Saturday, January 13, 2007


Much to my dismay, the two little black spots I found on my molars did indeed turn out to be cavities. Despite my change over to an electric toothbrush and the religious brushing of my teeth with the occasional flossing, I still ended up facing the unpleasant process of having my teeth drilled.

My Dentist: Well, the bad news is that the nerves on the lower jaw are more difficult to numb...

I sat quietly in dismal apprehension.

My Dentist: So I'm going to inject two different types of anesthetic to accomplish a more effective nerve block.

Oh, sure, whatever. All I could think about was my fast-approaching and dreaded fate with a needle in my mouth. The specifics of what was going to be injected into my mouth and jaw didn't generate much of an interest. At least not as much as my current obsession of the pain I was about to experience.

My Dentist: So here comes the numbing medicine. Try to take deep, slow breaths through your nose.

[i.e. Buckle-up cowboy, here comes the pain!]

All of a sudden, he stuck a cattle-prod in my mouth. Or at least that's what it felt like.

I did my best to remain cool and do what he asked, but when someone's jabbing a hypodermic needle into your lower skull and raking across those nerves, it's hard not to break out into a cold sweat and clench up. I tried to take slow breaths, but I was really concentrating more on not ripping the armrests off of the dentist chair. Amazing how 5 seconds can feel like hours. Good thing he pulled out the needle in time, I was about to lose it.

My Dentist: Okay, so here comes that second needle.

So what I didn't quite grasp from my dentist's disclosure was that instead of mixing the two different types of anesthetic into one syringe, he was going to use two different syringes and stick me deep in my mouth multiple times. A wonderful realization.

My Dentist: Okay, so now we'll let that start working. I'll be right back. Go ahead and sit up and rinse.

So I dutifully sat up and rinsed in the little sink next to me. I slunk back into the chair. The anesthetic started to work immediately. The side of my face started to tingle, and my jaw and lip started to feel heavy and rubbery.

But wait, is my earlobe supposed to get numb, too? Wait, is my scalp tingling, too? Or am I just imagining all this?

I felt my head. No, I'm just imagining it. But my earlobe was definitely numb. And now so was the lower left half of my face.

It was taking the dentist a while to return to the room, so I entertained myself by poking and playing with my numbed face. But that can only provide so much interest. Then I tried to whistle with my numbed up lips. That lost its novelty fairly quickly as well. I then studied the miniature sink next to me.

Then I noticed that I was drooling. That's embarrassing. I tried to close my mouth, but I couldn't figure out of my lip was cooperating or not. I thought about trying to suck my drool back into my mouth by slurping every few seconds, but the disgusting noise along with the disgusting concept of cold drool being sucked back into my mouth discouraged that thought. Instead, I resigned to just blotting my mouth quietly with a paper towel every-so-often. I looked around, got up and found a dispenser, and sat back down with a paper towel.

Just as I was about to doze off, my dentist walked back in.

My Dentist: Oh yeah, by the way, I can only do one cavity today, so you'll have to come back another day to get the other one filled.