Needles, Drilling, and Filling:
Is It Thursday Already?

Friday, April 07, 2006

Back to the dentist yesterday morning. It started off kinda strange, the perfect example of Idiot=Me. I got there early, but had forgotten which floor the office was on. I thought it was 10, so when I got off the elevator, I remembered last time going down the hallway to the right. Well as I walked down that hallway, I knew right away it was wrong. So I went back, and got back in the elevator, figuring I'd go to the lobby and check the directory. But when one of the office receptionists and my dentist got on the elevator with me (they didn't recognize me) I thought, "Okay, so 10 is right. Oh look, elevators on both sides. So, duh, there's another right hallway to check." Compounding this idiocy, I actually rode down to the Lobby with them, quiet as they chatted with each other, watched them exit, and then went back up. They didn't recognize me, so so far, my idiocy was internal. Nice.

I went into the office and had to use the men's room. How cute, they have the key to it on a toothbrush. On my way back to the office, of course I run into Bee and Dr. Chalain, my elevator riding partners. Busted.

During my previous visit Tyla (the hygienist) had mentioned her young son liked Tim McGraw, so I brought his new Greatest Hits album. No I wasn't trying to hit on her, people. She's married and the moment I found that out last time, I was over it. While she went to work finishing up what was left over to clean from last time, we chatted about her family, radio DJs, music (she's a huge Blink-182 fan, I'm more of a Linkin Park guy), and how funny it was that I'd forgotten that I'd referred someone to their office after my last visit. My friend Jason saw my previous blog (I think) and I emailed him their office info, but then forgot about it. So when Tyla brought it up, it was like a bad comedy skit, the idiot version of "Who's On First" being the idiot.

After she was done, I was going to see Dr. Chalain about replacing two fillings. But first she said, "How are you with needles?" Because of course she had to numb me because of course there would be drilling involved to get the old fillings out. Oh yeah. Actually, I'm okay with needles. I've never had any really traumatic experiences with them, but I still harbor that standard trepidation about shots. It's like spiders. They are tiny little things, and only a few are poisonous. But for most of society, we'd really rather they not be close enough to bite us.

There's just something about a sharp object puncturing us, even if it's got medication in it, that generates pause. Whenever I imagine the proposition of getting a shot, a little internal dialogue cracks me up.

"I'm going to stick you with this needle."

"Ummmm...I'd rather you not."

"But I must to transfer this medicine into your body."

"Okay, but I'd still rather you didn't."

"Well how else do you expect me to do this?"

"Oh I can think of a bunch of other ways, but they probably wouldn't be as effective. You're the expert, do what you gotta do. I'm just saying that if I had to choose between a life of needles getting stuck in me, and a life of not, I'd probably go with not."

That kind of exchange.

So when Tyla asked me "How are you with needles?" I waved my hand in a 'so-so' way, and said something genius like, "I'm okay with them." I'd actually heard from Nicole, who referred me to this dentist, that Tyla was suave with the injection thing. I gotta say, the woman is marvelous with that needle. She gave the traditional warning, "Okay you're going to feel a little pinch and some pressure." Yet not so much. A little pressure, but just very little. And that was nice, to know I had a needle sticking into my gums and I didn't really feel it. She had to give me 4 injections (because the doc was going to work on 2 different teeth) so after not really feeling the first 2, I relaxed.

During the drilling, Doctor Chalain constantly asked me if I was okay. He was checking for pain, for my jaw being tired, whatever. He gave me updates on what he was doing, but not an overzealous play-by-play. And the main thing that struck me was how much these people care about their patients. When you're in that chair, they are really concerned about making sure you're comfortable. Or at least as comfortable as they can make you considering the sound of that drilling, the pressure it causes, and the smell of burning coming from your mouth...nice, huh? But it was nothing, I was relaxed the whole time. Partly because that stuff doesn't bother me much and partly because Dr. Chalain has great 'chair-side manner.'

So one more successful trip taken care of. I still gotta go back and get the temporary filling filled, and then get fitted for what I'm choosing to call a grind guard. That's going to cost something, I'm sure.

I actually wanted a dentist that was on my benefits plan, so I could slap down a co-pay and pay for the extras like the grind guard as necessary. This office Nicole referred me to takes our insurance, but is not on the plan, so it covers like 80%, and I pay the rest. Not what I was looking for, financially, but I'll trust that God will work that out. I'd rather be getting the caring care of these thorough but gentle people.