In hindsight, that TWANG I felt while the dentist drilled into my partially numbed skull was when I should have raised my hand. Or punched him in the nose. But since I'm prone to giving the patriarchy the benefit of the doubt, I did nothing but submit to the drill, baby, drill.
The second clue that Something Was Rotten In The State of Toothmark was when medicine-drenched cotton balls were stuffed into the gaping hole that used to be my cheekbone.
I was cranked into an upright position and firmly exhorted to sit still and not swallow, DO.NOT.SWALLOW.
Of course, what I heard was: "We've just filled your mouth with poison. GOOD LUCK WITH NOT DYING!"
And then the good doctor and his efficacious assistant scurried off to another patient while I sat alone in a quiet panic. I told myself not to salivate so I wouldn't need to swallow. DO.NOT.SALIVATE. Spoiler alert: salivary glands do not take kindly to orders.
Do you know how hard it is not to swallow when Niagara Falls is pouring into your mouth? It's like dry drowning, if such a thing exists. My only option was to drool all over that humiliating baby bib they tie around your neck.
"Georgia On My Mind" was piping through the overhead speakers. You know, soothing music to keep the masses from PANICKING OH MY GOD MY JAW IS DISSOLVING.
I hate that song now. Just an old sweet song keeps Georgia on my mind? Yeah right. More like an old sweet tooth keeps drill-a on my maxilla.
When the assistant came back to check on me she called me a "CHAMPION SALIVATOR" which was NO COMFORT AT ALL. Nor did it win me any prizes. On the bright side, I didn't swallow poison. Soooo.... winning?!
Then there was more drilling and more smoke spiraling up out of my mouth and flecks of tooth flying in all directions. It was basically the Battle of Waterloo going on in there. I closed my eyes and said my final prayers. I said goodbye to my children. I apologized to my dogs for not giving them more treats.
And then the dentist was like: "You're all set."
What?! I'm alive?! I survived.That was my prize. Well, that plus a bottle of Norco.
Guess how long it took for the searing pain to stop smarting? Yep. Two weeks. Just in time to come back in and get the permanent crown cemented into my head. Because that is so exactly how my life goes.
I don't mind telling you that I cried like a baby the second time around. No, really. They had to stop everything, sit me up and offer tissues until I could pull myself together.
Here's the thing: I've birthed five humans. I know pain. But this pain? It was unreasonable. I mean, when you push seven pounds of baby out of your body, you expect it to hurt, ya know? But one tiny tooth RUINING MY LIFE FOR WEEKS? That's nope. That's what I call Nope-Pain.
Here's what's crazy: three days after the permanent crown was in, the pain magically disappeared. All of it.
I could finally chew on that side of my mouth like a normal human. No more gnawing at steak with my front teeth. No more nibbling at soft foods like a geriatric squirrel. I finally had a properly functioning mandible.
It was GLORIOUS.
And the heavens opened and all the angels and saints rejoiced for the woman who forgot her anguish because of her joy that her new porcelain tooth had been born into the world.
Now, I'm recommending my dentist to everyone I know because oh my word he's not the patriarchy, he's a superhero. The Tooth Liberator, if you will.
He will free you from your miserable banana diet and liberate you to steak and nachos! He will restore all mandibles unto himself! He even swoops in singing hymns! "CROWN THEM WITH MANY CROWNS!"
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some granola cereal to enjoy.