and a couple weeks ago I started experiencing regular pain in one area, and I just knew it was time.  My co-worker referred me to his dentist, who turned out to be some kind of mastermind, because I just had a cavity filled and experienced absolutely no pain.  This is a first.  I love this man.  I will actually go back there for cleanings every six months.  (At least that&#8217;s my position right now.)  I have emerged from the comfy chair of pain unscathed, and I have a new lease on life!</p>

<p>But my recent visits to the enamel hellhole have drummed up so many thoughts I had to share:</p>

– The thing about the dentist experience is not so much the pain, but the waiting for the pain. It always comes suddenly. When I was eleven and split my chin open (aforementioned car-boy encounter), the E.R. doc said “OK, this is going to hurt” just prior to skewering fresh chin gash with a needle, so I buckled down and took the pain. No prob. I knew it was coming. But this dentistry stuff, well, it’s mysterious. You start out numb, all psyched that this is gonna be lots of fun. The drill starts up, and you feel that pressure—you KNOW he’s plunging a high speed drill bit into your tooth pulp—and yet you feel nothing. You start to relax a bit, and then all of a sudden your tooth feels like it’s generating its own electricity. It’s that nervous anticipation that I hate about going to the dentist. I usually leave the place sweating.
– Today, at least seven times, I was convinced I had swallowed my own tongue.
– The cotton they shove in there, coupled with the spit vacuum’s endless scouring, leaves you with cottonmouth the likes of which you have not experienced since college. Yet when you finally get to rinse half of your head is numb, unresponsive and thus uncontrollable. It’s messy. A new method of oral Hoovering that includes lubrication needs to be developed. (My god, I can’t wait to see the referrer logs after this post.)
– Television (complete with patient-selectable channels and volume levels) as a diversion is useless, for a couple reasons. First off, at 4:00PM all that’s on is Oprah, Judge Judy and Who Wants to be a Millionaire. Second, even if you are so vapid that one of those three pieces of crap might hold your interest, it matters not, because once the Novacaine takes hold, the dentist cranks you horizontal, and moments later your view of the TV screen is obscured by a fountain of spittle, tooth parts, and blood.

<p>That said, I truly felt (almost) nothing today.  If you live in New York, and you&#8217;re looking for a dentist, I have a referral for ya.  </p>