Given the context, “Now that didn’t hurt, did it?” is a dumb thing for a dental assistant to say.
Especially when the patient being asked is, at that very moment, trying to scream through fingers and dental equipment and jerking around like a frog hooked to a car battery.
I can understand the poor woman’s confusion. The patient in question, me, is a fairly straightforward 43-year-old man not prone to screaming, whether it’s caused by pain or general giddiness.
Besides, the job the dear woman was trying to perform was simple — a 20 minute procedure at best. She just had to remove a temporary tooth crown so that the dentist could come along and put a new, spiffy permanent one on. It’s just like taking off an old shoe and putting on a new one, they said. No Novocaine, no bother and I’d be on my way and sipping coffee in no time.
Except the simple procedure took about 90 minutes and it still hurts like frick. I have so much Novocaine in my left cheek I can’t talk without sounding like Droopy Dog, and I’m forbidden to eat or drink for another hour or so.
Changing shoes, indeed.
I’ve had this temporary crown for two weeks and it hurt the entire time. I even called and asked if that was normal and they told me not to worry, the permanent crown would solve everything.
I knew something was wrong when I saw the dental assistant coming at me with the pliers. “You might feel some tugging,” she said. She was right, if by tugging she meant searing pain.
I think I hurt her feelings, at that point.
When I allowed that her simple procedure hurt like hell, she disappeared. I didn’t see her again for the entire visit. Last I heard, she was restocking paper towels.
The dentist came out and injected the first gum-deadening shot of Novocaine about ten minutes later and finally yanked the old crown off. That still hurt, not as much, but I didn’t say anything — until she started poking around the gaping hole where my tooth had been that little curved pointy thing.
I didn’t say anything again, but I think the fact that one of my shoes flew off of my foot gave me away.
“You can’t do that when we’re putting the permanent crown on,” she said, and gave me a second shot of Novocaine.
I should feel nothing now. I have new crown permanently glued into my jaw and my face is as dull as the dictionary. But it still hurts, continues to hurt and I’ll probably be going back to the dentist on Monday.
Right now, I’m going to go change shoes and see if I can do it without killing myself. I’ll let you know if I have any luck.