April 19th, 2006


Dental Appointment

So I was nervous about getting a root canal from an (endodontist?) I had never used before. My other dentist (just the basic dentist) is very talkative-- a bit of a flirt, even. He has a George Clooney-ish charisma, which helps, occasionally, when he's prying bits of enamel off your teeth or making your life otherwise miserable. Dr. Casey (which is short for something long and arabic), the endodontist, was a far cry from George Clooney. He reminded me of a mix between Cleveland from The Family Guy and Don Corleone. He spoke very slowly, with a bit of a lisp, and I kept waiting for him to either tell me about his ex-wife Loretta or invite me to his daughter's wedding. He had half lidded eyes and somewhat dark skin and a paunch. He sat next to me for five minutes in total awkward silence, so I finally spoke.

"Could you please make sure I'm numb? I have a history of Dentists not making sure I'm numb and then starting on the dental work so I'm sorry to be a bit jittery, but I wanted to make sure I don't feel this."

"Relax," said Cleveland, peering into my mouth, poking cautiously at the back teeth, "People always remember their bad experiences. Have you had any problems at this particular office?"

"Yes," I said. "Two days ago. He had to numb me three times before I stopped feeling it."

"Well I know what I'm doing," he said slowly, after which he turned, whacking the tray with his elbow, activating the water spray which doused me on the right side of my face from my forehead to my cheek. Slowly, he turned to see what had happened.

"Don't worry," he said calmly. "It's just air."

"No, it was water," I told him, mopping it up with the tissue I had been shredding nervously.

"Oh, it was water then. It won't hurt you."

Yes, I thought. But someone performing a root canal who lacks basic motor skills might do a reasonable bit of damage. I looked over and he was looking intently at my x-rays on the wall.

"Has anyone told you you're going to have to deal with your wisdom teeth?" he asked.

"Yes," I said. "My regular dentist told me. And I had them removed a few months ago." This seemed like something he might have noticed when he had been looking in my mouth a few minutes earlier.

"Oh," he said. And proceeded to arrange his tools in a little straight line.

Luckily the visit was uneventful after that. Cleveland numbed my mouth to the point where I could no longer feel my left ear and, after finding out I was a comedian, pointed out that this numbness would be advantageous since "you won't be able to feel when people, you know...throw fruit at you."