Wednesday, November 07, 2007


I went to the dentist today and I can't say it was an entirely good experience. I made an emergency appointment yesterday because one of my teeth were hurting and I appreciate that they got me in so quickly. I ended up enduring a variety of medieval torture methods marauding as dentistry for the hour and a half I spent in the chair.

Actually I was in two different chairs--the first was for my x-ray. Why technology can't catch up with this procedure is beyond me. The assistant throws the 500 pound lead apron over my chest that knocks the wind out of me. Then she jams the hard rectangle of x-ray film into my mouth and tells me to bite. I can't bite down because the cardboard is wedged between the roof of my mouth and under my tongue. She repeats for me to bite down a few times as she pulls it out and jams it back in. I try to say "I can't bite down because it's wedged under my toungue and causing a great deal of pain" but all that comes out is "aaarrhhghssc khaaaankd ddnnn." After a few more minutes of her repeating the prompts to bite down, she tells me not to move and runs out of the room. I've always felt that it can't be a good sign if technicians are running away while you're getting an x-ray.

Is anyone working on a safer and less torturous way of getting pictures of our insides??

After the x-ray nightmare I'm escorted into the examination area. I reclined in the chair and wait for the dentist and assistant come back and tell me what's causing the pain. I spent about 40 minutes alternately looking out the window and looking around the room. I thought about taking a nap but I was too jacked up on coffee to sleep. I noticed that several things in the room had a clear plastic bag covering it--the light fixture on the super sun mouth light, the movable tray housing different looking instruments, a small pressurized water tank and a few other things I couldn't really identify. I also noticed a couple of strange looking instruments that weren't covered. Upon closer inspection, I noticed splatters on the splash guards.

That kind of grossed me out. I started thinking about the shared arm rests on the chair and other shared surfaces and became even more grossed out. I suspected that they didn't sanitize too much stuff, I mean how can they possibly clean things between patients? I can't really see in the examination areas too well but I'm pretty sure I didn't see someone go in there and quickly wipe everything down. I know when they work on my mouth there's a fine mist of spray from the use of water tools. That tiny napkin fastened around your neck with roach clips is hardly sufficient and I often have to wipe dental runoff from my neck after I'm proclined (the opposite of recline??)

So after poking, prodding, scraping and drilling (without novacane), the determine that my #30 tooth is cracked and needs to have the filling repacked, needs a crown and possible root canal. I asked about pain killers and my dentist told me to take ibuprofen. I made my next appointments on the way out and can't wait for the next dental adventure. This dentist's visit left me feeling as if I've been chewing on tin foil all day, now in addition to the jaw pain. The chew on tinfoil feeling is one of the worst. It's tied with scratching nails on a chalkboard, or scraping plastic on styrofoam.

I didn't even get a free toothbrush this time! I'll have to be sure to grab two next time. I love doctor's office swag.

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