The Crowning

As I begin this post, I am drinking steamy, milky, sugar-sweetened coffee through a straw.

In a travel cup. At home.crown

I spent two hours at the dentist this morning and the numbness has not worn off. The mirror reflects a slight uneveness in the closing of lips, while the physical mouth feels it is blown up like a beach ball. An unfeeling beach ball.

Two months ago, a piece of tooth detached itself and added a crunch to the chewing gum in my mouth. I verbalized the word “crap” silently in my head (since it happened at work) and quickly realized that the 2013 tax refund would be paying for the misbehaving remnant of tooth, a/k/a a crown. Another silent “crap” formed. There goes the start of the 2014 camping fund.

Small talk with the dentist and dental assistant began the appointment. “Boy, it’s cold outside.” “Yes, I know, I’m wearing my usual three layers of clothes.” “I see you have your Packer sweatshirt on…watching the Super Bowl?” “Yes, I am.” Blah, blah, blah. The usual warm-up before the torture. The dentist matches the correct shade of my tooth.

Then the dental assistant asks, “What flavor do you want? We have cherry, strawberry, raspberry, mint, grape.” I asked what she was talking about, wondering if they were handing out candy before the appointment, so that I would be happy and behave during drill-fest. The assistant answers and I learn that it’s the numb before the numb. The numb that numbs your gums so that the dentist can give a painful numbing shot. “This will take the sting away!” decrees the dentist. “Oh good!” I squeal, secretly knowing there will still be pain involved. I picked cherry, only because chocolate flavor was not a choice.

A few numbing minutes later…

One shot. Two shots. Three shots. I thought the third shot was a bit excessive and meant more for an elephant than diminutive me. Was that necessary? The entire right side of my jaw and face were numb before the third shot entered. Is that called throwing salt on the wound? It’s bad enough that it takes the dentist forever to give each shot, slow torture watching him push down on the syringe…one thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three….

Enough already.

On to the drilling. Yee-haw!

What I noticed during the drilling session…

  • A Marquette University dental school certificate on the wall. Marquette is a good school, I’m somewhat impressed.
  • A bright light glows above. If I were a fly, I might have been attracted.
  • The air duct grate looms on the other wall, out of which very little heat escaped.
  • The constant spray of water spewing from the drill and my mouth.
  • The dental assistant telling me to “suck it” and then telling me to make it quick.
  • The elephant numbing shots were working. I only felt trauma once, which was a dull feeling of what would have been extreme pain had I not had the elephant numbing shots.
  • American Woman playing on the radio.
  • The chatter of the other patients and dental assistants in the office, who are in small talk mode.
  • A statue of a dentist was sitting on a shelf. I wonder why?
  • The constant thoughts of “Are we done yet? Are we done yet? Are we done yet?”

And we’re done. I now have a spike instead of a tooth and the numbness has spread to the side of the nose.

The dentist proceeds with the finishing touches…getting the temporary tooth ready; filling the space where the tooth once was with blue gunk so someone can make a pretty tooth that looks like the original; temporarily gluing said temporary tooth in place; telling me not to chew gum, eat licorice and any tacky or gummy food for the next two weeks.

No gummy food? No gummy bears?

Nope.

“Crap.”

The dental assistant leads me out to the front and I make a quick beeline to the ladies’ room. I had coffee before the appointment. Next appointment is in two weeks, when I get the real fake tooth and pay the bill with my 2014 camping fund. I suppose it’s worth it if I can safely chew on a bratwurst this summer. Or a gummy bear in two weeks.

It is mid afternoon as I finish this post and I believe I can feel all of my face. My jaw hurts a bit, as I suspected it would from the elephant shots and drilling, but I should be able to drink liquids without a straw or sippy cup at my next meal.

I will feel much better after a visit to the massage therapist and to Natasha’s place for a glass of wine, don’t you think?

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15 responses to The Crowning

  1. M. R. says:

    We certainly hope so, M-J! Amazed that your dentist does the colour matching: here one goes to a separate … business (can’t possibly remember the word for this bloke). The last time I had that much anaesthetic pumped into my inner face, when it started to wear off I went mad with the pain and ended up in the emergency ward. While reading your wonderful tale (yes, it is!) I was afeared that was ahead … :-\

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Thankfully, a cup of ginger tea and three Tylenol have made my jaw feel better. I remember it being worse when I had a root canal and had my mouth propped open for two hours. My jaw hurt for two days.

  2. The Regular Guy NYC says:

    Yes, wine and a massage, ASAP!

    This reminds me that I need to go to the dentist for a checkup and cleaning. I just know they will find something to drill for! Maybe I’ll just go to the bar instead.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      I think the bar is the better bet. The dentist tells me that the tooth next to this one also needs a crown. Well, OK, maybe next year. Maybe not.

  3. Have at least two glasses of wine. Crowns deserve it. Ick. MTM just got one, and I had my first one a couple of years ago. Ick again.

  4. You are a trooper. I would have asked for a fourth and a fifth. I hate dentists (and my loving brother is one). From past experience, don’t eat anything crunchy either. My temp lasted two days. Then another, and so on until the crown was ready. I happen to like tortilla chips. Best of luck, and keep the wine flowing!

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Ha! I’m not a lover of the dentist either, but it had to be done. Not to worry, sangria and orange is in the fridge!

  5. You are very brave. Going to the dentist is always eventful. Years ago before dentists came around, they use to pull out your teeth in the market square with savage grips and while you were screaming your head off, a drummer beat his drum to drown out your screams

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Wow, I’m glad I live in modern times. If I ever hear drumming at the dentist’s office, I will know to run!

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