I should have been a dentist

May 12, 2010 at 11:43 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I’m pretty sure it’s got to be hilarious to be a dentist. Just imagine: you get to make someone look like an idiot as she tries to answer your questions with a drill in her mouth, you get to laugh as she struggles to keep her totally numbed mouth closed and ends up drooling all over herself, and you probably spend your happy hours laughing about her insane behavior while hopped up on nitrous.

Take my recent dentist visit for example. First, let me say, I love my dentist. When I had an intensive scaling and planing procedure done (in which plaque is painfully scraped from deep inside your gums), I was given a sedative pill. I was awake, but barely conscious of what was happening. When it was over, my husband took me home and put me to bed, and when I woke up, the whole thing felt like a dream. If only all visits could go like that.

But this time I was just there for a quick filling. I sat down in the chair and was given nitrous (what can I say, I’m still a baby about the dentist). I closed my eyes and clenched my fists while novocaine was injected into my gums. The feeling in my mouth slowly decreased, the nitrous kicked in, and the dentist returned to begin the procedure. As she worked, she talked with the hygenist about an upcoming trip. The hygenist didn’t believe that airlines now charged for checked bags. The dentist replied that Spirit even charged for carry-ons. She look at me, I thought, for confirmation. “Yes, ” I said. “They charge for everything.” And then I let loose a high-pitched, near-hysterical giggle, the kind usually emitted by asylum inmates in horror movies.

“Okay, done.” The dentist sat back and pulled off her gloves. Wait, that was it? I looked at the clock and realized I’d been in the office less than 15 minutes. I carefully stood up; my head felt gigantic. In a daze, I handed over my credit card, took my receipt and began the walk home, which I realized would take more than twice as long as I’d spent in the dentist’s office.

Passing people on the street, I tried to appear normal, but it was nearly impossible. My face felt all wrong. Every few feet I’d raise my hand to my mouth, ready to wipe off any accumulated drool, only to discover that I’d somehow managed to ingest half of my bottom lip. Passerby on the street stared, children screamed. Okay, maybe not. But I still felt like the Elephant Man.

Finally I made it home, where I could let my mouth hang open freely until it regained feeling. Yes, those dentists sure must get a kick out of their jobs, I thought. Then I pulled out my receipt. For 15 minutes in the chair, I paid over $200. And that’s probably what really gets the dentists laughing.

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