Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Adventures in Melissa's Life: The Dentist

I'm not a fan of going to the dentist. Who is? I'd rather go to the "women's doc" before I go to the dentist. Yes, I hate it that much.

But it's one of those things that must be done, so off I trudged last week to get some cavities filled. I thought it would be pretty routine, having done this before (I blame my genetics for my bad teeth!). Only something wasn't right. Every time he drilled on one particular tooth, I felt it. And I didn't like feeling it because IT HURT.

He kept adding novacaine, which made me want to curl up with a blanket and pillow and pass out. He tried drilling again. More pain. More novacaine. He left for a bit to look at another patient, and when he came back, he jokingly told his assistant, "Did you grab that rubber mallet from the back room?" At that point, I wouldn't have minded if they'd used it!

We tried again. Same result. Finally, he announced that if my tooth was that sensitive, the cavity must have damaged the nerve. A root canal was in order.

I groaned. Not only would there be more novacaine and pain, but my bank account would feel that pain, too!

The appointment was made for Monday morning at 8 a.m. at a specialist. I figured, why not? Get it over and done with. Except we had a snowstorm over the weekend and traffic was moving at a snail's pace on Monday morning. And then I couldn't find the darn specialist's office!

Finally, I made it - 15 minutes late - and he was standing at the front with his coat and gloves on.

"Are you Melissa?" he said.

"Yes," I said, out of breath.

"You just caught me. I was about to leave."

NOT a good way to start an appointment where the other guy has a drill and plans to use it.

This time, when he shot me up with novacaine (in three separate areas), I thought I was going to pass out. Literally. My hands shook, my heart pounded, and I felt dizzy. When I asked him if this was normal, he told me about how the nerves and the blood vessels are so close together and sometimes the novacaine gets into the blood stream and can make you feel "jittery."

"That jitteryness (sp?) wear off in 10 to 15 minutes."

Would have been nice to know that before I felt like my heart was about to explode.

But once he got to work, I was quite thankful for the novacaine. I didn't feel a thing.

It took him about 20 minutes to fix my tooth. When he finished, I drug myself out of the chair, dutifully paid the cost in full (gasp! that one hurt), and drove home. I crawled into bed and slept the rest of the morning and part of the afternoon away. When I woke up, I was surprised that my mouth wasn't screaming in pain. In fact, my head hurt worse than my mouth, from keeping my jaws open and tensing up so much.

This morning, though, I'm feeling pretty good. Except, I have another dentist appointment next week...


  1. I feel your pain - literally - and can taste the novacaine too! I'd sooner have a tattoo than go to the dentist. Smear tests are right up there with the dentists, though.

    Hope you feel better soon. :o)

  2. I had some major dental work done last September. At one point the dentist gruffly told me to please stop biting him so hard. Of course I couldn't reply-which was probably a good thing!
    (And how could I stop biting him-when I couldn't even feel my face!)

    So I completely feel your misery!!

  3. I work in the dental profession, so always interested in patient's stories regarding their visits. Now a days we put tv's, music, massage chairs into dental ops, but still the drill is what is noticed most! I'm glad you are feeling better though!

  4. "NOT a good way to start an appointment where the other guy has a drill and plans to use it."

    LOL! I love how you can wring humor out of just about anything. Hope next week's dental appt. isn't too bad.

  5. Poor you. I had a few visits to the dentist last year and they hurt my bank balance nearly as much as my mouth.

  6. Diane - Not sure about the tattoo thing as I've never had one, so I'll just take your word for it.

    Valerie - LOL! That is funny! I don't think I've ever bit my dentist, but I think I was close to throwing punches when I felt the pain!

    Lynn - Oh boy, a massage would make going to the dentist completely worthwhile. Sadly, my dentist doesn't have all that stuff. He DOES have a poster on the ceiling you can look at - a picture of a beach with the words RELAX on it. It didn't work.

    Christine - Seriously, I thought, this is NOT the man I want to anger right now! But he was great about it.

    Debs - Agreed. Thankfully, I can make paymnents to my dentist, but I had to pay up front for the specialist.

  7. Oh...gug...that sounds like the worst thing ever! (shots in the mouth that make you feel jittery and queasy) But, YOU DROVE YOURSELF HOME in a snow storm!? Color me impressed!! Hope you recover quickly!

  8. I hate the dentist's office for exactly the same reasons you do! And yep, I'd rather see the Ob/Gyn instead.

    I got that jittery feeling once and I thought I was having a panic attack. Combine that with diabetes (where low blood sugars make you shake) and I was about to jump out of my skin. Dental visits produce major anxiety now for me!

  9. I'm SO sorry you had to go through this. My hubby had the same problem with the novacaine not working. You're both troopers. Here's hoping all future appointments you have go smoothly.

    Big healthy smile : )

  10. Colene - Luckily, it was the aftermath of the snowstorm, and the roads were mostly ok. :-)

    RT - Oh, I can imagine! I think that feeling was actually worse than the actual prcedure.

  11. Rebecca - There's not much worse than feeling the drill in your tooth. *shudder*

  12. Hope you're feeling better Melissa. The good thing about it is after the dental work is done, we realize how much we really were bothered by the tooth before, and feel like new with the repair.

  13. Joanne - True, but the weird thing is, I never had a bit of trouble with this tooth!

  14. I had that happen last year and a specialist is definitely the way to go. I'm pretty sure I need a crown, so I'm off to the dentist tomorrow.

  15. Patti - Yep, I need a crown on the tooth they just did, too, bringing my grand total of crowns up to 4! I'll be in debt to my dentist for a long time to come...

  16. What a nightmare. I hate the dentist. I'm blaming genetics, too, but I've been through it all. Yuck! So glad you're better.

  17. Thanks, Jill. One thing is for sure, I am determined to IMPROVE my flossing/brushing/check-ups from now on!!!

  18. Now I feel guilty. I've never had a root canal in my life, not even had a filling. Mind you I have been told off for having a bad grinding problem. Purchased a powerful rubbery toothguard and am wearing away at it...

    Hope the next appointment is better!

  19. Oh, I so feel your pain. As soon as I walk through the dentist's door, I start hyperventilating. I dread visits for weeks beforehand.

    Glad you're feeling good. Hope next week's appointment goes well!

  20. We are the same person!! In fact I have rotten teeth and they have all been worked on. I'm a dentists dream. Thankfully I love mine.

  21. Susan - Don't feel guilty - feel lucky!!! :-) This is my second root canal, but I must admit, I'd rather get the root canal done than the majority of other dental work. It was pretty painless.

    Shirley - I know you've had some difficulties with dentists in the past. Here's hoping for no cavities this year!

    T. Anne - I actually do like my dentist. He's a nice guy. But it's just the whole experience I loathe - though the more I go, the more I get used to it!

  22. OUCH!! You know, if you read a recent post of mine, I had to have a tooth pulled with only novacaine and I about died!! You made me realize I need to get my other tooth fixed before it turns into a root canal. Hope you are better!

  23. Terri - Oh, I read that post and thought, OUCH. Yes, go get that other tooth fixed soon!!! The dentist told me I waited too long to get my check-up and that's why I had to get the root canal done.

  24. Coming from a dentist's wife, you shouldn't have felt pain in the first chair. In my personal opinion, if the dentist doesn't make it completely pain free, it is time to look for a new one. Patient comfort FIRST.

  25. Heather - He kept adding the novacaine and I just couldn't figure out why it kept hurting. First time that's ever happened with him. Weird.

  26. Oh, cringing just reading this. OUCH!


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