Wednesday, February 11, 2009

dental dams

You may wonder why I am posting so much about dentists recently. Lucky soul that I am, I have had the fortune of seeing my dentist twice this week.

Before I go into the "meat" of this post, I need to make one quick comment. Dental dams should be used for one thing and one thing only. Can I get a "holla" from my lesbian reader?

My appointment this morning was at nine am. I had to drop off the boy at day care and make it to another town in time for this appointment which means I arrived sleep deprived. I sit in the chair and get tipped backwards until my body is almost vertical in the chair with my feet aiming at the sky. The blood is rushing to my brain and I am motion sick (Yes, I get motion sick in dentist chairs). The helper person comes in and puts a q-tip in my mouth with foul tasting junk to numb the spot where I will get a needle. This stuff tastes crappy and the needles still hurt so I don't fully understand it's purpose, but I go with it. Then the dentist comes in, shoves a needle multiple times into the inside of my face and leaves for half an hour. Do they "forget" to put you upright in the chair while they are waiting for the freezing to take effect or is it a dental strategy to leave you upside down?

After the blood has pooled in my brain the dentist returns, asks me to open my mouth and then says "Please move your tongue to the left". O.K. Seriously? I have a hard enough time distinguishing right from left when I am UPRIGHT and there has been no blood pooling in my brain and my body isn't frozen from nipple to hairline. How can one reasonably expect me to move my tongue AT ALL, let alone figure out which way is left? ( It might help if he said move the tongue to starboard!) I try to move my tongue and he puts into my mouth what I refer to as the door stopper. It is a piece of recycled semi tractor tire wedged into the back of your teeth so you can't shut your mouth while he is working, and he says "REST your teeth on this!" REST. My idea of the word REST involves some kind of relaxation. It's hard to REST anything when it is forced open beyond what nature intended.

I have been thinking about this a little more because I am somewhat glad that he gives me a piece of tire to "REST" on. Upside down and frozen makes it very difficult for me to perform simple tasks, like knowing if I am opening wide or clamping down hard. Sometimes if I am thinking about it too hard I end up doing the wrong thing - like clamping - even though I am THINKING "open, open, open". Another simple task I have difficulty with is breathing. I try to breathe through my nose because often the dental dam is restricting airflow or little bone chips are flinging into my throat and I choke. I also gag too easily if I am not concentrating on breathing through my nose. Unfortunately I have to CONCENTRATE on this because apparently the part of my brain responsible for breathing is frozen and/or flooded with blood.

To make this entire concentration process easier I keep my eyes shut through the entire dental experience. I can focus more easily on "open, open, open" and breathing through my nose if I am not looking at the reflection of the interior of my mouth in the dentists glasses or watching pliers and needles and drills being passed across my line of vision. To give a small example of what happens when this delicate balance of eyes closed, breathing, and opening my mouth is disrupted, let me explain what happened this morning.

I had my eyes closed and the dentist spoke to me. I was shocked, because normally he doesn't speak to me at all and my eyes popped open at the sound of his voice. I didn't completely register what he said as my eyes popped open, but as I opened my eyes I saw a PLUME OF SMOKE coming from my mouth. The shock of the plume of smoke made me forget to breathe through my nose and I took a deep breath through my mouth and inhaled a gob of smoke. When I inhaled the gob of smoke I started to choke and clamped down on the recycled tire and tried to sit up. As I tried to sit up the dentist pulled his hand back and removed from my mouth - A SOLDERING IRON. It was then I realized what he said. "I'm just going to cook some CRACK in your mouth, please don't open your eyes or breathe in".


Anonymous said...

This made me shudder, I hate the dentist. I hate going, I hate having things in my mouth, I hate the smell, the sound, all of it. I went for the first time in 5 years (no cavaties haha!) a few months ago.

JCB said...

I WISH I were that lucky, but I have my ancestors to thank for my inheritance of LOUSY LOUSY teeth. I got a cavity from brushing my teeth too hard for crying out loud.