Friday, February 22, 2008

The joys of dentistry ...

OK, whoever leaked the news that John McCain was having an affair during the 2000 primaries clearly doesn't know their history. I sincerely believe it isn't true—by most accounts, the woman was getting too close to McCain and had to be ordered to keep her distance—but at any rate, Gennifer Flowers didn't sink Bill Clinton, so why should Vicki Iseman sink McCain? If Americans cared about that, Bill Clinton would never have become president.
But, the source of this scandal also completely disregarded male logic (which leads me to believe the source is a female—perhaps Iseman herself?). Think about it—what guy is going to cheat on his wife with a woman who is the spitting image of his wife?! Do you really need to possess an asparagus-and-two-potatoes to work that one out? Gennifer Flowers, Linda Tripp and Monica Lewinsky were as far from Hillary as could be, so it's no wonder Clinton felt at ease. But McCain and Iseman, where Iseman is almost scarily the visage of McCain's wife, Cindy? Please. You'd have to have no conscience at all and McCain is not that morally bankrupt. So there's nothing to this rumor at all. It's false as false can be.
But that's not what I wanted to discuss ...
The topic today is dentistry, and how it so often makes you feel like an inmate at Guatanamo.
A few months ago, on the plane back from Dublin, Ireland, a filling came loose and fell out while I was chewing some gum. Today, I had that filling replaced. But the tooth is located next to one that has caused me no end of grief.
When I mentioned that the filling-less tooth was sensitive, my dentist took that instrument that shoots cold air and water, applied it to the troublesome tooth in question and let loose with a blast.
"Aaaah!" I arched out of my seat.
"Yeah, see?" she replied. "That's the one. It needs further work."
Now having said this, my dentist is excellent. There's a stereotype that dentists in England are pretty bad because the English tend to have worse teeth than Americans. But my dentist here is better than any I've ever patronized in the States. Seriously. I'd trust her with any procedure. She's performed two root canals on me, and I'd never had a root canal before coming here. 'Nuff said. I trust her completely.
One of those teeth that had previously had a root canal performed on it was acting up again, so she gave me the usual horrible shot of novocaine—three shots of novocaine, actually, because that's how sensitive the tooth was—numbing the entire right side of my face, made me wait 20 minutes while she saw another patient, then invited me back into the room.
"Thanks for waiting, your jaw feeling heavy?"
My tongue and jaw were both feeling so numb and heavy that I could barely speak to answer. "I'dink'it'is," I slurred.
"Ah, good," my dentist replied. She took the drill to both my teeth, the filling-less one and the troublesome one. But she had trouble applying the fillings.
You see, I have a small mouth. A pitifully small mouth. I had to have my jaw widened at the age of 12, and my mouth is still small. Working on teeth in the lower corners of my jaw is hell. For me and the dentist alike.
At one point during the filling, she said to her assistant, "Can you believe I actually performed a root canal on this tooth here?" It almost sounded like she was bragging. I don't blame her.
Then, after finishing the two fillings, she cleaned my teeth, which involves taking a pricked implement that goes between your teeth, at the gum line, blasting water through the spaces. Can you say "OUCH"? Your face gets drenched in water from the upshots, and when the dentist finally tells you to rinse, you know what to expect: Nothing but crimson red. Five mouthfulls of water later, I was still spitting red. And I have pretty healthy gums, yet the bowl at the side of the dentist's chair looked like a murder scene.
And let's not even mention the novocaine itself, which took the better part of two hours to wear off. After about an hour and fifteen minutes, I felt my tongue return. Half an hour later, most of the lower right side of my face made an appearance again as well. The feeling of relief when you feel that substance breaking up is palpable. You appreciate it when the drill is slicing through your tooth, but once it's over, you can't wait for the numbness to be over.
And, of course, there's the ol' don't-eat-or-drink-for-two-hours-after-a-dental-procedure rule. I was desperate for a drink, but knew I couldn't have one, so I boarded the number 11 bus at Victoria and rode all the way to Liverpool Street. Then, I crossed the road and boarded the same bus back to Victoria! Seriously. I honestly didn't know what else to do with myself till I could rinse my teeth out with beer, so I just screwed aimlessly around London till I'd wasted two hours.
Oh, and did I also mention that, as of this writing, I've been up eighteen hours? Yep, I went to my dentist appointment right after work. So at a time when I should have already been snoozing in my marital bed, I was playing Sudoku and waiting for the assistant to call me into the torture chamber.
I know it's a necessary thing, dentistry. Got to take care of the ol' pearly whites. Keep 'em clean and do whatever is necessary for a good, healthy mouth.
But jeez!
She told me to see her again in six months. So, come August, do you think I should book a one-way ticket to Australia or what?

1 comment:

kristen said...

Oh how I hate having my mouth worked on. I too have a small mouth; have had several teeth extracted just to fit the others in. I'm so sensitive to pain that I'm all about painkillers and numbing.

I don't know about this particular lobbyist 'friend', but I understand McCain cheated on his first wife....