There are many things you don’t want to hear when you’re at the dentist’s office, such as:
“Do you smell something burning?”
“You look like a Smurf.”
“Mr. Johnson, the dentist will see you now.”
Well, unless your name is not Mr. Johnson, in which case you don’t mind hearing that because it’s not you who is about to have to go back and be tortured. You can go back to reading that Good Housekeeping from 1987 and hoping they never actually call your name.
I heard all those things and much more, in no particular order, during my latest trip to the dentist’s office. I can explain all of it except for the burning smell. The ladies working up front in the reception area asked that question, so I figured it wasn’t a usual burning smell like a drill gone haywire. It might have been the friction caused by my gripping the chair so tightly. I do that during a normal trip to the dentist. But this wasn’t a normal trip. Actually, very few things I do are normal.
For one, I was having to get a crown because apparently some dentist I had as a kid used Silly Putty or heat duct tape or something to fix one of my teeth. And while heat duct tape can fix dang near anything, it only holds up for about 30 years on a tooth.
I didn’t even really know what a crown was besides something Jack broke when that Jill chick shoved him down the hill. (I know they say he fell down, but they’re re-opening the case.) But I knew it was something that would require novacaine and a ton of laughing gas.
Unfortunately, I think I’ve grown about as resistant to laughing gas as Rush Limbaugh is to hydrocodone, so I was all too aware when the dentist started hovering over me with some cross between a caulking gun and an AK-47. I was already freaked out and then I heard “oops.” There are hardly any good oopses (or is it oopsies?), but any oops at a dentist’s office can’t be good. And then I felt some substance hit my cheek.
“I think we had a gum explosion,” I thought I heard. I try to floss regularly and rinse often, so my gums do not need to be exploding. I pictured blood gushing and my dying right there in that chair of blood loss. I began to feel faint until I saw him examine his caulking gun/AK47 and realized he said “gun explosion.”
Unfortunately, there was still an issue – the gunk on the side of my face. It must have been some hardcore gunk because his assistants began scrubbing the side of my face with alcohol, petroleum jelly, sulfuric acid and weapons-grade plutonium. I may not have to shave the right side of my face for a couple of decades.
To make matters worse, the two ladies scrubbing my face were giggling.
“Wa ho honey?” I asked. For those who don’t speak novacaine, that’s “What’s so funny?”
“Um, you look like a Smurf.”
The blue stuff did finally come off a few hours later at home after my own little Smurfette got hold of my face. She giggled, too.
I guess all things, I’d rather look Smurfy than have a gum explosion. Actually, I’d just as soon not have anything else explode in a dentist’s or doctor’s office when I’m there. Let’s keep explosions to where I’m used to them – the kitchen.
Chris Johnson is an independent correspondent. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.