April 08, 2009

Make Sure You Know Your Mouth

I've had a cavity that I let fester because I haven't had dental insurance. I had already went beyond "pain." It had hurt for so long that I guess I just ignored the pain. Until part of my tooth broke off last week. Yeah. When I went to the dentist, hoping he could wave his magic mouth tools and fix it, he shook his head and told me that I'd either need a root canal or pull the tooth because the nerve was exposed. Without dental insurance, guess which choice I went with. Yep. Extraction. So that meant a referral to an oral surgeon.

You know, the worst part about having a tooth pulled is not the actual pulling (which last about 30 minutes, by the way). It's the sitting in the waiting room reading the 3-page stapled handout they give you. You know, the one that lists a full page of things that could "possibly" go wrong with your oral surgery (paralysis on one side of the face, brain injury, DEATH). I mean, by the time I finished reading that litany of intimidating "possibilities" I was scared out of my mind.

Thank God Crystal, my sister, went with me. She must have sensed my anxiety because she started texting me goofy stuff...from three chairs down. :) She texted me a silly joke: What does the rabbit say when he mimics a frog? Rabbit! :) I broke out in laughter and I'm pretty sure the people sitting across from us thought we'd lost our minds.

After waiting for an hour, they finally called me to the back and introduced me to the chair. By this time, I'd worked myself up into such a frenzy that I had horrible heartburn and felt like it was going to turn into a vomit session at any second. Then they made me sign my name and date the bottom of the "possible side effects" document, which totally made me feel like I was signing my own death sentence.

What really freaked me out, though, was when the assistant came in, squirted the numbing agent on her q-tip-thingy, smiled at me, stuck it in the wrong side of my mouth, and said, "He'll be in in a minute to give you a shot to numb you."

I pushed that stick out of my mouth with my tongue, pointed to my left cheek and said, "On this side?!" My broke tooth was on the RIGHT side!!! I must have startled her because she grabbed the x-ray and referral sheet and said, "Let me go call your dentist and double-check." Uh, yeah, that's right, sweetie. You go call, but I know what side of my mouth my bad tooth is on!

I felt very much like Shaggy at that moment: ZOIKS!

About 45 minutes later, after two shots (and I could swear they gassed me just a tad!) and some soothing from the surgeon, I was down one tooth. Best part of it all was that my sister was with me and kept both my kids in the waiting room with her. They were very interested in what was going on with my tooth, but I'm glad they didn't see that their Moma is just as big a chicken as they are when in the dentist's chair!

Moral of this story: If you need to have a tooth pulled, you'd better be sure you know which one it is, else you might leave the chair without a tooth that didn't need to be pulled! :)