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Fear and Loathing at the Dentist, Part II - cellophane — LiveJournal
the story of an invisible girl
Fear and Loathing at the Dentist, Part II
I survived! Thanks for the encouragement. I wonder why LJ insists on messing up my email posts like that? It didn't used to...

Anyway, it took a lot of Novocaine and a lot of nitrous oxide, but eventually I was in a very happy place and didn't care about what was being done to my mouth. I think part of my dentist problem has been that it takes the shots an extra loooong time to work on me, and I need a bunch before I'm actually numb. Maybe this is in part what has caused me to have such panic and phobia.

This dentist is good with cowards. I'm glad I chose her. She put relaxing music on a CD, and gave me headphones. She gave me two stress balls to squeeze, one for each hand. She didn't let me curl into the fetal position, but when I started to panic, she paused, gave me a few more shots, upped the nitrous oxide... it took awhile, but finally I felt dreamy and just fine.

Near the end of the procedure, the words "root canal" snapped me out of my happy place and I refocused on the dentist. She said the decay was bad, right near the nerve, and I might need one. A complicated conversation ensued, my part of which mostly sounded like a bunch of grunts and whimpers through cotton and dental tools, in which I incoherently tried to tell her, "If you think you might need to do one, do it now because I feel good right now, I'm not afraid, and I don't want to go through this again."

In fact, I was a little bit enthused by the idea of returning to my happy place for awhile longer: it was nice there. But she said she didn't want to do a potentially unnecessary procedure, so I have to see her again in two weeks. Then she'll either do one, if I need it, or just cap it up if that's all it needs.

Two weeks, and I have to do it all over again. Ick.

But she was very reassuring, explaining that now she knew exactly how much time and Novocaine I needed, so it would go much better. She said lots of encouraging words, told me I'm not crazy, I'm not abnormal, I just need extra attention to time and dosages. Then eventually she pried the stress balls out of my hands and sent me on my way.

Right now I feel tingly but pain-free. I know that's going to change, relatively soon.... But at least it's over.

For now.
read 21 comments | talk to me!
nishar From: nishar Date: April 4th, 2005 08:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
It sounds like you have a really good dentist. If any more work is needed at least you can feel a bit safe now. Cause she will take the time to make sure you are all right for what is coming. Good luck on not needing a root canal!
geekjul From: geekjul Date: April 4th, 2005 09:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
It is amazing the difference a good dentist can make.
jeffreyab From: jeffreyab Date: April 4th, 2005 10:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
Glad it went well.

DO you want a set of your own stress balls for your birthday?
renniekins From: renniekins Date: April 5th, 2005 02:55 am (UTC) (Link)
Nope, she promised she'd give me them whenever I come back. But thanks! (:
guysterrules From: guysterrules Date: April 4th, 2005 10:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, God! I hate the dentist. Go for me, will ya? You're getting lots of pratice at it.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: April 5th, 2005 02:56 am (UTC) (Link)
No way man! I can barely force myself to my own appointments.
johnridley From: johnridley Date: April 5th, 2005 12:37 am (UTC) (Link)
Glad you came out of it OK. So, am I mistaken, or do you not go to the dentist often? I'm just trying to figure out how a tooth could possibly get that bad between visits, unless you're chewing acid.

I'm in there every 6 months, x-rays every year, and I do get a shallow filling or repair filling every once in a while, though lately he's just had to buff away a bit of decalcified stuff at the gumline and do a UV-set polymer seal. That's all mainly because I suck down Mt. Dew by the case as a stimulant. There's no way to get deep decay on a regular schedule.

If this is a typical visit for you, no wonder you freak about going.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: April 5th, 2005 02:52 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, my history with dentists has been long and complicated. I keep switching around, because (1) I can't find one I like, and (2) my insurance keeps changing. And since I'm so phobic, each time there is the slightest reason not to go, I don't. And when it's time to switch, I have trouble making myself find a new one so it gets delayed.

Here is a long thing I wrote about my dental search, that dentist I'm referring to is the one prior to this one and the cavity referred to is this one (I ended up panicing, canceling the appointment, and looking for yet another new dentist).

On the plus side, I think I like this most recent woman quite a lot. I'd like to continue going to her. (Which means she's probably about to stop taking my insurance....)
tedwords From: tedwords Date: April 5th, 2005 01:10 am (UTC) (Link)
Egad! A root canal...one of my straight-to-the-gut fears. So you didn't feel ANY pain?
renniekins From: renniekins Date: April 5th, 2005 02:54 am (UTC) (Link)
When she first started drilling, I flinched. But as I told her, I wasn't quite sure if I felt it or if it was psychological. But I definitely didn't feel as numb as I ought.

At that point she gave me quite a bit more novicain, and she raised the level of the gas. And waited for another 5 or 10 minutes. (I don't know how long, by then I was really flying!)

When she returned, I didn't feel a thing. Nothing. It was great! But she didn't actually do the root canal, if that's what you thought...we're deciding in 2 weeks if it's necessary or not.
tedwords From: tedwords Date: April 5th, 2005 02:57 am (UTC) (Link)
How did you feel once you came out from the gas/novicane? Any pain then? Do they give you medicine, or just suggest taking Tylenol?

(Why am I so into root canals today? I'm weirding myself out...)
renniekins From: renniekins Date: April 5th, 2005 03:06 am (UTC) (Link)
hm... after the gas, I just felt reeeeaaaaally relaxed and mellow. "Do you feel normal yet?" she asked me, preparing to take me off the oxygen (which they give you to counter the nitrous).

"About as normal as I ever am," I responded -- though I probably should have waited longer, in retrospect, and I will next time.

Right now I feel sore, but not horribly so, and I'm just taking advil for it. I'm afraid to aggrevate it (with cold or pressure or anything), so I haven't eaten or drank anything on that side of the mouth. I'm debating whether to brush tonight or wait until tomorrow morning.
tedwords From: tedwords Date: April 5th, 2005 03:10 am (UTC) (Link)

My suggestion...

Brush tomorrow--suffer the stinky breath, and avoid the pain of the brush!
ruralrob From: ruralrob Date: April 5th, 2005 01:19 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm proud of ya! You did good, girl!
renniekins From: renniekins Date: April 5th, 2005 02:57 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! It helps to have the support of the LJ folk behind me!
sherdeb From: sherdeb Date: April 5th, 2005 04:08 am (UTC) (Link)
I too am a dental wussy. I've had two root canals and they weren't that bad... If she knows how much pain meds you need, you should be just fine! Take courage! You are strong!
From: caneprints Date: April 5th, 2005 05:51 am (UTC) (Link)
Congratulations on getting through round 1! It's good that you have a dentist who really tries to address your pain and anxiety issues. Maybe next time, you won't be as uncomfortable because there will be more trust there that the dentist will take your issues seriously. They say the more anxious you are, the more pain you'll have. Good luck with the next round!
abrokenstarr From: abrokenstarr Date: April 5th, 2005 09:30 am (UTC) (Link)
Wow, what a cool sounding dentist. I ought to go to the dentist. I used to be really good at it, but haven't signed up with a new one in the last year. Really must do that when I move.
fachless From: fachless Date: April 5th, 2005 09:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
"...She put relaxing music on a CD, and gave me headphones..."

You're lucky. My dentist plays "Night on Bald Mountain" - the theme song for Halloween. No joke! It made me laugh. :)
homeless_one From: homeless_one Date: April 5th, 2005 10:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'd be a lot more worried if your dentist played Camille Saint-Sans' Danse Macabre. Modest Moussorgsky was an adventurer.

(Sorry for the second post. I just can't spell!)
homeless_one From: homeless_one Date: April 5th, 2005 10:43 pm (UTC) (Link)

Root Canal

Is "Root Canal" the main thoroughfare in Venice, Italy?

How do you feel now that you mouth has gotten its feeling back?
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