Dawn Reader

Dawn Reader
from Open Door Coffee Co.; Hudson, OH; Oct. 26, 2016

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Dental Adventure

I've had about everything done to me teeth: cleanings, fillings, extractions, partial crowns, crowns--even one implant. I had the first of my wisdom teeth pulled in about 1967 (sans dental insurance--that was fun), but I still have the two lower ones (thus, my enduring wisdom?). But, as my dentist has told me a few times during recent visits, they're starting--like the rest of me--to decline.

During my most recent visit (the semi-annual routine one), the technician told me the lower left wisdom tooth had a cavity ... time to do something. The dentist arrived for the post-cleaning inspection and agreed. She said we could pull or fill it. I suggested a filling would be nice.

I was wrong.

Yesterday (Thursday), I went in for the procedure I've experienced throughout my life. It used to take a long time--in the days before the high-speed drills. I remember Dr. House, one of my first dentists, who used one of those old-fashioned drills (see photo for what a dentist's office looked like in my boyhood). He would start with a small bit, then stop and change to a larger one--several times--until he had one that would drill the sort of cave he needed for the filling. Oh, and the needle he used for the Novocaine was as large as a bicycle pump.

It's much quicker nowadays. The addition of technicians speeds things up--as do, of course, the modern drills. And fillings that set up much more quickly.

My problems Thursday began with the Novocaine: I just couldn't get numb. She started drilling after the first shot, and she hit a nerve; a microsecond later I hit the ceiling. (Dental pain is the purest pain, isn't it?) She gave me another shot of something else. No real numbness. A third shot did the job. I had that shot about 2:15 in the afternoon, and it was 10:15 that night before the effects of all of it had finally worn off--mostly..

Okay, after that, the filling process went along all right. Then I got to place in the procedure when I had to bite and scrape on a bit of material they put in my mouth--all so they could make sure the filling wasn't interfering with the alignment of my other teeth. Problem: I couldn't feel a thing. So the first time I bit down, the technician, said (cried?): Oh, you've bitten your tongue!

Nah, I thought. Couldn't have--didn't feel a thing.

But when I rinsed? Well, let's just say that the water looked as if I'd had a hungry piranha in my mouth.

They slowed the bleeding before I left, and by the time I got home, my "rinsing" was clear.

And then the drugs began to wear off. By suppertime (we usually eat around 5) I was a hurtin' cowboy. Moving my tongue in any way made me think that death would really be kind of nice. It took me two hours to eat my little supper (a sliced apple, a little bowl of rice and tiny pieces of barbecued chicken, a piece of sourdough bread--yes, homemade!). When I finished, I felt the the same swell of pride I did twenty years ago when I hiked to the summit of the Chilkoot Pass.

Making it all even worse--Joyce was not feeling well, either. So we sat there, slumped on the couch (she ate no supper), moaning and sighing the way my great-grandfather used to. I somehow did the dishes; then we dragged ourselves upstairs to bed, the sun still shining and chiding us for being so wussy.

This morning--Joyce was well enough to go teach at Hiram, and my tongue (generally unused for eight or nine hours) was much better. It took me only about twice as long as normal to eat my (homemade!) maple-pecan scone.


  1. Ouch. I can totally feel your pain. Of course, getting a filling is not usually that painful that’s why I'm wondering what might have went wrong during the procedure. I do hope that as the open wound heals, the pain would go away as well. Get better soon! :)

    Javier Portocarrero @ Alluring Smiles

  2. Your dental adventure is quite awful. I can just imagine the pain you felt that time. Tooth problems really occur even if we say that we are doing everything to take care of our oral health. That's where going to the dentist regularly comes in. Anyway, I hope that you aren't experiencing anymore problems with your teeth. Thanks for sharing that, Daniel! All the best to you!

    Freddie Gray @ Ballantyne Dentistry