One more reason to avoid the Dentist

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I think I have a fairly decent pain threshold.

I played roller hockey with my brother and his friends as a teen and proudly displayed the bruises and welts I received.

I played High School Basketball and got knocked about plenty as one of the shortest players on the court.

I birthed a 9 pound 15 ounce baby with a failed epidural and lived to tell the tale.

It’s not so much pain that I fear. It’s the absence of pain. The absence of feeling. Just like the kind you get when the dentist gives you a shot. I am afraid of being numb.

No I don’t care about the shot itself, that never hurts. But once I’ve been injected with the lidocaine, my muscles tense, my heart rate increases and I stay in a very anxious state until it has completely worn off.
Now I’ve gotten better over the years. I don’t write down my plans in case of death before visiting the dentist anymore, though I do still tell my husband to tell the kids how much I love them, just in case.

I try to calm myself mentally beforehand. And though I mostly believe that everything will be ok once I go, my body doesn’t believe me. Let’s just say it’s a darn good thing that dentist wears a mask.

I began with the usual warnings I give all dentists who are working on me for the first time:

* When I’m nervous I have to pee a lot, so you better let me go, no matter where you are in the procedure.

* You may have to give me a possible 7 shots before I’ll get numb enough (happened during wisdom tooth removal)

* The lidocaine may or may not wear off early. Sometimes it lasts way too long and sometimes it gives out after 20 minutes.

* If I bite your hand, remember, it’s nothing personal

So he began.

He shot me with lidocaine and after 5 minutes he tested my gum tissue. Good and numb. Wow, that’s a surprise.

*drill drill*

*Summer jolting*

“Yeah, felt that. Cold and painful”

“OW!!”

“Yeah, right there.”

*injecting more lidocaine*

*drill drill*

“ACK!!!”

At this point the dentist tested my gums again. I couldn’t feel anything which he told me indicated that I should be completely numb. But upon further drilling, yes I was indeed in pain. And that was just the beginning. He had two additional cavities to fill.

I told him to just get it done. I didn’t want anymore stupid shots (which were numbing only the very back teeth) and I just wanted the drilling to be over. So he drilled and I winced alot and three hours later it was over.

As he removed the rubber dam from my mouth I flexed my jaw and made a stunning realization. With all that junk in my mouth stretching my face muscles, I hadn’t noticed that the left side of my tongue and the whole bottom part of my face was numb. Why is this stunning you ask?

Because he was working on my top teeth. He gave me shots in the roof of my mouth, yet my bottom lip down to my chin was numb?!? When I told him this he chuckled and told me my nerves must be crossed. I’m sure he didn’t believe me. He said he had one patient once who insisted with every shot to her lower mouth, her upper mouth was getting more and more numb, but he figured it was just her mind playing tricks on her.

Well I am here to say that even if it was my mind playing tricks on me, it was still something I could actually feel. I was numb where I shouldn’t be numb and my one tooth was NOT numb. Even if that was some trick of my warped mind, it was tangible.

I am a dental anomaly.

*P.S. I give you leave to laugh at my expense. I am a rather sorry case aren’t I?