Saturday, September 20, 2008


I finally understand sleep dentistry.

I’m not especially afraid of the dentist’s chair. When every molar in your head is crowned, when you’ve had root canals and gum grafts and braces, sensitive teeth, canker sores and wisdom teeth extractions so complicated they take pictures as teaching aids in dental schools, you get over it very quickly. So when I walked in to Dr. Pete’s this week for a little old filling to help desensitize a spot where my gum has receded, my blood pressure was low.

But apparently my blood and my brain aren’t in sync. Because once the anesthetic deadened the nerve endings around that tooth, the control center upstairs went into hyper mode. “Ought oh, no data coming from the top right gum. Send in the reinforcements.”

So when Dr. Pete fired up the drill, my hearing immediately reported in with an “intense pain” message, and the brain frantically started looking for confirmation. Rushing up and down and pacing, it finally sent out a request for information to my nose. “Smells awful. Is most likely burning a searing path of pain along the gum line by our calculations,” said the nose. Well my brain had a fit with this report, and started sending rapid-fire signals to those dead nerve endings.

“Doesn’t that hurt?Doesn’t that hurt?Doesn’t that hurt?Doesn’t that hurt?Doesn’t that hurt?Doesn’t that hurt?Doesn’t that hurt?Doesn’t that hurt? Doesn’t that hurt?”

Get outta here – 30 minutes of this and I’m exhausted. Dr. Pete would stop every few minutes, pat my shoulder, and ask if I was OK. Well, yah, but it would be better if someone could find a way to make my brain shut the heck up.

So next time perhaps I should consider letting the staff knock me out. Either that, or work on my trust issues.

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