Please, not the dentist.
I’ve had a deep fear of those masked figures ever since I was dragged to one when I was five for a half-detached milk-tooth. I had my first dental injection right there. It was also my first dental experience. The next ten or so times were no better. Every single time I went to the dentist, they’d always seemed to find that one tooth or another was shaking and had to be removed for convenience’s sake. Imagine my relief when the last of my milk teeth were violently extracted from their warm, bloody sockets.
Until five years ago when my wisdom teeth managed to find their way through my hardy gums – and decided to use flaps of gums to tuck themselves in nicely at that (no wonder they call them wisdom teeth). Having heard multiple horror stories of painful surgeries from my friends, I gave them free reign in my mouth, thinking that loads of good brushing and tooth-picking and mouth-washing would help them stay happy and keep me from going back to the devil’s lair they call the dentist. Alas, it was not to be. It began hurting a few months back and I crawled reluctantly into the dentist’s chair only to find that probably half of the two bottom wisdom teeth had rotted away. The dentist and hygienists were really nice, but the way they were talking to me, I felt like all my smiles had turned out as grimaces.
And so I was scheduled for surgery last night. I was unnaturally calm… right up till the moment I sat on that wretched chair. I swallowed my painkillers diligently and allowed those rubber fingers to creep around my mouth. First, it was some deceptively sweet pink gel. Next came the syringe with horrendously huge handles. I kept my eyes on the ceiling where they had a television set mounted as the needle pierced my gums repeatedly while the dentist searched for the right spot to release the tranquilizer. Honestly, it wasn’t all that painful. The most disconcerting thing about the entire thing was that I had no control over what was happening to me. When I thought it was all over, more came. I think I had at least 8 jabs. When it was done, I felt like my jaw was coming alive. Something was creeping all along it, squirming and shifting against my bone. Now that I think about it, it’s like those sci-fi movies where the protagonist gets injected with some substance and his muscles bulge and shift around as he morphs into a superhero. If you’re wondering, I still can’t live without my glasses.
The dentist then walks away as he allows the painkillers to do their work. Then, the terrible thing happened. I began convulsing in the chair. I had zero control over my body. My arms went numb. My mind was lucid, but I couldn’t stop myself from rattling the chair. They sat me up and gave me some warm water to drink. I couldn’t even hold the cup – that was how bad I was shaking. At some point of time, someone asked me if I wanted something sweet and presented me with a cup of Coke (which I secretly enjoyed).
Needless to say, I got booted out of the clinic without having my teeth dug out. The dentist concluded that I was too scared to last the entire 90 minutes of operation. If he’d continued, he said, I would have fainted part of the way through. Slightly miffed that I got poked around the gums for nothing, I mostly had fun the entire night trying to speak with my mouth and tongue numb and jabbing myself in the gums with a toothpick for the fun of it. For the record, it did hurt on the right side, so my guess is that the anesthetic found it’s way into my bloodstream instead of the holy mandibular nerve. I’ve never had such a severe panic attack, so I don’t think it was fear that caused all that grotesque twitching and jerking.
So now I’m recovering not from huge gashes, but from bruises in the lower back of my mouth caused by those needles. It’s not too painful, but you know that annoying dull ache whenever you press on a bruise? Yeah, that’s how it feels every single time I chew. I have two-and-a-half weeks before the next round of injections. Hopefully this time, those damned teeth will finally bid the others goodbye. They’re too smart to be in my mouth anyway.