Last Friday at the dentist worked out fine even though he had to use a blow-torch.
I love this dentist. He started in dentistry the same year my Patient Husband was born, and he uses a mix of old-world materials and new-improved when necessary. “I only use porcelain fused to gold,” he told me. “Some guys use all these new materials. This crown is made out of lava! Eeh,” he drawled. “Just because insurance will pay to replace it every five years doesn’t mean they’re supposed to last five years.”
He said, “Johnson and Johnson used to be the biggest supplier of dental materials, and nowadays, what do they make? Dental floss and tooth brushes. Everything else they made failed. And then who do you go to? You don’t call them — you come back to me, and I gotta explain why I used shoddy materials. But porcelain fused to gold — I don’t know who made the porcelain or who mined the gold, but I know what’s in it.”
While I cowered in the chair, the assistant asked if I wanted her to take my bag, which I clutched closer. I said, “The problem of being here without my son is I had no excuse to bring a teddy bear.”
She pointed to the corner. “We have one if you want it.”
The dentist replied, “Nah. That one farts if you squeeze it.”
Three drillings later, with me clutching my hands together and with my eyes squeezed tight, the dentist murmured, “Maybe we really do need to give you the farting teddy bear.”
Despite how this sounds, it was totally pain-free due to a root canal courtesy of Dentist #2. I now have a titanium post that’s threaded into the root of the tooth. The post is filed down to a decent length. My permanent crown will arrive in two weeks.
“For everyone else they take four weeks, but for me, I get them in two. You know why?” he said. “Because I’ve done business with them for thirty years, and I always pay in advance.”
Nice to know.
One of my terrified thoughts, as I waited for that drill bit to suddenly penetrate my brain, was that I’d have preferred labor to this process. In labor, I get to work with my body. I get to manage my own pain. In dentistry, I have to lie back and let him work. In labor, the pressure is predictable and the tension is periodic. In dentistry, the tension is constant, and the worst part was fearing a sudden excruciating pain I could do nothing about.
At the end, he took an impression of my bite (he claims everyone in Angelborough has one hanging in his basement!) but in order to get my mouth into the form, he had to pull out a blow torch and modify the plastic. “Your mouth is small in front but big in the back,” he said. “It’s V-shaped, not U-shaped.”
Cringing at the other side of the chair while that blow torch blazed on the tray table, I thought, “I really need to blog this.”
And there you have it: a good time was had by all, and yes, my dentist did indeed use a blow torch.