TortureI would not make a very good prisoner of war. I learned this over the weekend when I needed to have some emergency dental work, possibly the result of a bad filling just before I left Portland. (Evil Willamette Dental!) Or perhaps the result of some bad Altoids judgment during my early college years. Either way, I found myself in increasingly excruciating pain last week, culminating in frantic calls to every dentist in the local phone book. The most wonderful Dr. Rosemichelle Sorvino eventually performed a therapeutic pulpotomy, and I'm now feeling great.
But first, to identify the problematic tooth, there was a methodic procedure only the Marquis de Sade would love. Remember that scene in Buffy the Vampire Slayer where Faith described the four kinds of pain? They were hot, cold, sharp, and uh, something else. Well, that set was clearly beta tested in this very New Jersey endodonture clinic. First, we tap on every tooth with the metal mirror. Does any one tooth hurt more than the others? Oh, they all hurt? Well, that's no good. Let's move on to the biting. Let's try each tooth. Still nothing? Hmmm . . . Then we move on to cold. Tell me when this freezing gel starts to bother the tops of your molars. Well, we've had several promising yelps, but let's try to narrow it down to just one tooth with hot.
Hot. Oh, hot and I became friends over the two hours we spent together. A barbecue lighter was applied to this clay-like substance that was then molded, one at a time, on each tooth. Only on Day Two of the Weekend of Pain did hot finally reveal the pesky top molar that was causing all the trouble. Thank you, my dear friend hot.
Through some twisted Stockholm Effect I've grown to adore the endodontist who did all of this, probably because I haven't felt any pain for thirty hours now.
The most painful part? My health insurance doesn't start until Monday.