After an 8 year hiatus I finally broke down and went to the dentist. More specifically, tooth #30 – the one directly in front of the right back molar – cracked, thereby forcing me to go to the dentist. I didn’t want to go, but two days of a splitting headache (which started to develop into an earache) convinced me otherwise. So on Friday last I called the dentist and made an appointment. I got the first available for today: 7:45.
Boy has the dentist changed since I last went. The last time I visited a dentist, there was that hospital-antiseptic smell everywhere, the chairs were designed for maximum irritability, and the staff was preoccupied with their own chatter. The dentist I visited today was the polar opposite. The office smelled nice, the chairs had a massage feature, the staff seemed genuinely interested in me as a person and a patient (it also helped that the hygienist went to school with my wife), and cable TV was provided in every room – with the patient in charge of the station.
The x-ray wasn’t what I expected either. The last time I had x-rays done there was a huge film holder that I had to pinch between my teeth. The protective vest felt like it weighed 20 pounds, and there was an special “x-ray room” that often had a line in it. Today, all I had to do was hold a wand – much like a toothbrush – with the film attached. There was an unobtrusive x-ray machine in every room. The vest was the size of those protective napkins they give you. It was actually bearable.
I also appreciated the fact that the office let me know what my expense would be before the dentist began work on me. Since the offensive tooth was being extracted, it was good to know what to expect before the meds kicked in.
Then the dentist started shooting me up with novocaine. A lot of novocaine.
Finally I couldn’t feel anything, so he began to remove my tooth. After some work, he told me he would have to split my tooth. It turned out that my tooth needed to be split into four parts to get it out.
With much pulling and prodding all the pieces finally came out. And then it was over. I scheduled a checkup visit two weeks from now.