Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Sailing Down the Canal of Root

It's 10:30 pm Monday night as I write this. I'm writing Tuesday's post on Monday because I don't know how much I'll want to write tomorrow after I get my first ever root canal.

To be completely honest here, I'm fucking terrified.

I have always had sensitive teeth. When I see people eating ice, or biting into ice cream, my reaction is always My God, HOW are you doing that? For me to do such things is agony. Heck, it's painful for me when the dental hygienist sprays cold air on my teeth, so you can imagine what a massive weenie I am when it comes to having them drilled.

How big a weenie am I? I require topical anesthetic on my gums before I'll allow the dentist to come near me with that massive needle full of Novocain. I white-knuckle pretty much every dental procedure, which means that by the time I'm done I'm worn out.

I could seriously not be a spy, y'all. Come at my teeth with a drill and I will spill every secret I know.

So there's that tension in general. Add to that the fact that my mother (who's had terrible dental health for as long as I've known her -- with all the crowns and bridges she has, I'm surprised she doesn't have dentures by now) did a number on me in childhood by describing to me in lurid detail how a root canal in the 1980s was done.

Yes, I'm certain that techniques and technologies have improved in the past 30 years. Yes, I'm certain that anaesthetic is better and tools are more refined. Yes, I'm certain that private sector doctors are more accommodating of my comfort than the Army dentists I had growing up.

All of these facts do nothing in the face of all this baggage which is probably a neurosis. So my only real choice is to brace for the worst and hope that the situation won't suck quite as hard as I'm afraid it will.

I'm pleased to report that the situation did not, in fact, suck quite as hard as I was afraid it would. In fact, I've had regular fillings which were more uncomfortable.

First, the endodontist's assistant was a petite, perky brunette with a bright sparkly attitude that immediately put me at ease. (The fact that she was easy on the eyes didn't hurt, either.) I also found out she's a nerdette who enjoys superheros, so we had a nice conversation about Flash, Arrow etc while waiting for the endo.

(In fact, ALL of the assistants were perky cute little brunettes. The doctor doesn't have a type, no not at all...)

Then it came time for the numbing agent, and I told the doctor that I was an utter weenie. He understood, and then proceeded to give me the best Novocaine injection EVER. I mean that sincerely; I didn't even feel the needle going in, and he slowly spread the yumyum around in order to make sure everything got numbed. This also had the pleasant side effect of not having the discomfort of "Ow, something cold is being injected into me quickly!"

Then there was the drilling and scooping and cleaning and filling, which I deliberately didn't pay any attention to because I was trying to be in my happy place. As I said, it never went above a 1 on the discomfort scale -- I've had papercuts that hurt worse -- and the entire procedure took about an hour.

Heck, I'd have this guy be my regular dentist if I could. Sadly, there are laws against specialists doing general practice.

When he was done, I asked the assistant "Is that it? Can I go?"  and she said "Sure!... unless you'd like to hang out with us. We're having sushi for lunch!" I honestly wasn't sure if that was meant sincerely or if it was just a joke. I might have said yes if I didn't have a family member waiting to drive me home, because sushi with a bevy of adorkable girls while discussing nerdy interests is absolutely something I enjoy.

So... 10/10, would root canal again (although I hope I never have to).

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