Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Escape at the Dentist's

I don’t need Novocain.

I’ve got kids and it’s summer.

My threshold for pain is, shall we say, higher than the average patient's. In fact, getting 45 minutes to recline in the leather dentist’s chair with only the sound of a drill humming in the background is as peaceful as it gets these days.

“You only have two tiny cavities,” my dentist said, looking over my chart. “Do you want me to numb you?”

The problem with the numbness is that it tends to stay that way for about four hours. There is one version of the shot my dentist administers that dissipates faster, but it’s still not much fun feeling like a swollen bug bite has taken over your mouth.

“Just go for it,” I said.  And with that, I donned the over-sized black sunglasses and checked out for a while.

There was drilling and the suction of water, the taste of something foul, the tap, tap tap, of that sheet of blue paper that indicates how even the fillings are—and there was the quiet conversation crisscrossing above me as the hygienist and the dentist handed off equipment.

Ah, peace.

No one asked me for a snack. In fact, I was often handed a small paper cup filled with water and provided a moveable funnel in which to spit.  Such service.

No one fought over who got more of my attention. Only occasionally did the dentist request that I turn to face her, but that was done delicately and in everyone’s best interest.

When it was all over, I got to use their restroom and no one followed in behind me asking where she left her dirty socks.

I paid and didn’t have to fend off requests for gum at the checkout line.

I should add that my dentist’s office is in a brownstone in Princeton. Legend has it that Einstein used to go there.  It’s a stately building, still, with Persian carpets and soothing wall colors, and a Keurig machine in the quaint waiting room. My dentist is a woman about my age with two young children, whom I met at a Music Together class on her day off. I could spend all day at her place. It might require a root canal or oral surgery, but it’d be lovely.

A few hours after I got home, when the peaceful feeling of my “me-time” had been overwhelmed by the reality that followed, one nagging thought entered my mind.


My mouth hurt.

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