are you numb yet?

As if Mondays aren’t bad enough, I had the pleasure of ending mine with a visit to the dentist where I proceeded to be tortured with six – yes, SIX shots in my mouth. Seriously, they do know that torture is illegal, right?

It’s really no wonder why I hate going to the dentist more each year. Except, that was kind of part of the problem. Yes, it is here that I must shamefully admit that until last week, I had not been in for a cleaning since about June 2010. But not without reason! It was also then that I had the lovely experience of oral surgery on both sides of my mouth to fix receding gums. And then it was that August that I had the infamous – at least in my mind – “jaw episode” and believe me, for quite a while after that the thought of even stepping foot in the dentist’s office for a cleaning was just not going to happen. So yes, it was more than a year before I finally decided that I was going to have to suck it up and make a cleaning appt.

I go in last week and find several new people there, including a super nice new hygenist. Very positive change from the chick who would practically yell at me for not being able to open my mouth wide enough….and imagine, that was pre-“jaw episode!” I get the usual X-rays (which always make me gag when they do the ones in the back – fun item #1) and she starts doing a check of my teeth. Then, she announces that she has bad news: She can’t actually do a cleaning that day because I’m going to need a “root cleaning.”

Well, now, excuse me, but what the H-E-Double Toothpicks is a root cleaning?

“Oh, well, it’s just a really deep cleaning where I can get down inside the gum line…and we’re going to need to get you numb in order to do that.” Me: Oh, I see. Well, that sounds awesome. “And, especially because of your jaw, we’re going to need to do it in two separate appointments.” (fun item #2)

You see, this is my other issue with going to the dentist. No offense, but I kind of have a full plate these days with that whole working mom of two/house hunter/loving wife thing going on. So, I really don’t appreciate it when I attempt to cross a medical appointment off the list and it simply results in 10 more. Honestly, that’s just not what I had in mind. Yet, this is what seems to happen…every. single. time.

After making my appointment for a few days later (today), I go to check out where I’m invited to step into the private consultation area. This is where I am reminded how much dental insurance sucks when I’m informed that this “root cleaning” that I get to come in twice for is also going to cost me $450 out-of-pocket. (fun item #3)

Which leads me to this afternoon where I show up for my “root cleaning.” First of all, it bugs me how nice they always try to be at the front desk. As if you are waiting to be called back for your facial and a massage instead of a “root cleaning.” “So how are you on this beautiful afternoon?” (It did happen to be gorgeous outside. Probably the last time we’ll see the sun until July 2012.) Me in my head: Well, I’m here about to have a root cleaning when it’s gorgeous outside and I had to leave work early with a ton still to do, so how do you think I am?? Then I’m asked to fill out a new medical history form – which annoys me to no end that I have to fill one of those things out every single time I walk into a medical office (fun item #4). You see, there’s this beautiful invention called a computer…can save a bunch of files…you should try it sometime!

While I’m busy being bitter and thinking how much I hate the dentist, that nice, new hygenist comes out to get me so I’m forced to smile. I plop down, kick back, get my fake Armanis on and I’m ready to go…but of course not at all looking forward to the two shots I know she’s going to give me to numb the right side of my mouth. We get started and by the time she sticks the first needle in I’m already white-knuckling it in a way that makes my experiences with episodes of bad air turbulence look like one of my favorite activities. It only makes me feel better when later she says that I really am doing well. Apparently some people actually cry.

We take a break and she informs me that she’s going in for a second time. It was during the third shot that she assures me that the lower half will be much better – it only takes one shot. I’m thinking, “Oh great, so I have one more after this?” (fun item #5) Luckily she’s very understanding and rubbing my jaw in-between and calling me things like “sweetie” which actually works to comfort me. I really do like this woman.

After the fourth shot, she gets started on the upper half and I breathe a sigh of relief because I can’t feel a thing and I realize the worst is behind me…until my second appointment, at least. She finishes up the top and is ready to tackle the lower right side. “How are you feeling? Are you numb yet?” She pokes me with one of those awful curvy sticks. “Can you feel that?” “Why yes, I can, as a matter of fact.” She decides that I’m going to need another shot. Ugh. We wait and then go through the same poking routine. “Are you numb yet? Can you feel that?” Why yes, I can, as a matter of fact. This is when she comments that I have amazingly tight jaw muscles and it’s very difficult to get the needle to the nerve area. Seriously, at this point if I had a dime for every time I heard that about my jaw, neck, shoulders, back, etc. etc….well, I’d have a lot more time to go to all these doctor and dentist appointments. Along with weekly visits to a massage therapist.

So, in she goes again for shot number six. (fun item #6) Suddenly I’m not liking this woman as much as I was. Yet still, I was feeling it when she started doing her thing. Grrr. Finally, she resorts to dumping about a gallon of some topical solution into my mouth and I’ve got a huge fat lip before I know it. Meanwhile I’m wondering why we couldn’t have just started with that in the first place?? Finally, my hour+ of torture has concluded and I’m informed that I’m free to go until next week. Right after I pay my bill, of course. (fun item #7)

By the time I walked out of the office I realized I was surprisingly uncomfortable and sore. Some Advil and a bit of wine improved that, but eating dinner was a bit of challenge as my opening range is quite limited. Again, kind of unexpected. I’m so glad I did this at the end of the work day versus the morning appointment I almost took. As I write now I can tell that I’m ready for another round of Advil, big time. I’m sure I’ll be good as new soon, but man, talk about a Monday!

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One thought on “are you numb yet?

  1. Melinda-UGH. Thanks for making such a rotten situation just a litle bit humorous…I will wish you stress-free dental appointments for at least the next year!

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