It was the summer of 1983. The summer between my Junior and Senior years in high school. And I was about to feel pain like I had never felt before and hope to never feel again. A pain so great, that I have no idea what the second worst pain I've ever had would be. It's not even on the charts. I'm not saying it compared what Cowguy did, but let me put it this way: after giving birth, a lot of women do it a second time. Oh H-E-L-L N-O!
The front molar, lower left had always been a problem. We grew up on non-fluoridated well water, so our teeth were naturally a little soft. And that tooth was shot, and needed a root canal and a crown. The appointment was set for Saturday, since the dentist was going to do the root canal and fit me for a temp crown in one shot.
Not so much.
He used the phase, "hot nerve" to describe the phenomenon. Basically, it wouldn't freeze. If you are squeamish, too bad, you didn't have to sit through this like I did, so suck it up. For about 2 hours, he would squirt a little novacaine DIRECTLY ON THE NERVE wait a few minutes, and then would take this sharp, needle like probe, poke it into the RAW EXPOSED NERVE ENDING and ask, "Is it numb yet?" I didn't have to answer as over and over and over again, squirt, wait, poke, "Is it numb yet?" Squirt, wait, poke, "Is it numb yet?"
Each time I desperately tried to avoid flinching too much (sharp needle device near exposed nerve and all) as the acid fire of pain shot through my body. My toes curled in my shoes. I had a death grip on the dental chair. Squirt, wait, poke, "Is it numb yet?" I sweat thru my clothes. A good time was NOT had by all. Squirt, wait, poke, "Is it numb yet?"
14 vials of novacaine later, I was numb thru to my chest, but not where it mattered. Finally, he couldn't do it to me anymore, and he packed the tooth with some goo and a temp filling and had me come back in a week. I slept fitfully that night, awakened screaming with charley horses seizing my legs a few times.
A week later, it was like going back to the electric chair after they'd done a practice execution on you and just shocked the fuck out of you over and over and over and over again the first time. Doc numbed me up, drilled out the temp filling, and popped the nerve out easy as pie. I demanded to see the nerve, under the "I Spit On Your Grave" theory.
Whew! The rest should be smooth sailing.
So, after he drives and cements these stainless steel wire anchor rods into me jaw, they need to seal them off and add some shock absorption. So he placed a wad of rubber in my tooth, and then struck a MATCH, blew it out, and touched the smoldering end to the little rubber ball. If you've never been privileged enough to have the taste and smell sensation of a smoldering match and VULCANIZING RUBBER IN YOUR MOUTH, you are missing out on one of the most truly vile flavor/scents combos of all time.
My current dentist wants to replace that crown with a porcelain one. I told him touch it and die. That's my badge of honor.