Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Can Dentistry Be Less Painful or Am I Crazy?

After 10 or 12 years of seeing the same dentist I am thinking of making a change.

I am pretty strong when it comes to pain. Four years ago I was in the middle of a week long vacation on St. Maarten when I suffered a spontaneous bilateral rupture of my achilles tendons. My ankles swelled up like elephants' ankles and turned black and blue to my toes. I was in enormous pain but I bought a pair of crutches and continued my vacation as much as I could. Then I boarded an airplane to Miami, went through customs and immigration, hobbled to the next plane and flew to Atlanta where I then drove myself home. For two weeks I found a way to manage until the insurance company agreed that I needed surgery. It was painful. Really fucking painful.

I always had a bad "female" history (men stop reading now). I had a couple of procedures for fibroids but it never really fixed anything. The year I was in Tokyo I suffered from something akin to endemetriosis. For a year I did nothing but cramp and I bled every day for almost a year, sometimes it scared me and when I left I put my futon in the burn pile. Still I managed to "do" Tokyo and ride my bicycle to and from work every day. It was painful. When I got home my doctor found I was so anemic I was within mere days of needing a transfusion.

So I am a strong person and I can withstand pain. But I draw the line at dental pain.

I've been lucky enough to have dentists who believe dentistry should be as painless as possible. And truth be told I've had a very fortunate dental history - a few cavities, the coming-of-age wisdom teeth - but little out of the ordinary. In the years I have seen my current dentist I have had mainly cleanings and maybe one filling.

Over the past 5 months I had a tooth that grew increasingly sensitive and so I went in as soon as I was home. I was told I needed a root canal and she would start it that day. I immediately asked for gas which I think is reasonable considering my dental terror and the procedure. She laughed and told me I didn't need that and it would be no problem.

1 second of drilling (evidently to my now non-existant uterus) I jerked from the pain and she gave me an additional novacaine injection. I somehow got through it although the second injection was extremely uncomfortable. At the end I was told I needed one more appointment to put on the crown.

Today I walked in and waited for 30 minutes, palms sweating profusely, and she came in and started working without telling me a fucking thing about what she was doing. And immediately I was clinging to the ceiling in pain. Yet again I asked for gas and she told me she would do another injection. She ended up having to do a total of 4 injections to numb me to the point where I could tolerate the level of pain. And then at then end, after 2 hours, when I was shaking from tension and pain, she told me one of the 3 canals was bleeding a little and she would have to plug two and then fill the bleeding one with a cotton pellet and a temp filling and I have to go back July 7 to continue the agony. Can't do it before then because she will be on vacation. Nice.

I will NEVER go to this dentist again, not even for a cleaning. We are halfway through 2008 and you can not tell me we don't have better dentistry pain management for root canals than fucking novacaine.

I am pissed. Also I hurt. A lot. All the way into my left sinus. Are there any dentists out there? Am I being unreasonable to leave a 10 year relationship because of this? And WHY THE FUCK DOES SHE REFUSE TO GIVE ME A LITTLE FUCKING GAS?

No comments: