I remember it like it was yesterday, as one often does having experienced an insane amount of trauma.
I was sitting in a french-ish restaurant with my Slam Piece–or SP–(some would call him a “boyfriend” but I’m nearing 30 and he’s over the hill, so that seems like a rather juvenile title to give him. Because Slam Piece isn’t juvenile at all).
Brunch was on the menu and I was excited to eat my bacon and cheese croissant sandwich.
While waiting, I attempted to bite into a small section of the miniature french baguette they give everyone when you sit down. FREE BREAD is my favorite kind of bread.
A pain the likes of which I have never felt before shot through my gum, sliced through my brain, and gave me temporary blindness.
I’m not kidding or exaggerating, I was in tears seconds later and SP was looking at me like I had somehow, and very suddenly, lost my mind. The minute before I had been chatting happily with him, and the next minute, rivers of tears were pouring down my face like the Hoover Dam had gone and busted straight open.
Scared that the nice waiter who asked me if everything was alright would think that SP was an abusive spouse, I quickly told him that I had immense tooth pain and that I would be needing a box for my breakfast.
It was then that I panicked because not only did I not have a regular dentist/dental insurance/ or much of a chance of seeing one on a Saturday, I also have a very deep seated phobia of any and all dental work.
I can’t even get a simple cleaning without losing my shit, so you can imagine my distress at thinking that my wisdom teeth (that had been sneakily growing in for years) were the possible culprits in this situation.
OH, and I was unemployed at the time on top of having no insurance so DOUBLE WHAMMY.
SP knew that I wasn’t in my right mind when I suggested that I would just ignore it. He knew about all of the concerns swirling around in my pain addled brain without me having even given voice to them. Not only did he make my appointment for me at his dentist (who was open on Saturdays, luckily), but he also made the very generous offer to pay for it for me. He offered with such sincerity that my ice cold heart grew three sizes that day, a lá The Grinch.
Being stubborn and self-sufficient, I would never allow him to do it. I had some savings that could take care of it, and so I agreed to burn through some of that in order to get my mouth under control.
I saw SP’s dentist who informed me that she thought my wisdom teeth needed to come out but couldn’t schedule me for that day. So I set my sights to the internet for a dentist that could help me immediately. I had tried to nap right after the appointment, but the pain was so acute, so shooting, so stinging and fierce that I literally darted up in bed every time I moved my mouth.
I finally found a dentist that was able to help and set up an appointment for the coming Monday when they would wrench out my teeth.
I got to the office and the dentist, who resembled someone’s sweetest grandpa, gave me some free X-rays and informed me that it wasn’t my wisdom teeth causing such pain. It was molar on the right side of my mouth that had a fracture in it and had become infected.
No tooth extraction needed, but a root canal was inevitable.
A root canal.
One of the most painful dental procedures that a person can get. One that would require the actual surgery, a temporary crown fitting, and finally a permanent crown application. A procedure that would take two different appointments on two separate days.
I had no choice, though, it was take care of it or have my mouth continuously infected.
So I bit the bullet.
And trust me, it felt like biting a bullet and then having it explode in my gum line.
The dentist wasn’t going to do the procedure, a specialist was. I can’t remember his name because I can remember very little other than an immense amount of pain from that day.
He walked into the little cubicle I was sitting in and I immediately started crying. Not just crying–blubbering. I could hardly catch my breath and I couldn’t see him through the wells of tears in my eyes. He patted my shoulder gently and said soothing words that I thought one would use with a dog being put to permanent rest on the vet’s table.
Which made me freak out even more.
I explained through gasps and hiccups that I had an extreme phobia of the dentist and hadn’t been in years, since I was old enough to vehemently refuse to set foot in an office.
He said that he was going to talk me through the entire procedure, make sure that I was good and numb, and would be constantly listening out for me to tell him if I was feeling any pain.
I won’t be sharing every sordid detail of what went on for the next 40 minutes. Doing so would ensure a flare up of PTSD. There were more tears, there was more pain–unimaginable pain (thanks for not working novocaine!)–sniffling, snot, and a sweet dental assistant that petted my head, wiped my tears, and assisted the dentist simultaneously. MAD SKILLS.
I wandered over to get my temporary crown and almost passed out when I saw flecks of my blood on THAT dentist’s face visor.
There was more pain.
And another great hygienist pulling me back from The Light.
A few months out and I’m still terrified to return to get the cavities that I have filled. I know with each passing moment, those hole-y teeth only get worse.
On a related note–does anyone know a good brand of denture glue? Because I’m considering pulling all of these out and just getting the fake ones. SP will think that’s real sexy.