I have a bit of a ‘thing’ about teeth.
You know how some people have that anxiety dream about being naked in a crowd, or missing an exam? Mine is about my teeth falling out.
So, I was a bit anxious about the idea of voluntarily allowing someone to take out one of my wisdom teeth. What if it hurt a lot? What if they took the wrong one? What if they pulled out one tooth, and it turned out that tooth was what was holding in the others and they ALL fell out?
Needless to say, I was a wreck when I walked into the minor ops theatre this morning.
First, I got to sign the disclaimer to say I understood my face might be numb permanently, although the dentist reassured me that, “In your case, it’s more likely to be a few days, as we’re operating very close to the nerve.” Oh, that’s nice.
Disclaimer signed, the nurse helped me into the chair, just in the right position, weird sunglasses on, bib on, everyone ready and poised, and… “Actually, would you mind if I just popped to the bathroom?”
Back to the chair two minutes later, everyone poised and ready and he starts the injection to numb my jaw. “Now, Sally, you’ll just feel a sharp scratch..”
Ouch. Okay that was pretty painful but now it’s numb so everything will be fine.
Someone advised me to go to my happy place but actually, in a dentist’s chair, I recite the times tables. I get as far as three sixes and realise I’m already going wrong. I can’t remember the 6 times table. And I’m starting to hyperventilate. Oh God. I’m going to be one of those patients they all laugh about during their coffee break. I’m thinking if you just get up and run away they won’t chase you. It’s the NHS. They probably don’t have the resources. Then:
“Is it numb when I press here?”
I nod mutely.
Another injection, this time in the bottom of my mouth. Those injections really hurt, I’ve got to tell you.
“Okay, is your lip numb now?”
“It’s tingling a bit. I don’t think it’s numb.”
The nurses and the dentist look at each other. And then the dentist says “Uh, I don’t know. Let’s see, shall we?”
Excuse me, but LET’S SEE??? I DON'T KNOW?? I start to hyperventilate. I thought these guys were professionals!
I think I’m going to pass out. Uh oh. They're looking at me like I'm completely insane. I remember I'm a professional. A parent. I can do this.
I get my breathing back under control.
“No need to apologise,” says the nurse, patting my hand, clearly thinking, “What a freak.”
The dentist starts prodding in my mouth again. There’s a cracking sound I don’t want to think about too much and then “OOWWWW!”
He pauses. Continues.
“REARRY! OW!! “
Instinct takes over and I bite the dentist. Yes, I’m a grown woman and I bit my dentist. I blame evolution.
The dentist takes it pretty well, considering. “Did that hurt?” he asks me.
No, I bite people for fun.
I nod to convey that yes, it really did hurt. The dentist stops. Removes his hands.
“Was it a sharp pain or a pressure pain?”
“Um, quite sharp I think?”
The dentist raises his eyebrows. “No,” he says in his best reassuring voice. “See, this is a sharp pain,” he says, stabbing his tiny medieval dental dagger thing into my (not at all numb) right jaw. “And this is pressure,” he says, jabbing it into my (also not numb as it turns out) left jaw.
Okay, clearly he took that biting thing more personally than he let on.
“Do they feel the same?” the dentist asks me, repeating the experiment.
“Why would you DO that?” I squeak at him.
“Oh.” He makes a sad face. “They feel the same?”
I nod, and mutter, “You are a bad, bad man.”
He gives me another injection.
Finally, after some more rummaging around, he asks someone to pass him a ‘molar forcep’, there’s another crack and it’s done.
“Is there anyone to drive you home?” asks the nurse.
I shake my head.
“Anyone at home?” she asks.
I shake my head.
“Ah, well, not to worry, all done, just call us if it doesn’t stop bleeding.”
I’m never going to the dentist again.