it starts with: teeth. you don't think about them until they totally ruin your life.

in other news, how’s my tooth? it f*cking hurts. my new dentist finished up my first ever root canal yesterday, and i’m going to tell you all about it.

...after ten years and expect it to be easy

chapter one, or “my body is completely deteriorating and beginning the dying process” was last week. it was supposed to be a simple filling of a cavity. when he started drilling, he discovered that the entire nerve was inflamed and infected. so he had to stick approximately 23 needles in my mouth to try and numb me completely for a root canal. i was there for a grand total three hours, the first of which was spent with him intermittently drilling, me writhing and crying from the pain because i wasn’t numb, and more needles going into my mouth. because i guess the only way to find out if you're numb is for the demon-with-the-drill to start drilling? at one point in between sobs, i was able to squeak out “can i just go home now?” the dentist took me seriously, knowing that he couldn't truly keep me there against my will and replied “well, you can if you want to. but i really wouldn't recommend it.”

he was really quite diplomatic.

the culminating point of this first experimental numbing hour was when he finally just shoved the needle down into the nerve of the tooth to numb me from the inside out (go ahead. just try and get this song out of your head. you're welcome). that was fun. at the end of this three hour tour (“a three hour tour…”), he sat me up and said “well, we’re all set” and i thought perhaps that was the end of my first root canal. i had survived! i had lived to tell about it! bring on the party hats and glasses of champagne! nope. i guess when he said “we’re all set”, he really meant “come back for more”. he went on to explain how he’d already been working on me for three hours and didn't want to make me sit there any longer (read: he really wanted to go have lunch…). he told me that he sprayed antibiotics down in the canals he had cleaned, but that he’d have to finish the rest of the cleaning and filling of the canals at a later point in time.

a later point in time.

now would be a good time to tell you that i hadn't been to a dentist in 10 years prior to this appointment. and the only reason i went on this day was because i broke this tooth 18 months ago and it had started to throb during the month of june. so i figured i should end my ‘no dentist! no dentist! no dentist!’ stance and visit one. my utter and complete dental terror was only confirmed at this appointment, and now i’m told i have to come back for more??? f*ck that.

i got in my car and fell into wracking sobs and called my mother. she loves when i do this. at home i tried to explain to my husband what had been done to me, still crying. at one point i said "i literally feel like i've been punched in the face." and he very seriously and disapprovingly looked at me and said "really? have you ever been punched in the face? it f*cking hurts." i take this to mean that the badger has been punched in the face before, and i now have more questions.

keep in mind that in the middle of all this i'm trying to persuade my 4 1/2 year old twins how awesome and fun it is to go to the dentist while drooling out of half of my mouth and very much resembling sloth from goonies. i don't think they're buying it.

going to the dentist is so.much.fun!

three days after this first appointment, the tooth started to throb so badly that i couldn't sleep or eat. i called my dentist at 3am on a sunday morning because we're now best friends. he didn't answer the phone, which was no surprise to me. when we finally talked at 1pm on sunday, his opening statement was "sorry if i lose you, i'm up north at a cabin..." yeah? f*ck you doctor dentist. i'm still back in northeast minneapolis in fresh hell wearing torn pajama pants and a sweaty tank top which is sweaty because the tooth you were too hungry to finish now keeps me up at night in alternating cold and hot sweats...". he called in a prescription for enough antibiotics to kill a small horse (or a unicorn named charlie) and said, quote, “i’m worried about this tooth…” he mentioned extraction and a permanent bridge or implant. i started seeing stars and everything around me began to spin. thankfully i was at target at the time of this phone call and i knew that the unsung heroes in red and khaki would’ve come to my aid had i blacked out.

fast forward to yesterday, because i’m sure this is getting boring for you. the tooth had started to feel a little bit better so i guess the unicorn antibiotics worked. i summoned enough courage to go to my 2nd appointment in 10 years and my dentist said “it’s probably best to just finish the root canal” versus pulling it because “if you’ve got a good tooth, we don’t want to pull it. you’ll need it to chew.” thanks, doc. 72 hours ago you were worried about the tooth and recommended extraction. now we’re gonna keep this thing in my mouth and just drill the sh*t out of it again? sweet. sign me up.

chapter two, or “novocain doesn’t work”, was no less fun that chapter one. again with the 23 needles. again with the novocain in the tooth. and again i was not numb. the final straw for me was thankfully near the end of the procedure when he stuck some hot thing in my mouth to cauterize the playdough-like-substance that is now living in my tooth and smoke, i repeat, SMOKE, was coming off of my tooth and out of my mouth. he was, quite literally, lighting my tooth on fire.

i love the internets

do you know how hard it is to wrap your brain around this? everything in the natural order of things tells you that when something is touching a body part and it starts to SMOKE that you should remove whatever the hot thing is from said body part. but this tooth feels no pain now, so it’s all very weird. it’s like touching your toe but feeling your belly button and then barfing the alphabet.

so, i don't know where we go from here. but i do know that next time i have a root canal? i will not be googling "root canals and cancer" or "root canal failure" the evening after my procedure.

ashley "should've gone to the dentist 9 years ago" rebekah


  1. From your mom: told ya so. I especially like the paragraph about John being punched in the face. And you left out the 2nd call to your mother after Sun's dentist comment "I'm very concerned about this tooth"....(note to dentists: never admit to worry in front of a dental-phobe). You have not changed much since childhood. When I'd have to take you to Dr Emmanuele, the world's best dentist now retired.....I'd have to PULL you out of the car by the feet and peel your white knuckled fingers one by one from the car door. This was similar to taking you home from nursery school..all the other kids happily running to their mamas, you hanging onto the jungle gym with the same white knuckles, screaming and kicking that you wanted to stay there.

  2. and lastly from Mom: and now you have NASH...and it's perfect poetic justice. hahahahaahahhah! Lemme know how that works out for ya! I'll be in Florida! :)


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