A third molar. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A few weeks ago I broke one of my back molars on some crusty Portuguese bread. For the uninitiated the crusts are rock hard so lethal if you have crowns, false teeth or indeed any other form of dentistry!
Despite my aversion to dentists, the noise of the drill and that enormous needle they inject into your gums with such sadistic pleasure, I plucked up courage and went to the dentist’s reception and made an appointment. I’d never used this dentist surgery before, nor did I have a frame of reference from friends as to the quality of dental work or if they spoke English. So yes, I was extremely nervous!
Ho hum, decisions, decisions and as they say “beggars can’t be choosers”.
The broken tooth, one of my main munching molars meant I was unable to eat properly, and it hurt. A lot! Fortunately or unfortunately for me the receptionist indicated the dentist just had a cancellation. Before I could prevaricate she whisked me into the dentist’s chair and he had his fingers halfway down my throat while he muttered something in Portuguese.
“Abrer, ABRER” as he yanked my mouth open.
I grunted and pointed to my mouth as I choked on my saliva. I momentarily contemplated biting his fingers in retaliation. No this was not the answer Piglet so stop being such a coward.
“Abrer, ABRER!” he barked at me.
“OK Mr, it’s not my fault you have big hands and me a small mouth.” I thought as I lay gripping the arms of the chair in terror.
X-ray taken the receptionist and dentist joined forces to explain in pidgin English with the help of the x-ays that I needed a crown, but there was a problem. When is there not a problem in Portugal? NOTHING is ever easy and if it is, I’m immediately suspicious. The dentist gave me a temporary filling but I would have to return and have a mould made for the crown.
Was I in for a treat at my next appointment!
I sat in the chair and he immediately began to drill. I’m sure you can relate to that dreadful high pitch noise of the dreaded drill as you wait, eyes bulging in terror that the dentist will not inflict pain before the injection kicks in.
Panic immediately washed over me and I frantically waved my hands for him to stop.
“You’ve not given me an injection for the pain!” I wailed.
He looked at his assistant for clarification and then informed me “No nerves, root canal.” I felt stupid, but why the hell would I know I did not need an injection? The drilling continued. If I thought the drill was bad, having the impression made of my teeth using a metal plate filled with plasticky grunge was horrendous.
Once this metal clamp was inserted over my teeth I was not allowed to move. I could not even swallow my saliva, and when the grunge ran down the back of my throat I almost gagged.
Focus Piglet, FOCUS!
His assistant used a sucker to help alleviate the problem but only succeeded in exacerbating the situation by sucking up the underside of my tongue. OUuuucccccH I must have levitated six inches from the chair!
“Eshpeerar” He snapped, and then a little more kindly.
“Please do not move” and smiled reassuringly.
I counted to ten then twenty and then lost count in an effort to stay focused. Finally the plate was removed and another inserted metal plate for yet another impression. Much to my surprise I survived. Further explanations ensued, but by this time I’d lost the will to live and just nodded in agreement.
Unable to speak my imagination was in overdrive
“Shall we cut your head off?” “Yes, YES, anything just get this torture over with!”
Finally, treatment over I leapt from the chair, but before I could escape another appointment was needed to fit the crown. No they will telephone.
Three weeks later I’m back to the dentist ready and certainly not willing. More drilling and sucking. My tongue like a snake seemed to take on a life of its own and would not remain still. Finally the dentist stopped drilling in exasperation and held the evil drill in full view.
“I not want hurt your tongue.” he said pointing to the drill’s lethal attachment.
I lay motionless in terror, and even my wayward tongue finally remained still at the prospect of being amputated. Finally, the work complete I heaved a sigh of relief and vowed never to eat Portuguese bread again!