Dr. Hell’s Emporium Of Pain

I cut a sorry figure as I staggered out of the dental surgery three days ago. I had been booked in for a routine filling. Something about me consuming too many fizzy drinks. Who me? I had innocently enquired when asked. I may be partial to the occasional Diet Coke or ten but other than that I have no idea what you’re talking about. Now just give me a jab to numb my mouth, fill the tooth and I’ll be on my way. Fionnuala and I were meeting my sister immediately afterwards for breakfast and the prospect of a sausage and bacon filled soda was all my mouth was focused upon.

‘Are you numb?’ my ‘butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth’ dental surgeon asked after administering an injection to the offending area of my mouth. ‘Er yes I think so’ I replied. It did feel a bit numb, but anyway I had been through this before and it wasn’t that painful anyway. Just crack on and let’s get this over and done with. I’m a busy man don’t you know. After breakfast I had to go to work. Plus I still had to buy Fionnuala flowers for her birthday. That magnetic spice rack she had been after. And a million and one other things to do. This filling was a trifling inconvenience.

Twenty minutes later I was squirming in the dental chair, eyes rolling in my head as the Butcher Dentist of North Street (for that is her new name) wreaked havoc in my mouth. ‘I’m afraid the hole is too deep to fill’ she sweetly simpered. ‘I’m going to have to remove the root in order to save the tooth.’ And with that she threw back her head and emitted a blood curdling cackle before falling upon me with demonic relish, her instruments of mouth destruction reflecting maliciously off my terrified retinas.

Okay I might have slightly exaggerated that last part but, hey, I’m a writer and artistic license is my prerogative. What I’m not exaggerating was the pain. I very quickly realised that my mouth was nowhere near numb enough and I needed another injection. In fact I needed all the injections. The second her drill came into contact with the exposed nerve I entered a whole new universe of pain. Searing, white hot agony that made my toes curl and my innards turn to mush. On a level of 1 to 10 it was a 37. The next five minutes or so seemed like days. I’m convinced I aged several years in that chair. If not decades. Which I can ill afford.

At one point I let out a high pitched whimper which must have alerted her to the fact that her patient was a tad distressed. ‘I think I’ll stop there for today. I haven’t got near the root and you’re in too much pain.’ She almost seemed slightly disappointed as if I had ruined her morning. ‘We’ll have you back in a few weeks and, between now and then, you can decide if you want root canal treatment or the tooth removed.’ And with that I was being ushered out of the room by the dental nurse. Shell shocked but alive I shuffled to reception where I was given my new appointment card and charged £14 for the experience. Ain’t life grand?

‘What happened you?’ asked a shocked Fionnuala as her ashen faced husband emerged from Dr. Hell’s Emporium of Pain formerly known as North Street Dental Practice. As the delayed onset shock set in I just gestured for her to drive. Anywhere. Half an hour later as Fionnuala and my sister tucked in to French toast and bacon I made do with two Ibuprofen and tentative sips of tea which then dribbled down my chin much to the unease, no doubt, of adjacent cafe customers. My jaw felt the size of a house and arrows of agony were still shooting through the tooth in question.

Brave little soldier that I am I headed into work afterwards where the sympathy was predictably underwhelming. I resembled an extra from The Walking Dead for the remainder of the day and was in bed before eight. It was the best nights sleep I have had in months. Every cloud has a silver lining I suppose. I don’t know if I learnt anything from the day so prepare to be disappointed if you are expecting some deep, spiritual learning to be be revealed in the final paragraph. Because it’s time for the final paragraph.

Well here goes anyway. Always be prepared for the worst. Never trust a smiling dentist. All dentists lie. Dentists are liars. Have I made myself clear on that last point yet? Take the pain relief. As in all of it. Give me all the drugs. Now. Never attempt to drink hot tea after a mouth numbing injection. You’ll just end up looking like a drooling idiot and will frighten any young children in the immediate vicinity. Also never arrange a dental appointment if it is your wife’s birthday the next day and you are not yet completely organised. Pain and present buying are not a good mix. That is all.

What’s been your worst dental experience?

47 thoughts on “Dr. Hell’s Emporium Of Pain

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  1. This was hilarious, though I don’t think you should have subjected yourself in order to write such an entertaining post for the rest of us. 😉
    The dentist is pretty much my life’s curse. In terms of worst, probably that idiot oral surgeon -er, (must think like Stephen) The Idiot of Oral Surgeons (I tried) who was clearly accustomed to his patients being completely sedated. I needed just one tooth removed, and he yanked it very roughly -breaking it in pieces. The bits had to be fished out of my propped-open mouth and tender gums.

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  2. I agree with you wholeheartedly. When I was thirteen I read The Marathon Man by William Goldman and I didn’t visit a dentist again for another 17 years. Amusing piece.

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  3. A wisdom too extraction which turned bad, performed by a moronic dentist. I had to go back home in a cab with my tooth hanging in the back of my mouth as he couldn’t carry on after using the maximum amount of novocaine, It could have triggered a heart attack had he pursued his butcher’s work. A couple of days after, they finally had room for me in the hospital as I needed surgery. They managed to do the job right. That incompetent dentist of mine could have figured it out if he had been able to read a Xray properly. The roots of the tooth were intertwined (rare problem) therefore could not be extracted in a traditional way

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  4. Not a great morning for you then! I was a complete mess when I had 4 teeth out for my braces, worst experience ever! No one likes the dentist, well apart from me now because I just see progress rather than pain now! Hope it’s all sorted soon! 😊

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          1. No I had a lot of injections so all I could feel was tugging. I just kept focused on my music that I had in my headphones. I had heard that listening to music throughout keeps you distracted and I don’t think I would have coped anywhere as well without it.

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  5. I went to the dentist on Friday for a routine cleaning. He comes in shoves all his gear in my mouth and proceeds to tell me I need a crown. I said time out and proceeded to yell at him with all the crap in my mouth. I then proceeded to say if I need a root canal I will murder you. I had one of those done five years ago and then it managed to get infected six months ago and I had to have the root canal REDONE. That was an hour and a half of my life I will never get back. My dentist doesnt do them so when the endodontist said “I can only do temporary fillings so you’ll have to go back to dentist for a permanent filling”. I may or may not have said this is a bullshit money making scam! So Monday is file my tooth down and put on temporary crown and then come back in 2 1/3 weeks for permanent. Oh and it will only cost 400 bucks. I’m trying to remodel my house not my mouth. Best wishes cause root canals are a beeeeep

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  6. I’ve been lucky with my dental experiences. I needed 2 root canals at one point, and although I wasn’t under general anesthesia, they gave me something that completely sedated me, and I slept through the ordeal.

    More recently (last November), I needed a “crown lengthening” which is a euphemism dentists use that means “to have your gums trimmed so that there’s enough room for a crown to fit onto your tooth”!!! The procedure wasn’t bad because I was numbed properly, but once it wore off . . . gah!!! Thankfully, ibuprofen helped.

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  7. Forgive me for laughing at your misfortune! I am so cruel …. Oh dear, it sounds utterly miserable (yes, sorry, I’m still laughing) … I’ve been lucky, no fillings at all and no pain in the dentist’s chair. I did however go for my check-up a couple of days ago and confessed with lots of hand-wringing, that the side and back of my tongue were swollen and sore and I had researched extensively (well …. googled) and had discovered that I now had mouth cancer and would die imminently. He was utterly charming and within less than three minutes had looked and confirmed that no I was not going to die and I did not have mouth cancer. Apparently my anxiety is making my bruxism (teeth grinding at night) so bad that I’m now having a munch on my tongue!! And all in my sleep! Frankly I could have kissed him. Is that all? Pah! I can deal with that … so more work required on the anxiety me-thinks! Hope you’re now on the mend and able to drink tea without dribbling … sorry, have to stop giggling now! Honestly though … poor you (you could try a straw??) x

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    1. I considered a straw but I have my pride. I’m recovered now but back in three weeks now so meh. She also told me I’ve been a grinding but puts it down to the long distance running. Chewing your tongue? Isn’t that what cows do?? 😳

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  8. This post was so well-written. I love your embellishments and the creative license you took!

    I didn’t get a cavity taken care of and I was in pain for over a year. One day the pain got so bad that I broke down and went to the dentist. He looked at my mouth and immediately knew that the tooth had to come out — it was that bad! He tried his hardest to save the tooth by doing a root canal but it was too far gone so he extracted the tooth. I had to come back every week for a month so they could take care of the other cavities and issues that I had left unaddressed for years.

    The funny thing is that I actually wrote a blog post about it a few months ago here: https://workinprogressblog.co/2017/11/06/lessons-learned-in-the-dentists-chair-part-1/

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  9. The dentist (who always wore a cowboy hat) hit a nerve once when I was a child. It was worse than being electrocuted.

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  10. I have felt dental pain pretty much my whole life. It is excruciatingly painful. As a teen, I listened to music to try to get through it. I have cavities in every molar although I brushed all the time. They would give me enough medicine to remove my teeth…more, more, more…to no effect. I was horrified when I needed a crown that I had to take anxiety meds and my blood pressure although usually very low was through the roof. I did feel some of it. It wasn’t until my 3rd dentist, who tried something else, found something to work.. Then my daughter told me that she didn’t get numbed.. It was a horrible experience. I think all dentists are sadists. Can’t convince me otherwise.

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  11. oh my, the dentist. I don’t mind the cleanings but if they have to do anything I cringe. I have a thing with anesthesia, it doesn’t take very well with me. I am use to it, so I always say when asked, “no I am good, can’t feel a thing” but they will say, “well your nerves are jumping so they aren’t numb enough for us to work on” and they give me more anesthesia. Problem with that is, they can only safely give you so much. This means a procedure that might be spread out over a few visits, they do mine all in one sitting, since they can’t safely give me more anesthesia later. God has blessed me though with good teeth, so I have only had to go through this a couple of times.

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  12. Birth is the time you receive all of your gifts; ageing is the Lord’s way of taking them back, one by one. Of my gifts, my teeth were the ones I was happiest to surrender. Dentures are the greatest gift man can bestow which, once given, and as long as fruits with sharp seeds are avoided, are a blessing beyond compare. I do feel your pain: root canals are a terrible hangover from the tortures of mediaeval interrogation techniques. Tell them nothing!

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