Alright, I survived.
I guess I'll start from the beginning and take you through the entire procedure. If you have a fear of dentists and drills. This is not the entry for you to read.
On the way to the dentist's office, I contemplated turning around and just canceling the appointment. I stopped and my heart was pounding. But then I imagined Eric's disappointed expression, and writing in my diary today: "Uh...I didn't go cause I'm a huge pathetic wuss. So now I'm just going to bitch non-stop about my cavity pain for the next six weeks" No way.
I entered the building, and had to climb up an endless series of stairs. The stairway...to hell . I walked so slowly too, so dramatically. I swear, I could have won an Oscar for this performance.
Halfway up, I snapped this photo.
The receptionist at the front desk was really friendly, she took down my information and then asked me to sit in the waiting room. I sat down and stared out the windows.. there was nothing to read Just one boring German newspaper and a few children's books. The atmosphere and music was really relaxing though.
I was entirely alone...except for this guy sitting in the chair beside me..
Just as I was starting to get relaxed, I heard: "Frau smith."
I followed the receptionist to the dentist's office. "Have a seat, the dentist will be with you shortly"
By shortly she meant 25 minutes later. But that's okay. Because I had my camera on me.
There's the electric chair.
This was my view ...
But the entire 25 minutes...all I could do was stare at these..
How is that scary? Lets zoom in a little
The dread started to curl around me again and I took a deep breath. I thought to myself: this is going to be fast and painless. Fast and painless...No big deal.
Then the dentist entered. He had a surprising resemblance to Donald Sutherland. His white hair short and sticking up, His face long and his eyes light cold blue. Here's a visual for you:
"What can I do for you today", He said in German
"I have a cavity"
"Alright lets take a look"
I opened my mouth and he poked around...tapping the teeth with his little pointy stick thing. "Ah yes..hmmnhmmm"
Then he disappeared behind me to rummage on the table.
"Is it really bad?" I asked fearfully.
"Do I have any other cavities?"
"Not that I can see, but we're going to take an X-ray. Come with me."
I followed him down the long white corridor to a tiny little dark room. He turned on the dim cold blue light and I sat down in a chair. He had me bite down on his little plastic contraption and positioned the huge machine. He disappeared into another room, then returned. "All done"
Then I was back in the dentist chair. I saw on my information sheet positioned on the table that my date of birth read: August 9th 1987. (?)
I opened my mouth to explain that I'm not 18 years old, but he interrupted "Please lean back your head on this rest". I did and the chair began to hum and move downwards.
"This cavity is painful, yes?", He asked pulling his gloves back on with a frightening "snap"
"Yes it is, Do you offer Anesthesia?"
"Do you want anesthesia?"
I paused.. "how much does it cost?"
I glanced at the drills lined up in their little spots, the silver tips glistening in the light. "Sold"
Then the long scary needle appeared in my vision. I felt faint and my eyes widened. I skirted down in the chair. He moved it to one side and he observed my eyes fearfully following the path of the needle . Then he moved it to another side.
"You might want to close your eyes", He suggested with a smile "It'll be over in a second, it's not as scary as it looks"
I closed my eyes tightly wondering: "Where's the numbing cream? Aren't they supposed to put something in the area so it doesn't hurt? Didn't someone say-. ", Then I winced, there was a prick of sharp discomforting pain as I felt it moving into my gum...deeper and deeper. I thought "happy thoughts...happy thoughts...happy thoughts..."
When I opened my eyes, the needle was already out of my sight.
Okay, so everyone had said THAT'S the worst part. I felt my body relax. The rest should be a piece of cake.
NO, the hell had only just begun.
I touched my lip and it felt entirely numb. When the dentist pulled on the corner of my mouth with his latex covered finger it felt like he was pulling something that wasn't a part of my face. It was really bizarre. Like silly putty of some sort. Fun!
An assistant came in. I smiled at her, but she was just staring straight ahead like a robot. She sat in the chair to the right of me, her back straight and her blond hair tied back in a tight bun. She had perfect features, like a model for a clothing catalogue. Her uniform dress pressed perfectly and her hands clasped on her lap. Her gaze remained in one position.
I realized that she was not a human assistant, but some kind of Austen Powers "fem-bot". hmmm...(?)
I glanced back at Mr. Donald Sutherland/Dentist and saw that he was already pulling out the drill. I thought there was going to be some teeth cleaning involved or some small talk first. Nope. He cut straight to the chase. Surprisingly I was okay with all of this, I was relaxed. I was going to my "happy place"
I closed my eyes: Sex with Eric..mmm..with Sushi..mmm..feeding me sushi, put the little ginger on the top, and a bit of wasabi. Pick it up with the chopsticks and dip it in the soy sauce. mmm..lets make it a California roll...
Then I heard the drill start.
My little fantasy bubble popped and I was thrown back to reality. All I could think was "oh shit oh shit oh shit"
"Try to breath through your nose", The dentist suggested.
The assistant stuck a little saliva sucking tube in my mouth and I watched as the drill loomed over me. The overhead light was in my face and felt myself beginning to freak out. There was music playing over the office speakers, I recognized the station. British broadcasting station.. I also recognized the song..
The lyrics: "I had a bad day...I had a bad day...." It was almost a little too perfect. I would have laughed if I wasn't so incredibly terrified..
"If it begins to hurt...just raise your finger - like this", He said demonstrating with the hand that WASN'T holding the drill.
At first it was okay, sure there was pressure and it made my head shake. But then it switched over from mildly unpleasant to VERY "unpleasant", He went in too deep and there was a sharp slice of pain that shot down my body. I winced and decided to ignore it at first. But then it happened again.
I raised my finger and moaned.
He slowed down for a moment and then kept going.
It was okay for a moment, but then the sharp pain came back...it was a pressure-like pain. Like someone was digging something into me to the point where it was bruising and piercing the skin open. Then other times it felt like someone was stabbing a knife and twisting it into my gum. He was hitting some kind of nerve. I cried out again and raised my finger higher...nearly spinning it in circles to get his attention. I had tears in my eyes and I was shaking. It fucking hurt! I glanced helplessly at the assistant and she was still just staring straight ahead.
He stopped for a moment to switch to a higher pitched drill. "Yeah, the sound is pretty scary isn't it?", He said and then went back in as I was shaking my head with wide eyes.
"Please stay still...open wider.." He instructed
I closed my eyes tightly...I clenched my hands together, my finger nails digging into my knuckles. The higher pitched drill was even worse.
The next song started as he switched to a third drill. It was Phil Collins "Another day in Paradise". During that particular song I endured the worst pain, so I don't want to EVER hear this song again. EVER. I don’t understand why he didn't give me more anesthesia or something, anything. The sadist. I bet he goes home drowns little puppies, kicks his children and watches S&M porn.
"Almost finished?" I asked hopefully, my voice a complete slur when he paused for a moment.
"Just about" he said, and then started up the drill again.. Although the drilling was only the length of two complete songs. it felt like eternity. I just have to think about it and goose bumps begin to crawl up my arm. It IS like running your nails down a chalkboard and even just the memory is enough to cause shivers.
It hurt like HELL even WITH the anesthesia. How on earth did Eric manage to have four fillings WITHOUT it?? Maybe the dentist numbed the wrong area. I'm not sure what went wrong.
I was so relieved when the drilling part it was over. He moved on to the filling. I have no idea what he was doing at that point.. I felt air blown on my teeth...I felt him putting some white plastic coating over the molar...and tapping it...and shaving it...and sculpting it. Whatever the hell he was doing.
I just wanted to get out of that damn chair. That's all I could think. "Get me out...Get me out...Get me out "
"Okay," he said after another 45 minutes...or however long. He put a mirror in front of me and pointed to my back tooth. The cavity was gone. There was no metal, which surprised me. It was a white filling. You couldn't even see there was ever a cavity there. All around the tooth was blood though...a lot of blood.
He let me rinse out in the little sink next to the chair. I was so happy that it was over. all over.
"That was a pretty large cavity, wasn't it?" the Dentist commented to the assistant. The assistant nodded vacantly. He left the room and returned with my x-ray results.
"Well, I'm afraid you have 2 more cavities"
I froze, I felt like the room was crushing down on me. Oh god. no.no.no.no.no. "Wha...?"
One on your top back molar on your left side and one on the bottom back molar on your left side", He said "But unlike this one, they're very small. It should be quick and easy. We can take care of the other two cavities today as well. Would you like to continue?"
NO. FUCKING. WAY. That man will never drill again in my mouth for as long as I live.
"No, umm...that's okay..", I mumbled, it was hard to speak. "next time.."
"Alright then", He said shaking my hand "Oh, one more thing, be very careful for the next few hours. You don't want to bite into your lip"
"I know", I laughed, then I bit down too fast and I felt something stopping my jaw from closing all the way. I bit down harder and realized I was biting down into my inner cheek. I tasted the blood. Very Clever, Clarity...very clever...
I knew that was going to hurt later...and it does .
My head was throbbing when I returned to the office, half of my face was slumped over and numb...My tongue felt heavy and awkward in my mouth. I couldn't smile. I felt pressure on that tooth, insane painful pressure. Eric greeted me with a huge hug and held me close.
"You made it! You survived!"
I would have laughed and smiled if I could. But I just stared blankly at him. He held my shoulders and peered with concern into my eyes. "Are you okay?"
He brought me over to the computer and opened a word doc. Then I started explaining everything in writing,
Then I went home to lay down, I woke up a few hours later on the sofa with a raging pain on the side of my face and a still somewhat numb lip. I took some Motrin and laid back down. Eric came home and cuddled up with me on the sofa. He also fed me soup and was there to wipe the drool off my chin. haha..
I was still talking like I was handicapped, but eventually it cleared up. It still hurts when I chew, so I can't say I feel better yet. But I'm sure in a few days I will.
So that ...was my trip to the dentist.
The next trip will be in America with laughing gas. No more German dentists with their robot assistants.
Was it as bad I as I imagined?
It's hard to say, I can't think about the experience without wincing and taking a sharp intake of breath. The sound of simply the electric pencil sharpener in the office this morning caused all the little blond hairs on my arm to raise and I visibly quivered.
Ask me that again in a week, when the horrible memory has faded. I'll tell you: "Naa...it was a piece of cake."
Moral of this story : Don't make the same mistake I did. Don't let three years stretch in-between your last dental visit. Whatever country you're in. Whatever excuse you have. It doesn't matter. Go visit your dentist. Today