Tormented & Tortured For the Greater Good


After eight years of avoiding my dentist, I arrived timidly, reporting my name to an unfamiliar receptionist, thinking, “oh yea, it has been a long, long time.”

I was immediately sent to the first chair where a sweet young thing, too young even to be my daughter proceeds to scrape & poke & prod & scrape & scrape & scrape for the better half of three hours – all the while smiling with her beautiful white teeth & reminding me that it had been 8 years since I had a cleaning, which is why it is taking so long & I keep sinking lower & lower into the sanctity of ‘the chair’, but to no avail. And the words of the Godfather in the voice of William Shatner come to mind “ I tried to get out, but, they keep pulling me back in!”

And in the end, she wins. I have a mouthful of pearly whites, smooth as a mountain of glass & feeling like I had just chewed on the aforementioned item.

Still maintaining that smile, she says “bubblegum” or “mint”? And I am thinking, you just spent 3 hours making my teeth reflect off a dull dinner plate & glow like a full moon in a darkened room & you want to offer me the two worst things on the planet to chew on? No, it’s Fluoride, you silly suffering patient. Now sit here & swish this wonderfully, sweet liquid around for a whole minute & get it nicely into all those new raw spots that we just made for you.

Alright, that’s done & now to the cute little grand finale – the choice of toothbrush colour, a lecture on not waiting so long next time, so you & I don’t have to get to know each other so well (what was your name again?) & sure, why not, some cool, minty flavoured dental floss.

And now, stage two – off to the man I refer face to face as the Marquis De Sade or “you want to do what today?”

And isn’t he just a hoot!

But, then again, why not?  A man who loves his job is definitely a happy camper.

And it is so obvious that he is loving every ounce of my painful dilemma, because he mentions those old Wisdom teeth again for the fiftieth time & I say again “ Is there something wrong with them or does your wife wants a romantic vacation for two to Paris & you are so right, my mouth will pay for the whole freaking trip.”

So, now comes phase one, where the whole side of the mouth feels like it has completely disappeared along with the tongue, ear & eyeball, thanks to a little miracle medicine called Novocain, which is good that someone had the decency to invent it. It is just that point number one, we all know, that needle is huge enough as it, but, when it comes that close to your face, your perception becomes distorted & it looks five times bigger than it is & the wielder of the ‘weapon of choice’ is singing away & cracking jokes with his gorgeous, sweet, sexy assistant with the brilliant white, perfect teeth & sinking that massive, sharpened flag pole into the side of the mouth, knowing full well, that in a few minutes, I will, thankfully feel absolutely no pain, so that he can be free to make nice with my nasty old neglected teeth.

And then it begins.

My mouth is propped open with a  protective rubber tool called a tent, which is a bitch in itself to get in if you have tight teeth. I am not sure if this is to prevent all the nasty stuff from going down my throat or to keep the mouth propped open so he can ‘whistle while he works’ or merely to shut me up, but, that rubber sheet definitely succeeds in making me look utterly ridiculous as it does the job it was designed to do.

Now comes the drilling. He chooses from a wide variety of metal monsters that are seen with the naked eye & talks in medical code to the lovely assistant & has a jolly old time in the mouth, all the while singing & cracking jokes that I cannot respond to or chuckle at for fear of choking on the saliva that has formed behind the rubber tent.

And so it continues – on & on – drilling, drilling & my head echoes with the sound that resembles something loud & obnoxious like a wood chipper doing its dirty work in the scene from Fargo where Frances McDormond says to the bad guy “ So ya got yer friend in the wood chipper there, eh?”

At long last, it is done – relief – the filling or cement or dirt or whatever closes the massive, gaping hole goes in. And the Doc looks down at me, those sweet, smiling eyes hiding a wicked secret that only he & his gorgeous assistant know & says with the casual flair of some over confident, famous movie star (Tom Cruise comes to mind) “okay, that’s one down & now three more to go”

Amy Riberdy

October 16, 2008

Author's Notes/Comments: 

My visit to the Dentist

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