That was me yesterday. I had a rather awful dentist experience. Woe was me.
(Note I know I am being an absolute baby here, but let me have my moment, ok?) (Also note, I have good teeth, but there's always that one that is the rebellious one.)
For a couple of years, now, I have been fighting a troublesome tooth. I'd had a root canal done on it long ago and then it was crowned, and it was fine for many years, until it started acting up. Very painful infections kept cropping up, every 6 months or so, for which I have a standing prescription of antibiotics (which I don't like taking) but I thought I could hold off the inevitable until I could get home to my dentist in Austin to get it fixed. I love my dentist in Austin. I am never afraid of going to see her. She rocks, and I have never felt any pain with her, either. Not once.
Time ran out this week, and the tooth got infected again, and the Norwegian dentist basically said "It's now or never, you are going to damage the bone if you continue". The options are: pull it or do another root canal. Then they told me why pulling it isn't REALLY an option, it's more of a last resort. Fuck, ok, fine, let's do the root canal AGAIN. I really wanted to hold off, but it seems I can't anymore.
Some notes on the difference between dentists in Norway and in the US:
- There is no dental insurance in Norway. It is all paid for on a cash basis at the dentist after treatment. It is, of course, expensive.
- The dentists here tend to be a bit rough, but maybe that is just in comparison to my dentist in Austin, who has the best chair-side manner EVER and is so skilled and practiced, she's utterly amazing. It just feels more rough and tumble and sort of butcher shop style here, while in the States it's all comfy chairs and calming colors and soothing hygienists.
- They don't like giving you pain pills in Norway. 'Take a paracet", they say.
- Nitrous (oh I do love nitrous) is a very expensive extra option that needs a pre-consultation and costs the earth. It's basically for wimps. My Austin dentist uses it rather liberally, it seems, and it costs $75 or so and is so much fun. No nitrous for me in Norway.
I don't have any particular fear of the dentist, beyond the usual "This sucks", but I had a bad feeling about this appointment going in. The shots weren't as bad as I had heard (which was good) but maybe the dentist didn't use as much novocaine as he should've because midway through I STARTED FEELING EVERYTHING. White hot metallic agony that ran straight through my brain. I could hardly move it hurt so bad but I think they noticed my altered breathing and perhaps my eyes which might have rolled back in my head. I finally managed to gasp out a tortured "Ow" through all the instruments they had sticking out of my mouth. They paused, then the dentist actually ASKED me if I wanted another shot, he said he was 'almost finished' and he grudgingly gave me another dose as if I was some sort of wimp or something, and kind of 'harrumped' as he waited for it to work again. Like novocaine is so rare and precious and I had used my allotted dose and what sort of lame ass was I to complain that it hurt? IT HURT MOTHERFUCKER, IT HURT A LOT.
This dentist was also different from my one in the States as it just felt rougher. I mean, he just bored into my head and scattered my old crown to the winds, didn't even bother trying to make a smaller hole and seeing what's what, nope, just destroy and tear down. CROWNS ARE EXPENSIVE. He could have at least tried to mitigate the damage (I have had a root canal done on a crowned tooth before, so I know it can be done.) And maybe it was different drills and stuff but jesus GOD was it loud and grindy. I felt like a jackhammer was in my face. I was listening to Louis CK on my iPod, hoping to drown out the noise, but it was so loud Louis got drowned out. Next time, Metallica. LOUD.
So after he was done, he very roughly filled the tooth (feels like a little rock is shoved in there) and then gave me a detailed rundown of the cost, what it does and doesn't cover (it basically only covers the hole he has created really, and does NOT cover the final filling or the new crown which he destroyed) and a prescription for antibiotics. I staggered out of there, shaking so hard the receptionist made me sit down. Then I paid a massive amount of money for what was, in effect, torture, at least as viewed by the UN or any other rational governing body in Western civilization. I have to go back at least three times, for him to finish what he started (the tooth is packed with medicine and whatever) and then to replace the crown he destroyed.
I took a cab home. Could not face the bus.
Got home, and as the novocaine started wearing off, it touched off a migraine. A horrid visual migraine. Couldn't see, head was splitting. I went to bed at 9pm. Woke up at 1am from the pain, and realized the doctor had given me NO pain pills nor instructions for same. (My dentist in Austin gave me codeine if I sneezed. I AM HOMESICK, PEOPLE.) Taking today off work.
(My friend Karen texted me this morning, she, too had a toothache, went to the dentist, her wisdom tooth was acting up, they pulled it and she was off and on her way to work with a mouth full of blood in less than half an hour. I feel like such a wimp compared to her, but I guess in my defense, hello, DRILLING. Anyhow, Karen, you are a super stud.)