Tuesday, March 6, 2012

“Adventures with the Dentist—Part 2”

            My calendar says it all, “LIZ:  DENTIST 9:00.”

            By 9:20, I stretched out on the padded dental chair, where I’d exchanged my bifocals for sunglasses. The radio, set to oldies (for me, I’m certain, as both the endodontist and his assistant look pretty young). During the first tune, a multitude of shots delivered pain killers around my tooth. I tapped out the bass drum as numbness encroached across my lips and over my cheek. By the end of the second song, I felt nothing.
            Now, I haven’t had a root canal in over fifteen years. Actually, I’ve had practically no dental work done at all within this last decade, so I wasn’t prepared for the changes that tried to minimize my discomfort. Imagine my surprise when the assistant placed a little “pillow” into my mouth to rest my right teeth upon while the drill sizzled through my molar on the left. What a luxury not to have to willfully hold my mouth open, and at just the precise width, while the specialist worked.

When the fourth song, “Dance with Me,” began, I found myself relaxing into the chair, visualizing myself at the beach with warm coconut suntan lotion smoothing my skin and an ice cold Coke (not diet) quenching my thirst. Rod Stewart, played over the drill’s hum as conversation about a weekend spent weeding flowed over me. I found myself chuckling at one point when the chat took on a humorous tone.

          I did a mental dance while The Pure Prairie League’s “Amie” filled the room. This helped me ignore the sound of the picking and scraping of the hand tools as the dentist probed to make certain he’d gotten out all infected tissue. A couple of more x-rays guided him to go a little deeper. Finally, he told me everything looked pretty good and explained that his next step would be to pack in the antibiotics and place a temporary sealant on the tooth. Removing his mask, he smiled broadly as he announced that I wouldn’t need a new crown. After a week to let the antibiotics work, I’ll return for the last part of my treatment.
            I bounced out of the office absolutely elated with this news, my twisted grin reminding me of Lurch when I glanced into the rearview mirror. I debated filling the prescription for the 800 mg of ibuprofen as I waited at the light. At the last second, I turned left instead of going straight, heading to our local pharmacy. Upon arriving home, I bragged to Paul and Mom that this procedure proved completely pain free, but I had these horse pill tablets to take in case I had any discomfort later on.
            The pain hit at exactly 2:33. I’d downed one ibuprofen as a precaution around noon. I tried to take a nap, but Mom could only manage to give me an hour before she wanted to go to the bathroom and eat dinner. As for me, I want something soft for dinner, like cheesy and oozy enchiladas.

Copyright 2012 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman

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