Thoughts in a dental chair

Some of my dentist’s equipment

I was in a dentist’s chair for two hours yesterday. TWO HOURS! It wasn’t all bad. The first half hour he did numbing that didn’t hurt. (Remember when the Novocaine shot was more painful than the drilling? Or so it seemed.)

The next half hour required getting a backhoe into my mouth for major excavation. I wondered if they were putting a pond in there. I swear I heard the beeps when it was in reverse. I was naming the fish.

After the backhoe came the jack hammer. Then lots of goo. Pink good. Purple goo. Goo galore.

Technically this procedure was elective. I didn’t have to have this done now but my old dental work had been chipping. It took two years and a really bad chip before I made the appointment. I thought it best to have it done now. I can get some good years out of it before my teeth go to the grave. The worst would be to have an uncomfortable procedure the week before you die.

While I am sitting in the chair all kinds of weird things go through my head. Why would someone be a dentist instead of a brain surgeon? The brain isn’t that far from the teeth but it has no spit. Some teeth injections I’ve had seem to go up through my brain and out the top of my head. (My “now” dentist somehow doesn’t let me see the needle. I’m good with that.)

Personally I find putting my hands in anyone’s mouth (including my own) disgusting. (There will be no commentary on how a person can clean litter boxes and get urine samples from an uncooperative cat but freaks out with people spit.)

I was so numb that I was sure my lips looked like a Kardashian. The dental tech gave me a mirror because I didn’t believe her. How can they feel so big but look so little? I checked my boobs too. Nope, definitely not a Kardashian.

When the lips are numb you don’t have control of your own fluids. During a swish out of toxic waste fragments clinging to my delicate membranes, I overshot the spit receptacle and hit the tech’s sneakers. Oops. What to do, what to do? We’re not even on first name basis and I’m trying to swap spit.

I did exactly what I did in grade school when smelly gas escaped my sweet butt. I pretended I didn’t do it. She pretended I didn’t do it either and neither wiped her sneaker or commented. I’m pretty sure she threw them in the trash when she got home.

I have a lot of respect for dentists. They rank up there with butt doctors (another profession I can’t figure out why anyone would want to do!).

Today my mouth is sore (but not sore enough to shut up). I have three weeks to recover before I go in for the final appointment. After that I will be ready for toothpaste commercials except for my skinny lips.

83 thoughts on “Thoughts in a dental chair

  1. I LOVE this post. I agree with everything you said and can empathize. I have had a ton of dental work and I don’t know if there are many teeth in my head that have not had root canal. there was a period of 2 years when I said some women go to have their nails done every week, I go to the dentist! The worst was when I went on a cruise and the ship left at 4 and at 7 I started getting a toothache. A week on advil!

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  2. Pingback: Dental apocalypse part 2 – locusts, bad breath and other biblical plagues | Views and Mews by Coffee Kat

  3. I feel so badly for you! Elective or not…two hours in a dental chair ranks up there as one of my most dreaded appointments. I try very hard to think of my friends who have medical appointments and procedures for very serious medical needs and I have nothing at all to complain about. I shouldn’t be such a baby…but I am sure no one enjoys it! I hope you’re dental-work free for a while now, Kate!

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    • I’m not a fan of dental work either but I’ve had a lot. I had what they called soft teeth so I tended to get cavities when I was young. I’ve had many root canals and gum surgery (maybe that was the worst!). I take better care of my teeth than most people because of my investment and I want them to last. My mother had dentures and she had issues with them. Seeds getting under. Sores. I’d rather have something done to preserve what I have.

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  4. I bit down on a potato chip a week or so ago and totally shattered a tooth. On a potato chip of all things. Who would have thought it? The poor dentist literally had to dig the tooth out. If I could have talked, I would have had time to spill out my entire life story while I was sitting in the chair. In spite of all my dentist’s hard work and searching, I’m still spitting out tooth fragments, and I think I’m developing a phobia. Is it possible to be afraid of potato chips?

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    • It’s always the goofiest things that break a tooth. I have given up hard pretzels and anything really hard. I can’t risk it. I won’t give up potato chips though. Potato chips and ice cream (not necessarily together) are my comfort food.

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  5. Oh Lord. I dread dental appointments. Ugh. I have also wondered what motivates someone to become a dentist. Yechhh! My dentist’s office is a father and daughter team/associates. I can’t imagine joining the family business on that one.

    Hope you’re feeling even better today.

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  6. Ick. But I’m glad that you’re doing ok. Dentistry is a weird sort of speciality, I’ll give you that. All the ones I’ve gone to seem like such nice people… yet what they do for a living is odd.

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    • I put it off for two years because…well…because! My jaw is still sore and I have to eat slowly. Didn’t want to do this during corn on the cob season! BTW being skeered doesn’t help but reward yourself afterward so you have something to focus on.

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    • At my age, my mother had lost all her teeth and her words to me were, “Don’t let them pull your teeth!” I’ve never had great teeth but I’ve always taken good care of them. Yep I’m one of those who floss without fail every day and brush twice, sometimes more. I’ve had a lot of root canals and gum surgery but all is good now. This round is very costly but I had to do it at some point.

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  7. I think my brain goes dull when I’m in the dentist’s chair, that is, when it’s not paying close attention to make sure she’s not making a mistake (as if I would know). I’m glad you’re alert enough to look at the funny side and share it with us.

    I’m guessing that dentists make a lot of money, and they deserve it. What an unpleasant task it must be–all that small, small detailed work done at inconvenient angles, all that spit and the occasional blood.

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  8. I have been pretty lucky teeth-wise. Most appointments are of the cleaning and maybe x-ray variety. If I was forced to go into a medical profession, I would definitely choose to be a dentist. Not a lot of blood, your assistants do most of the work, they are seldom, if ever, on call, and, best of all, they make tons of money for very little work.

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    • But they have to put their hands in people’s mouths. A friend’s son went into optometry because the hours were good, no medical emergencies and the pay wasn’t bad. Maybe I could do that better. No spit. Oh wait, I’m retired!

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  9. Am I peculiar? I like going to my particular dentist. And he loves his job! He is very smart and funny, he saves me from no end of disasters short and long term. He boosts my morale and I am his favourite client. Or so he says.

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  10. Lol….that’s one way to get through two hours of dental work. Think of it as a post!
    I can’t tell you how many times I tried to rinse out while my mouth was still numb and hit everything but that small bowl/sink they allow you to use. You’d think someone would have come up with a better plan by now but no…they prefer we embarrass ourselves as we drool down our faces.

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  11. I think you hit gold with this one. Everybody had a comment. Here’s mine. 🙂 I think the only thing worse than a major dental appointment is getting caught in a traffic speed trap and having to pay up, big time. Kudos on keeping your good humor and getting through it intact. You are much more beautiful than any Kardashian!

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  12. Kate, why have I not yet learned to read your posts at home…alone…in private? I just read this at a local coffee shop, and now everyone is staring at me for my sudden bursts of laughter, while sitting alone with my phone. I just may need to find a new coffee shop. Very funny post!

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  13. Yeah, I have skinny lips also. And a small mouth. Even getting dental X-rays is an ordeal in not hitting the gag reflex.

    I’m looking forward to the research on regrowing tooth enamel with stem cells going mainstream. Clean out that cavity, inject some cells, put up a barrier, and voila!

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  14. I thought I was the only person with skinny lips.
    I have tried exercises, plumpers, numerous dental procedures with novacaine….nada. I’ve had black friends call me “no lips” Linda… lipstick winds up on the inside of my mouth! I give up! I don’t even have lips to chap! No need for lip balm here.
    In lieu of my no lips self I concentrate on my eye makeup! I have liners, lash thickeners, shadows, highlighters and you name it! Now with old age my eyelids are starting to droop. I give up!
    I am not sure which direction I will head next.

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    • Back when they first came out I tried a lip plumping lipstick. It didn’t work and I never tried again. My Novacaine shots made them feel humongous yesterday but they were the same size to look at. They always tell you to concentrate on either the lips or the eyes so you are doing the right thing. Aging isn’t for sissies. I say that every time I try something guaranteed (GUARANTEED!) to make me look younger but it doesn’t. I bet you have nice knees….

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  15. I’m always prepared to laugh when I begin reading one of your posts. Today I lost it at, “The brain isn’t that far from the teeth but it has no spit.” I never thought to ask my dad why he became a dentist. His father was a dentist, too. I suspect it was a profession you could get your teeth into.

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  16. I hear ya… I have my appointment on friday the 13th…. bring on a big bottle of novocaine ;o)
    btw: I once screamed like a banshee and the second dentist came in to see who is dead… she said oh man give her a shot before we lose all clients… the torturer grinned and said the screaming was for the shot duh! why it isn’t possible to get a general miss anastasia before the shot?

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  17. I once had a dentist put his initials in my filling! He thought he was an artist signing his creation! I think Dentists might be born again satanists! And really why would one become that kind of doctor??? Hope you are feeling better.

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  18. Two hours!? Oh my! I can’t think of many things worse than that.

    If you’re worried about being a Kardashian, it’s no use just checking your lips and boobs – you also need to check your bum for implants!

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  19. Oh this is funny Kate. I love your second paragraph and naming fish!!
    I shouldn’t laugh though as I hate going to the dentist. I bit one, but it was a reflex, honest!
    When I was a kid, we had the dreaded rubber mask for extractions, and I always seemed to dream about rabbits. The profession has come along in leaps and bounds and now I have an anaesthetic cotton pad applied before the needle. It’s on my notes to be generous with the stuff to make it ‘take’. I am such a wimp.
    We have appointments in May, and I think I’m going to need more than the basic descale and polish this time Rats!!!!

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