Visiting the dentist is one of the things I most hate.
It doesn’t matter who the dentist is, how fancy his or her office is, how many free toothbrushes and floss I get, I simply hate it.
I hate the dental office smell, the creepy posters of huge teeth with eyes and mouths, and the waiting room filled with other terror-striken patients that jump every time a name is called.
On this fine morning, my terror increases as the bespectacled little man who controls the tiny drill that causes unbearable pain informs me, “I’m afraid this wisdom tooth has to come out today.”
Wisdom tooth? Coming out today? I didn’t even know I had one of those, much less that it was having a coming out party!
“So…? Are you ready to have it pulled?”
Have what pulled? Oh my God. Oh my freakin’ God.
“While we’re young, Bella.”
Young? How young am I going to look with missing teeth?
Will I still be able to chew my food? Will my face cave in? Will my teeth move backward and leave me with a large gap between my front teeth? And more importantly, how much is it going to hurt?
Palms sweating, mouth dry, pupils dilated, I see him loom closer, needle in hand.
“You’ll just feel a pinch,” he says.
A little pinch like the kind my sister gave me when we got in a fight, little?
Or a big pinch like the one my mother gave me when I misbehaved?”
Silently, I nod my head.
“Open wide,” he instructs.
The last man that said that was the gynecologist, and that felt like a really big pinch.
“No need to tense up. Try to relax, ” he insists, while holding what looks like a set of pliers to my face.
“God, why do you hate me?”
“If you don’t open wide, I’m going to have to use the metal clamp.”
Oh no! Not the metal clamp. The last time he used it, I almost swallowed my tongue.
I shake my head no.
“Alrighty then. Lets get this party started.”
Okay, he didn’t really say that, but I realize I’m going to need some humor to stop myself from passing out.
In go cotton wads that look like caterpillars and make me gag; quickly followed by the “pliers.”
“I’ve got it,” he announces, as if he had just caught a fish.
And then the tugging begins.
To the left, to the right, and again to the left, the torture device moves in my mouth.
The groggy part of my brain starts to think we’re dancing the “Cupid Shuffle.”
“Clara, can you give me a hand here?” he calls out to his assistant.
I thought he said this tooth was dead.
Why isn’t it out already?
Panic starts to set in. I can’t swallow. There’s a taste of blood in my mouth.
The tugging continues.
His assistant joins the fun and presses my shoulders into the seat.
In spite of the anesthetic, I feel like I’m having an out-of-body experience; witnessing the onslaught.
Panic increases and I begin to think that any moment, the dentist is going to climb on top of my chest to get more leverage.
And this isn’t a strange thought, given he appears to be having a “take no prisoners” day.
“It’s almost out.”
Suddenly, I start having flashbacks of when I was giving birth and realize that this pain is ten times worse.
Finish it off already, for the love of Pete.
“Here it is!” he proudly exclaims as he shows me the tooth that until fifteen minutes ago, resided in my mouth.
I wipe the blood trickling from the corners of my mouth and realize I must look like one of the vampires from Twilight.
A tear makes its way down my cheek.
It’s been only a few minutes, and already it feels like a part of me is missing.
With a satisfied look on his face, the dentist says, “No complications. I was able to yank it out whole.”
(Like this is supposed to make me feel better.)
With drool making its way down my chin, I say, “Zee you in zis months.”
It appears the anesthesia has left me with a lisp.
“Unless I have to pull out the one from the opposite quadrant.”
Are you kidding me? I’d sooner light myself on fire.
As I weakly limp out of the office, I “key” every poster lining the hallway.
There, I feel better already.