Warning: This post is not for the denta-phobic. And it definitely may fall under the category of “More than you want to know,” so if you want to believe that I write in a turret all day, better skip this entry.

Last week, on the advice of my dentist, I agreed to have two crowns put on. Why? Because I apparently grind my teeth in my sleep, and I have worn down my molars in the back. So all four lower molars have to be “crowned.”

In any case, I went to the dentist, expecting it to be no big deal. Back in my orthodontics days, I had six teeth pulled, and don’t remember that as being too awful. So anyway, last week I settle into the chair, accept the stuff on a stick that numbs my gums, and prepare for smooth coasting.

The dentist (whom I like a lot) comes in and taps my gums and teeth with something. “Do you feel that?” I shake my head. “Okay, we’re good to go.”

And so she begins to whitttle a pair of perfectly fine, if a little flat, molars down to nubs.

Well. All I can tell you is that I kept thinking of Sydney in that Alias pilot when the mad Chinese guy pulled out her tooth without anesthetic. And I know it’s only a TV show, but I keep thinking that if Syd can sit through that and still urge the guy to “bring it on,” I can sit here and get this tooth filed down.

But I begin to feel something, so I think of Sloane and the Needles of Pain.

And I begin to see little bits of tooth flying around, so I think of Marshall (love him!) drinking the epoxy.

And then I begin to feel more sensations, so I think of Vaughn (sigh) and the Inferno Protocol or whatever it was that was supposed to be soooo painful.

And at some point, I think I yelped. Actually, “yelped” is probably not the exact word, since my mouth was filled with cotton and fingers and drills and vacuums and what not. But it was enough to make the dentist pull back and look at me, her eyes wide above her surgical mask. “Did I hurt you?”

Duh. I didn’t say anything of course–couldn’t–but through sign language I make it clear that I WANT MY IPOD. So I plug it into my ears, thinking that all my favorite songs will drown out the drill and carry me away to a place where even Syd would feel no pain.

Well. Peter Cetera is not good for dentist’s offices; he has no transporting power. Nichole Nordeman, on the other hand, is excellent. At one point I think I was in the Throne Room of heaven, at least until the odor of burning tooth wafted up and entered my nostrils. Bingo, I’m back in the chair. My hands look like they’re directing a symphony, but there’s a lot of clenching and unclenching. And I’m covered in a cold sweat.

I keep thinking Why? I have only one cavity in my entire mouth. I have only eight molars to my name. Why on earth am I doing this?

Because someone said I should. I’m such a sucker.

Well, enough dramatics. Suffice it to say that I now have Two Temporary Teeth and still have go to back and get two more nubs and that means more drills and fingers and vaccums and what not. Next time it’s Nichole Nordeman all the way.

I tell you, it’s enough to make a Baptist yearn for booze .



  1. Leslie


    That sounds so painful.

    I think even the most legalistic Baptist would agree that there is some medicinal quality to alcohol. Ok, maybe not 😉

  2. BJ

    Doggone you, Syd. Your writing is so visual you had me in that chair. NOT a place I want to be.

    Simper a little more next time, won’t you, like the good Baptist girl you are.


  3. dana

    LOL. Hilarious. Even trips to the dentist can be entertaining when you’re writing about it. I guess that’s the writing equivalent of selling ice to an eskimo. Owee, I hate the dentist. 🙁

  4. Anonymous

    Ok, I didn’t make it through the whole story. Sorry. I did grimace for you though. Ugh…I don’t even want to THINK about it. I can’t stand dental floss because of the way it feels, I can’t imagine something like this

  5. Anonymous

    And then you get to pay them $1000 per tooth for the pleasure you described.

  6. Anonymous

    Hmmm…Petra and Josh Groban work great as well. Made we wonder when the tabloids were talking about how Tom Cruise bought Katie a ipod and filled it with music,were there enough songs to get her through her labor as so not to make a sound?

  7. Pam Meyers

    Been there, done that! I have a mouth full of crowns…yep, have had gum surgery, teeth pulled…you name it. And the prepping for the crown is the worst part. I’ve had to ask for potty breaks. Great idea bringing your own music. I’ll have to think about trying that if there’s a next time. And if is the operative word. I’m praying there never is a next time.

  8. Kristy Dykes

    “I tell you, it’s enough to make a Baptist yearn for booze,” you said.

    Or, a Pentecostal!

    I had a crown put on last year because of a cracked tooth. During the whittling, they discovered I needed a root canal too.


    So I get a temp. crown.

    Days later, the temp. crown comes off, and I get the root canal.

    The temp. crown goes back on.

    Days later, the perm. crown is put on. The tech. cracks it.

    So the temp. crown goes back on.

    Days later, I’m in a restaurant with five other couples. Something’s in my throat. It’s a hard colored tortilla chip they decorated the plate with, I think. My tongue feels a cavern…

    …where the temp. crown WAS.

    The temp. crown is now stuck in my throat.

    End of story: I swallowed my crown!

    And nearly choked doing so.

  9. gin-h

    Sounds like you may need a little more anesthetic than Sydney, which in no way makes you wimpy – she’s just really tough. Plus, she probably has a stunt double.

    Hey, I’m feeling for you. Surgery is not fun when you’re not numbed enough – I ended up having a C-section with no anesthetic. I wanted a little more than music though – I can tell you that!

  10. Ane Mulligan

    Better crowns than extraction. I’ve been told I need implants. Yuck. I decided I can do without a couple of molars. So my eyeteeth do the chewing. As long as no one can see when I smile, I’m good to go. I HATE pain. :o)

  11. Amy


    They would so have to put me out for something like that. I had my wisdom teeth out just a year ago, and I could barely handle the whole walking-from-my-car-to-the- chair-to-get-the-laughing-gas-to-get-the-IV thing. Drilling sends me over the edge.

    Let us know how Part II goes!


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