Here's the Scoop: May 9, 2012

Here’s the drill
For many folks, just thinking about a trip to the dentist is nearly as painful as the actual deed. Almost.

Maybe that’s why a lot of people (I qualify) drag their feet a bit when it comes to scheduling dental visits.

It’s not like I need a Garmin to find my dentist’s office, but there’s some repair work that I have avoided. Until now. Teeth, like most body parts, have a tendency to wear out a bit, Unfortunately, too much wear and tear results in skipping the “regular” dentist and popping in to see the oral surgeon.

Even though it’s helpful to remember that these professionals are here to help patients, the thought of a visit can still be intimidating. I’m now very friendly with my oral surgeon — which is good — and bad! Having a cordial relationship with an oral surgeon means two things: 1. You like this person. 2. You are probably spending too much time in their office.

Ironically, it turns out that by opting “to wait awhile” to get some dental issues repaired, I wasn’t actually sparing myself any expense, discomfort or complications. Just delaying.
The term “root fracture” is not something one wants to hear. This type of news is comparable to learning that your parents have volunteered to chaperone your prom.

Too much information
When I got the news of this root fracture thing, I didn’t want to know all the technical details. “Will it hurt much?” I asked my good pal the oral surgeon.

“You’ll be eating at Five Guys Burgers and Fries before you know it,” he responded.

His reply worked — he showed how much he knew about me from previous visits and he skillfully avoided a direct response. Heck yes, this was gonna hurt!

Fortunately, my fear was held at bay by a pre-surgical pill that has the effect of making the swallower care very much about…pretty much nothing at all. I was ready.

As luck would have it, the oral surgeon wasn’t quite set for the task at hand. Or mouth. Even though the tooth that was the focal point of my visit was damaged, it acted like a dazed prize-fighter refusing to be knocked out. Or pulled out, in this case.

Even in my pleasantly numbed state of mind, I knew things weren’t going smoothly. As the struggle to remove the damaged tooth dragged on, I took advantage of a break in the action to ask the doctor, “What if we just tied a string around it, attached the string to a doorknob and then quickly shut the door?”

I’m not certain that he appreciated my attempt at dental humor. The only response I heard coming through the foggy haze was “Drill, baby, drill!”

Oh, my god! This had turned into the ultimate nightmare — not only was the surgeon having trouble with my dental procedure, but Sarah Palin was his assistant!

Where did the time go?
I think that notion knocked me into a totally unconscious state. When I came to, the surgeon was putting in some stitches and mumbling something about letting my wound heal so that I could look forward to an implant and a crown.

That stuff could wait. Now, it was time for my wife to drive me home. The combination of narcotics and Novocain was still in full effect. I’m told, though, that I looked a bit worse for wear. So did the oral surgeon.

“You made me break a sweat in there,” he said following the lengthy procedure to dislodge the tooth from the jawbone.

I wondered if sweaty surgeons charged extra, but didn’t dare risk another joke. Besides, I hadn’t eaten for six hours before the visit and was starving.

“Are we headed to Five Guys?” I smiled at my chauffeur, even though I knew I wouldn’t be eating any time soon.

She gazed back in horror. Apparently, while the surgeon was sweating, I was bleeding — and not all traces had vanished.

“You must be pretty full — you look like you just ate a whole cow – raw!” she gagged.
It sounded like I wasn’t the only one who wouldn’t be eating.
— Brian Sweeney