Root canal

[If you get bored partway through this post, please go straight to the end and click on the link to the clip from the Carol Burnett show. It is not to be missed.]

A few days ago, I showed up at my dentist’s office at 7:30 a.m., to deal with an aching tooth. He promptly referred to a specialist (endodontist) for a root canal that afternoon.

The endodontist’s office was quite plush – coffee, tea, water, juice, energy bars there in the reception area. VERY fancy equipment for xrays and scans. Several rooms/chairs with prone patients. Assistants all dressed in matching outfits.

The treatment plan was explained to me and I signed a piece of paper with an estimate. I am very lucky to have excellent dental insurance, and will probably only have to pay a fraction.

Freezing was taken care and the endo guy went to work, reaming out the roots, scraping and digging around. Dentists and their assistants tend to have some banter, which involves what must be repeating the same silly lines and puns thousands of times for the patients’ entertainment. With my regular dentist,I feel that they are aware of my presence in the picture. Well, these two were chatting so enthusiatically, that I felt like one of those surgical patients who has to listen to the surgeon and staff engage in heated debate about a hockey game. The assistant would ask, for example, why he stayed so thin when he was known to eat any chocolate and sweet treats that anyone ever left in the lunch room. The endo would reply, rather like one’s 14-year-old brother might “Because I’m wonderful” and the assistant would say “Oh yeah, right, because you’re wonderful.” He’d say “Didn’t you know how wonderful I am” and she would say something equally stupid back. Then they got on to their weekend plans and discussed them. Both of them were sharing custody of kids with ex-spouses. They were very engaged in discussion of her fiance, favourite weekend excursions, his wonderfulness, his daughter, blah, blah, blah. Meanwhile, he was digging energetically into my molar’s roots as if he were scraping smooth the walls of a nice hole in the garden. Every once in a while I’d hear “Are you doing OK there, C?” and I’d surprise myself by immediately noticing that they had noticed me. I’d grunt “Ugh, I’ng ooing ine.” And they would immediately continue, laughing and conversing between themselves as if they were out for a jog together. It was all rather annoying.

After all was done, I paid the full bill by Mastercard. They will submit it to the insurance, but I had to pay up front. At least I get the Airmiles. They gave me a cute little case containing a toothbrush, toothpaste, and 4 regular Advils, with a number to call in case of emergency.

Back home, I felt fine until about 8 pm when the freezing came out. From then on, for 12 hours or so, I was in significant pain and scarcely slept at all. I re-played every word of the inane conversation between the endo and his assistant, I cursed him for just giving me just 4 REGULAR ADVILS. I supplemented it with my own meager supply of drugs, and exceeded the recommended daily dosage. Finally I got up and decided to go to work because I couldn’t sleep and I had an important meeting, anyway.

At work, the important meeting was cancelled. Hooray, better late than never! Then I decided to call the dentist and tell him I needed some more significant drugs. I dialed his office – no one there, because it was Friday, and dentists all have 3-day weekends. Called his “emergency” number and eventually someone answered but the connection was bad and he couldn’t hear me. I called back – same thing. He said “I can’t hear you. Call again and I won’t answer and you should leave a message.” I called back and this time there was an automatic message along the lines of “there are no trunk lines available.” I was occupying a small meeting room, so as not to disturb my cubicle neighbours with my dental issues. I had been in pain for 12 hours. I couldn’t be bothered to call him back, wherever he was (probably at a cottage somewhere out of cell range, eating chocolate). So I took some more Advil and eventually went home.

Now I am better, so you don’t need to feel sorry for me. I am just annoyed with that guy, and am thinking of calling him on Monday to express my discontent.

Having written the above boring account of a rather tedious event, I googed some keywords to find something more entertaining to liven up this blog. Googling “stupid dentist” brought me to this skit from the Carol Burnett show.  It is hysterical – I needed kleenex! Watch how the “patient” can’t keep a straight face. I hope you enjoy it as much. It is even better than Mr. Bean at the dentist.

4 thoughts on “Root canal

  1. My endodontist uses Valium as well as a local anesthetic. I wondered why (since the local is already killing the pain, it make the whole experience so quick you wonder what you are paying for). Now I know – no conversation, however banal, can possibly annoy you after an oral dose of 20 mg of valium. I found the discussion of car repairs during cataract surgery while having my right lens vacuumed out of my eye equally unannoying, for the same reason – sedative added to anesthetic. Not only does Valium prevent annoyance, it also prevents embarrassment – during my colonoscopy with Valium (strongly advised by the Doctor – the Valium, I mean, not the colonoscopy), I remember being introduced to the doctor’s assistant (Maria, for those who think memory is impaired by Valium), as she entered the room at my nether end, fully exposed with probe already inserted. The introduction was formal, with appropriate pleasantries on all sides, and no sense of embarrassment. So next time, ask for Valium. I’m sure Dr. B would agree. By the way, if this fails to meet the standards of good taste of your blog, feel free to delete it.

  2. Hmmm. Do tell more. For some reason my doctor hasn’t subjected me to the dreaded colonoscopy. Could it be that I am younger than you, Here and Anon? Or maybe subject to a different provincial medical protocol?

    Seems to me that you are a prime candidate for a position on the Dr. B expert panel. Then I could simply post the question to Dr. B, “How would YOU do a root canal” and then solicit this thoughtful and experienced response. You do make some excellent points that I’ll keep in mind for next time (I have no doubt that there will be a next time).

  3. P.S. DID YOU ENJOY THE VIDEO of harvey Korman and Tim Conway??? I want to know if anyone else was as incapacitated by it as I was.

    • no i was not incapacitated but enjoyed it very much. Since I am sure that we watched every single such skit it felt familiar. Also am I related to here and anon?

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