Root Canals are Fun *OR* More Than Anyone Needs to Know About My Mouth


The summer is flying by so fast I can’t keep up.  I was going to blog about a bunch of different things, but by the time I had a computer in front of me, the topics were not so interesting to me anymore.  I told my kids I’d blog about my birthday, which they were pretty jazzed about, but then I forgot to even do that.

What the hell people, I need some excitement in my life!

Here it is! My new, exciting life. Let’s all wait for it together.

So, in order to get some of that excitement I’ve been craving, I went to the dentist last week.  I’m phobic, so it’s only the second time in over ten years that I’ve gone.  The other time was because my teenie-weenie cavity from the late 90s had turned into a painful crater and I had to get a root canal. Have you heard about these?  Root canals are torture.  A person is way better off just tying a rope to the tooth, the other end to the back bumper, and letting their ten year old son hit the gas pedal.  Or the seven year-old.  It doesn’t really matter which kid.

Just in case your kids aren’t up for helping, you might consider just doing the job yourself. With a wrench. In the library. With Prof. Plum.

After that root canal @ four years ago, I swore a sacred oath with my subconscious to never go back to the dentist. Any dentist.  Shit, who needs that kind of stress?  Not me.  Not you, either, I’m pretty sure.  People’s teeth rotted and fell out all the time back in the day.  There’s no shame in nature.  No shame.

Why is stereotypical Jesus pulling teeth?  He should just let the mofo rot.

Well, unfortunately I cracked a childhood filling a year or two ago and the stupid thing fell out! You get what you pay for I guess, and I don’t recall paying for jack when I was a kid.  Maybe my mom and dad paid?  Whatevs.  It was junk.  It cracked!  It fell out! Color me not impressed with late 70s / early 80s dental work… which cracked and fell out of my head.

I often thought about my cracked filling over the ensuing year or two.  I put my tongue in the craggy bowl it left behind.  I brushed a lot.  I flossed.  I picked at it.  I never chewed on that side.  I did what I needed to do, man. I didn’t, however, go to the dentist. That would be crazy, and I’m not crazy.

Dentists hurt people.  Drills make a lot of shrill, screaming noises inside a person’s head.  Water and dental debris spray a person’s face.  Plus, they can see up your nose.  Right up in there.

They might be able to *see* up your nose, but this guy can *lick* up his nose. Klassy with a K.

Got an eye booger?  They see that too.

Well, that is symbiotic and delicious.

So, I was up half the night last night alternately freaking out and looking up card catalogs to buy on Craigslist, when I finally decided to chill my shit and call it a night.  I wanted to be alert for my first combo heart attack-stroke today, so I made a mental note to share my awesome Craigslist finds with Jeff before dying the next afternoon (today)…my adoring, loving, card catalog enabling husband…and I slept soundly for about 18 minutes.  It was enough.

Also, I’m lying about Jeff’s enabling.  He hates my card catalog pipe dreams.  He says it sounds like a million little drawers full of stuff.  Pshaw.  It’s fabulous furniture, but that has nothing to do with my teeth or this blog.

This could go on forever, so we’ll just fast forward to me sitting in the dentist’s chair.  She’s so sweet, my brand new dentist.  I shared with her that I had an awful taste in my mouth since starting the mega-antibiotic.  You know, the one I had to take for the chronic infection in my jaw?  Weird, she said.  No one had ever complained about that…just…diarrhea.  Have I had diarrhea???

Alleged storm.

I don’t think we need two diarrhea pictures, but what’s not to love about a turtle on a toilet?

Does she not know yet that people don’t talk about diarrhea in polite company??  Not even impolite company, really, though I do try to work it in as often as I can.

She reclined my chair and shot me all to hell with “numbing” shots.  Hey, guess what?  They didn’t work!  She poked me and asked if I felt it.  Yes, thank you, may I have another?

At that point my dentist and her impeccably timed assistant wanted to know about my kids.  So, they wondered, am I ready for them to go back to school soon?  Lessen the stress at home?

No, we homeschool, I explained with the big mouthguard clenched between my teeth.  It went something like this:  “nnnnooooowwwweeeeeedfklgjhslkdjfhglksdfhj”  I dribbled a little.

This is what I looked like today in the chair. It’s a good look.

I always try to be an ambassador for homeschooling.  A lot of people just don’t get it.  The assistant wanted to know, “so, you registered your kids then?”  Hmm.  No, not necessary in Illinois.  What about testing?  Didn’t I have to register them for testing, she wanted to know?  No. No testing necessary in Illinois.  Do we follow the school schedule at least?  NO.  Do I teach them?  NO.  How do my kids interact with other kids?  THEY DON’T!  We stay home all day, every day!  My kids sit in the front window and try to catch the attention of passers-by…  They cry themselves to sleep at night, then dream of the day they’ll be able to have friends, and do standardized tests with rooms full of same-aged human people.

This would be funny if not for the life-sized skeleton my 7 y-o carries around the house.

Actually, the assistant and I had a nice conversation after she took my dripping mouth guard out.  Turns out her son is thinking about homeschooling.

My dentist was ready to move on, so I got more shots in my sensitive, anxiety-ridden face, and a couple of minutes later she started drilling into my head.  It was awesome.  But NO!  I COULD FEEL THAT TOO!

“You can feel that?”  She was somewhat incredulous.  Like all my jerks and flinches were an act.  All the jabs and electrical-like shocks into my brain.  MY BRAIN!

“WTF?? How many times do we need to do this? You should feel NOTHING!!!”

“UNGHUN!”  I shook my head yes.  More numbing attempts.  My tongue felt like a balloon; the roof of my mouth felt like it was closing in and making my gaping maw a mere cozy nook.  But I felt it…  That was the perplexing issue. I. Felt. It.  All of this activity was happening very close to my brain.

More drilling.  Drill, baby, drill…my ass!  Stop drilling!  I was still able to feel the damned drill, but I pretty much just spaced out and let the dentist finish.  Doc muttered a lot to her assistant.  About abnormalities. In my tooth.

I meditated.

“Most people have three canals.  You’re lucky; you have four!” and “Your canals are so tiny!  I can’t see.” and “You have a stone in your canal.” and something else weird.  I felt glorious and special and unique.  Apparently she hadn’t seen a tooth like mine in a llllooonnnggg time, if ever.  All kinds of rare and abnormal features, “and all in the same tooth,” she exclaimed.

Well, here’s the deal.  I still hate going to the dentist because now I know I’m a big freak of nature.  I love nature, but not when it’s freaky and requires 46 shots of knock-out juice injected under my skin every two minutes.  That business hurts, and here I had two c-sections with no post-op painkillers…once upon a time.  High pain tolerance is all I’m saying.

This dude’s got nothing on my four tiny canals. He’s so unoriginal.

When we were finally done with our torturous exercise, I jumped from the chair and commented that the numbing was almost completely gone.  My dentist and her assistant were all like, “It’s supposed to last four hours!”  Nu-uh.  Nope.

Now that she’d drilled and scraped and filed all the nerves and tissue out of my freaky four canals, drugged up the hole, and stuffed it full of papier-mache, I think I may never go back.  I told Jeff that it looks like I’m all set until 2022.

Dentists suck, for realz.  They also drill and give painful shots, in addition to the aforementioned sucking.  It *so* doesn’t pay to have a dental phobia, I’m finding out.

So listen up, kids.  Learn from my mistakes.  Either skip the dentist forever and learn to love creamed corn, or go every six months whether things are rotting or broken or not.  There is no happy medium here.

Yum. It’s what’s for dinner!

I have no idea why every dentist I’ve been to compliments me on my brushing skills, and oral hygiene in general.  What good is it when they come after me with shots and drills and scrunched up, confused faces?  I’d much rather they just punch me in the face, steal my wallet, and post compromising pictures of me on the internet.

Plus, while all this happened, and I didn’t even mention all the crap at Walgreens afterward, my friend kidnapped my kids!  Took them right out of my house and drove away with them.  True story.

8 Comments

  1. staciataylor said,

    August 3, 2012 at 9:33 am

    I think you should have taken the painkillers for the c-section and had the root canal au natural. Did the kidnapper bring your children back? Inquiring minds need to know!

    • August 14, 2012 at 11:21 am

      The kidnapper did bring my children home. It didn’t last long…she had just pulled into my driveway when I got home from the dentist. They can’t wait to be kidnapped again. LOL

  2. Kriston said,

    August 3, 2012 at 9:57 am

    I have the exact same problem with the not-numbing. They shoot me full of enough drugs to knock out an elephant, and I still feel it.

    The solution? Two words: nitrous oxide. Best thing EVAH! Then even when you feel the drilling, you don’t care. And you forget about it immediately after it happens because you’re floating…

    • August 14, 2012 at 11:24 am

      My second appointment was too awful for me to write about, but I think I’m on board with sedation dentistry in the future. I will be over-the-top OCD about not needing to go though, and am currently working on a binaca-like oral bleach spray.

      I could definitely wait another decade before my next appt. Well, except for the one Thurs. morning. After that one. 😦

  3. August 3, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    Isn’t the worst thing to hear from a dentist: “Woah! I’ve never seen THAT before.” Had a dentist call in his whole staff to check out my psycho-weirdo tooth! Perhaps just move on over to oral surgeons where they put the line in your arm and you wake up minus a tooth or two – but still get to enjoy the sore jar, wads of bloody gauze. Or get an epidural and turn it up really really high – numb ya from head to toe.

  4. Jen C. said,

    August 3, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    Two words: sedation dentistry.

    • August 14, 2012 at 11:25 am

      YES!!!! It is now on my radar. No joke, appointment number 2 was the most awful sort of horrible. Two appointments down, one to go!

  5. August 4, 2012 at 7:16 pm

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