Wednesday, July 05, 2006

A Little Sensitive, Aren't We?

I'm a sensitive guy, and I can prove it. Just hand me any form of ice cream bar or popsicle, and let me have a bite. I'll yelp. Or I'll cringe. And it seems no amount of Sensodyne toothpaste can eliminate the pain. (Although, it does help reduce it.)

I've learned to accept my sensitivity. I've adapted my eating methods to be able to enjoy a bowl of ice cream, for example.

When it comes to fillings, however, I'm a big baby. Oh, I put up with it. Better to do that then end up with a toothache. But it amazes me that in this modern world of medicine, there isn't a painless method of filling a tooth.

Or at least, if there is, no one told my dentist about it.

When it comes time to numb of mouth, just the sight of the needle is enough to...ugh...okay, I won't even talk about it. But it hurts. It hurts a lot. A lot a lot. My hands clutch the arm rests, my muscles stiffen, and I count down the seconds in my head to when it is over.

Thing is, one shot is never enough. I tell the dentist this, too. I say, "Listen, one shot is never enough. So can you give me extra in the first shot so that we don't have to do this again?"

He smiles at me and says, "Well, let's just see how this one works first."

I can tell him how it works. It doesn't. Oh, sure, I could poke a hole through my cheek, and I'm certain my eyeball has gone numb, but as soon as they start drilling, I can feel everything. They might as well be hammering a nail through that tooth.

So, I scream, and they stop drilling. Then the dentist says the silliest thing.

"You feeling that?"

Uh, no. I just screamed to clear the saliva running down my throat is all. Carry on, please.

Of course I'm "feeling that"!

So, out comes the needle, and another ten seconds of horrific pain, followed by another ten minutes of watching the clock to let the anesthetic start working. They come back, and start drilling again. Of course, by this time, the entire side of my face has slid off, I'm quite certain, because if I try to touch myself, I'm not there. But at least the drilling can continue pain free. Well, almost pain free. I still feel pain, but at least by now the pain is less than the pain from another needle poke, so I bear with it.

Why am I telling you all this? Well, if you've read this far, perhaps you can't really relate. Perhaps you're one of those lucky people who can skip the novocaine altogether. But I'm bringing it up because I'm in a predicament.

My son got his first cavity, and he has an appointment in a couple weeks to have it filled. Thing is, he is scared. And just what am I to tell him? What can I do to ease his fears? Truth is, he might not really feel much at all. He might not have inherited my propensity for tooth pain. But then again, he might have.

Do I tell him he'll be fine? That there will just be a tiny pinch at first to numb it up, then it is smooth going? Or do I tell him that he should consider practicing for the pain by driving staples into his own arm?

Poor boy. And what makes it worse is that I'm his father. I mean, if he were just someone else's kid, I could detach my own emotions and think, "Poor boy," and leave it at that. But he is my son, which means if I could, I would die for my son. I would take up his seat in that dentist's chair and put up with the drilling on his behalf.

Problem is, his teeth aren't in my mouth, which means I'm helpless. Kind of like watching the nurse stick a needle in my son's arm for the fifteenth time while trying to draw blood. It is worse on me, I think, than my son.

There is, of course, one plus that is coming out of this. Suddenly my son has become a far more prolific brusher. Too bad that can't undo the cavity that is already there.

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