A Royal Affair
Have you ever postponed doing something for fifteen years? I have.
I'm scared of dentists. I have never liked lying prostrate with a wonderful view up their nostrils. That shows how long ago it's been. Nowadays they wear a mask. Plus, so many mistakes and blunders were made in my mouth that in the end I decided to go it alone. No dentists. Just self-care.
The inevitable occurred recently. A tooth broke. To be honest, some of the filling had already fallen out a couple of years ago but I was in the land of denial. Maybe if I took more calcium pills the tooth would get stronger? Maybe if I used mouthwash six times a day that would help?
I think I must have swallowed the part that broke off.
That's a cheery thought:
with red wine and tooth.
My legs weren't really shaking when I sat in the dentist's waiting room. It must have been the chair that was wobbling. I gazed at one magazine, then another, then I looked at everyone else to see if they were scared like me. Nope. They actually smiled. God. Who smiles at the dentist's? Not me. I told myself that I'd had dental work before and had survived, that when the pain gets going, the going gets pain. I was rambling to myself, on the verge of hysteria, ready to bolt out the door. My name was called.
The dental hygienist smiled. Can't stand those people who smile, especially when I'm about to be tortured. I collapsed into the chair.
‘Let me see your broken tooth.' She spoke to me as if I were a child. I wanted to act like one by refusing to open my mouth. But big brave me let her have a look.
‘We'll take an X-ray.'
‘Won't that hurt?'
"Maybe I should get Novocain?"
‘But the dentist is going to scrape and poke.'
‘It will be all right.'
I let her take the X-ray. Almost threw up in the process. But it wasn't painful.
Sir Galahad, the dentist appeared suddenly in front of me as the chair was lowered and I lay prostrate, vulnerable as a chicken about to get its head chopped off.
I was pleasantly surprised not to see up his nostrils for he was wearing a large mask.
‘How are you?'
‘Errrr.' I couldn't answer. I was trembling so much. Every cell in my body was shaking.
‘I've had horrible things happen to my mouth.' There, it was out. I blabbered on, relating to him the long list of dental mishaps that had resulted in my staying away from a dentist for fifteen years.
‘You're in good hands now. May I take a peek at the broken tooth?'
‘You can look, but you can't touch.' I actually said that to him!
‘Hmm. Quite a chunk of tooth has gone. Most of the filling is there, but the tooth‘s basically gone.'
Even I knew that. Duh.
‘We're going to have to put a crown on it.'
A royal tooth?
‘Won't it hurt?'
‘We'll make you as comfortable as possible.'
That doesn't answer the question, buster.
I returned two days later to get the tooth prepared for a crown. Novocain, my favourite friend of daring dental dalliances came to the rescue. I was actually feeling confident as I lay there, staring at the blank ceiling. I tried to ignore the different drills he used, and that horrible sound of raw nerves being punctured. Suddenly there was an excruciating sharp pain. I raised my hand. He asked what was wrong.
What do you think is wrong? It hurts!
He injected more Novocain and continued. One hour later I had a temporary crown placed on top of my once-broken tooth. My royal molar.
I was dying to pee. But I had been lying there so long I could hardly get up. Fortunately the hygienist pressed the button and the chair raised itself. I fled to the bathroom mumbling a plethora of thank you's on the way out.
So no more postponements. I have to go back in a couple of weeks to get the permanent crown. They assure me I won't need Novocain. Says who? I just know the dentist will scrape and poke and prod. He even told me I'll probably need three more crowns on the lower jaw. He was a bit too smug when he said that. It's not that I have a real phobia. Well maybe a teeny tiny one. I'm just plain petrified, undeniably out of my mind and living in a state of denial. Maybe I could double up on those calcium pills? Maybe I could use more mouthwash? After all, that worked for fifteen years. Maybe I can postpone the other crowns - at least until I break another tooth.