Archive for March, 2007

"My Face Hurts" and other complaints…

(Readers Discretion is Advised. This story is not for those who are going to the dentist in the near future.)

My face was numb, the left half. From the tip of my nose to the little piece of cartilage by my ear I couldn’t feel a thing. Something is very wrong when you can touch the tip of your nose and only feel half of the pressure being applied by your finger.

I spent 2 hours in a very uncomfortable chair in the dental office. My head was tipped back slightly so that all of the blood would rush to the top of my skull. I might be able to endure these appointments better if I was able to curl up into the fetal position.

I had 3 cavities to fill which is not an uncommon occurrence for me. You can imagine the thrill each of my dentists has had when he examines my teeth for the first time, “This patient is going to pay for my new sail boat!”. I have had at least 4 dentists in my 32 years of life… I like to spread the wealth around.

To have 3 cavities filled at once is not the hazy drug trip you would imagine. The freezing needle spreads a cold pinching sensation radiating from the needle insertion point along your gums and through the tongue on that side of the mouth. Just to be sure you will be numb for the next year or so they insert the needle in multiple places. The vibrations from the drill manage to find what little feeling I have left in my nerves and while it is not actually painful it is a constant buzzing sensation that causes me discomfort. Don’t even get me started on the “wedges” that they cram between my teeth. I don’t know how they get all of that stuff in there when I can barely get a piece of floss through. I do know that it pushes my teeth apart a few extra millimeters and causes sharp pains that I feel right up to my eyeballs.

There is a belief that if we can just go to our happy place in times of stress we will be able to relax enough that the discomfort will not be so bad. So today, lying in the chair I took a deep breath and tried to go to my happy place… focus… focus……. foooocussss….. Where the F*%$ is my happy place??

My face was numb for about 5 hours. Very slowly the numbness in the extremities, such as the tip of my nose, wore off. I was relieved. Then the numbness in my upper lip started to abate. I was able to drink liquids without drooling profusely and the speech impediment was gone. Finally, things were returning to normal. The numbness in my cheek, chin and jaw finally started to fade after lunch. I was not as relieved.

My face hurts.