2009-03-20

Root (Canal) Of All EVIL

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.

Well...

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.

21 comments:

Cora said...

That Dentist reminds me of a Mad Scientist!! (shudder.)

sas said...

That was really hard to read. A friend of mine was working in Chennai in India and he needed to have his wisdom tooth out. He woke up halfway through the proceedure to find the dentist sitting on his chest and trying to wrench out the tooth with some kind of medievil instrument of torture. And then he passed out.

Scope said...

Cora - He was really a nice guy, and not all that old, so not "old-school", but this was the early 80's and rural. He didn't have gas to knock you out with, all that hadn't made it down to my area where no one had ever heard of "dental insurance" before.

Sas - Welcome! I did try and aim for the squirm factor that most people have with the dentist, but left out (on purpose) the "zzzzZZZZZgrgrgr" of the dentist drill as the DREMEL FROM HELL routers out your tooth.

Thought that might be pushing it.

Candy's daily Dandy said...

Oh shit-and you had to pay the guy for inflicting such pain and suffering????

You are a brave soul, but a smart one. Dental hygine is next to godliness.

Sass said...

Dental stories give me a headache.

I'm deathly terrified of the dentist.

And this story did NOT help. Thanks for that. ;)

Venom said...

My first dentist SMOKED and did not wear gloves, apparently they did not have latex yet when I was 12. Yes, I said 12 - we were poor ruralites without dental insurance too.

Now I have excellent dental insujrance. Before moving I had come to an understanding with my dentist - he understood I am a total wimp and offered gas for EVERY procedure, including cleaning. He also wrote scrits for valium if there was going to be a drill involved. I loved him.

I haven't seen a dentist in the 9 months since I moved - I'm seriously considering flying home for a check-up. Yeah. I am lame.

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

Damn, and here I was hoping that the "hot nerve" just had a nice rack.

SkylersDad said...

Holy Marathon Man!

"Is it safe?"

Cora said...

I dunno, Scope, I'm still getting a Mad Scientist vibe here.

So, you're planning on being a zombie this weekend, hmm? Interesting. Describe for me so I can picture it clearly in my mind what kind of Zombie Scope is. Are you going to be dancing to Thriller in your living room or anything? If so, please post the video. Thanks.

And, wow, look at this!! I actually managed to leave you a comment without saying anything suggestive/sexy/slutty. WOW!! Fuck me!! I'm so fucking proud of myself right now!! I think I'm going to go celebrate my newfound restraint by stripping down to my panties and taking a big hammer and some long, hard nails and hanging a large mirror over my bed while eating a big, hot, drippy meat sandwich which might just kinda dribble down my chin a bit, and then I'm gonna--

Oh. Dammit.

J.J. in L.A. said...

Would it be considered sadistic of me that I laughed the whole time I read this?

J.J. in L.A. said...

Btw, I was going through your archives and saw that I'm one of the anti-Trixies! Woo Hoo! : )

raf said...

You are a very patient guy!
Mind you, I'm really patient as well, but I think that after half an hour of squirting novocaine, I would have grabbed him in the balls area and asked him: Is it numb yet?

The Gnu said...

ugh, i am the only one in my clan who hasn't had anything done to my teeth. frankly, your story freaked me out!

Morgan the Muse said...

You know, right when you were describing you curling your toes, I was doing the same thing. Ugh ugh ugh!

Char said...

It is all I can do (& that's fortified with Prozac) to make myself go to my dental appointments. I have a very small mouth and when they get their hands and tools in there, it feels like my face is stuffed with a full set of luggage.
But, I make myself go, glad to hear that you do, too. Have a good weekend.

Bee and Rose said...

I am in pain reading this!

Fancy Schmancy said...

I don't think I ever need to write one word on why I hate going to the dentist after this post. I am also unaffected by multiple painful shots of novocaine. Novocaine can suck my, well you what...

Scope said...

Writing this, I realized I totally need to schedule a cleaning.

FRAK!

sAm said...

wow...and I bitched about the root canal I got on Tuesday...shit, that was nothing compared to your ordeal!
here from Sass - nice blog!!

Ms. Florida Transplant said...

I'm going to floss & brush extra well tonight in your honor. That doesn't sound fun.

Nej said...

This post made me squirm in my chair....from beginning to end. Ugh!!! :-)