That’s it?

So I had a root canal. And I’m back at work.

I’m a little mystified as to why the root canal procedure was less arduous than the filling removal/temporary crown placement. Isn’t a root canal the thing that people use metaphorically to mean “the worst thing ever”? As in, I’d rather have a root canal than sit at a desk job from 9-5 all day. For example.

My dentist is very cool. She has spiky blond hair and Rottweilers. The waiting room has this huge portrait of her and her husband and her dogs. My first appointment (back when I was proud of my teeth) was a couple of weeks after we got Isis, so she knows me as the one with a German shepherd puppy. It’s in my chart.

She is conveniently located on the street where I live, but she doesn’t do root canals. She referred me to an endodontist conveniently in the city where I work. (Which makes it less convincing for me to take the whole day off for one lousy dental procedure, since I’m in the neighborhood anyway.)

This city is way less cool than the one where I live. I expected there to be a field of cows behind the endodontist’s office. But no. It was beautiful. The waiting room reeked of a spiced scented candle and they had a huge vase with 6-foot-tall bamboo stalks in it. Even the personalized pen that I used to fill out my form was swanky.

Soft rock played in the background. Although I would have preferred something a little more Zen, I rather enjoyed hearing Whitney Houston’s “Run to You.”

If I can’t have the healthiest teeth in the whole wide world, I decided, I’m going to be the best dental patient in the whole wide world. I lie still, with my eyes closed, breathing through my nose, not making a sound through the whole procedure. Except every 10 seconds when they ask if I’m OK, I murmur, “Unngh hleg.” They’re very impressed.

Honestly? I don’t understand what the big deal is. Yes it’s uncomfortable when they put the needle in your gums six or 27 times. That’s probably when most people start screaming. So, maybe I take that especially well. But once the Novacaine kicks in, you don’t feel a thing.

Do difficult, scared patients scream and cry because of the sounds of the drilling? There were a couple of times when the drill made a little pop, like a bicycle riding over a small rock. Startling, yes. Terrifying? Not really.

Or maybe some people freak out at having to hold their mouths open, or they choke on the debris that falls in the back of their throats. Sheesh, if I can hold my TMJ-strained jaw open, anyone can. I endure the accumulation at the back of my throat because I don’t want to slow down the process with a suction break.

In and out, one hour. They even gave me a goodie bag with Advil, bottle water, a chewy granola bar (???), Breath Savers and York Peppermint Patties. My dentist has a candy jar of Yorks on her front counter too. I’ve been too shy to take one, lest they think my candy addiction caused the complete breakdown in my oral health. But you heard it here, folks. York Peppermint Patties are endorsed by 2 out of 2 dentists…

Published by Kari Neumeyer

Writer, editor, dog mom, ovarian cancer survivor

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