Three Root Canals Please

I don’t think anyone really enjoys going to the dentist.

The first time I went to the dentist he looked in my mouth and said “You have a verrry big cavity, a verrry big cavity.”

I said “I’m scared enough! You don’t have to say it twice!”

He said “I didn’t, that was the echo.”

Ba dump dump chee.

Last July I had a little toothache. I put up with the pain until one night at 11:00 pm (isn’t that always the case?) it hurt so bad that I got up and dabbed it with some Anbesol, downed a Naproxen and a sleeping pill and went back to bed. Two hours later it woke me up throbbing. I placed a cottonball soaked in Anbesol over the tooth, took some Exedrin Migraine since the Naproxen wasn’t working and went back to bed. A half hour later I was gargling with Anbesol and looking for some Vicodin. I have had three children, two with no pain meds what so ever and I’d rather have another baby than experience what was going on in my mouth.

Did you know that a root canal is needed when the nerves of the tooth have died? If they’re dead why do they hurt so much? And as a note for the future, Ibuprofen is best for tooth pain according to the dental receptionist I spoke to the next day.

I went to my dentist, Dr. Darrell B. Payne, and he confirmed that I needed a root canal. I could wait until tomorrow and go to Libertyville (20 minutes away) or go right now  to Lake Geneva (50 minutes away). It took me an hour and 45 minutes to get there because summer is road construction season in Illinois therefore my tooth was letting me know that it was still really, really dead by the time I walked into this new guys office.

I had never met this dentist before and I was nervous. I mean what if he was a psycho with a penchant for hurting people? I decided I better try and get to know him as best as I can before he starts so I say “How are you today doc?” and he says “You know, I’m feeling a little down in the mouth.”

At that point I just said shoot me up with the novacaine and git ‘er done.  And that’s what he did.  So much novacaine was needed that the entire left side of my face was numb. When I am all done and sitting up, there they are waiting with a cup of water.  “Rinse and then spit in the sink.” A numb mouth doesn’t hold water. Sick people those dental types. I know they all laughed as the water dribbled down the front of my…bib. Sick, I tell you, sick.

Early this fall, Bob started complaining about some tooth pain. I was not very sympathetic at first, I mean, even  my dentist, Dr. Darrell B. Payne, agreed that there is no pain like root canal pain. So unless he gets a root canal he is getting no sympathy from me. Bobs pain started on Friday, it progressed through the weekend. He followed the same routine with the Anbesol and painkillers as I did, but at least this time we were using Ibuprofen.

Upon visiting the dentist Monday morning he affirmed our concerrns and said yes, Bob too would be needing a root canal. Actually TWO root canals. Top and bottom. Always gotta one up me. He’s so dang competitive.

Now, I haven’t met many people with a higher level of unease regarding a dentist visit than my husband. He has to get a prescription for Valium prior to going-even for a cleaning. And Bob’s philosophy is, if one pill is good, two is better and three might just do the trick.

Bob also does not like to hear the gory details of what goes on in any kind of ‘procedure’. I was not able to regale him with the account of my own root canal. He did not know that I sat in the chair for over an hour (three days) with a mouth prop in. A mouth prop is exactly what it sounds like, it props your mouth open for hours (days) on end. He did not know that in addition to the mouth prop there was also rubber dam placed in there so that no debris inadvertently found its way down my throat. He did not know that a small (tinky tiny if you will) bottle cleaning brush was used vigorously (like a jack hammer) along each root to clean out all that dead nerve. He did not know that when I left the office I had a small indentation on my forehead where the doctor had placed his foot because he needed to ‘brace’ himself so he could be confident that he got it all.

Despite his best efforts Bob came out of both ordeals with flying colors. The best part of all this is when ‘Hydrocodone Bob’ flopped towards me as I was driving us home from Root Canal Number One and said “You take such good care of me, I love you sooooooo much. And I’m not just saying that because I’m on drugs.”

His eyes were mostly in focus.

To his credit, he called me the next day and said “I’m not on drugs and I still love you sooooo much.”

We had to do a follow up visit and seeing as we had just paid for the Endodontist to go to Hawaii for a year I thought our relationship could be deepened and I asked the doctor, who had mentioned he was a reader, if he could recommend any good books.

“Well, what kind of books do you like?”

I replied, “I like a book I can really sink my teeth into.”


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Katie
    Nov 26, 2013 @ 15:13:06

    HA! I actually love going to the dentist. The worst thing I’ve ever had done was get one cavity filled, and when that happened, I was devastated.


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