I lost a filling and had to go to the dentist… which is not something I enjoy doing.
The hygienist seemed to be very nice.
I fidgeted nervously in the dentist chair, anxiously scanning the room for anything that could possibly be used to inflict pain upon me, and admitted to her, “I’m pretty nervous.”
She said, “I understand, Mr. D’Angelo, but you need to relax… I see you’ve wet your pants. Maybe this will help…”
She reached down and applied the oral suction pump to my crotch area.
I said, “I hope you’re gonna sterilize that before you stick it in my mouth!”
She ignored my comment and informed me, “I am going to clean your teeth before the dentist repairs your filling… and there’s nothing to worry about, Mr. D’Angelo, I promise I’ll be gentle with you.”
She reclined my seat all the way, lowering me into a lying position.
When I looked up I saw this seemingly sweet woman come at me with a hooked instrument that, in my frightened eyes, appeared a lot more like she just had a big hook sticking out of her empty sleeve, like a one-armed pirate. She took a swig of rum from a jug, adjusted her eye patch, and started digging for buried treasure between my teeth.
She tugged and yanked at my teeth like she was trying to gaff a tuna, then stopped and said, “Mr. D’Angelo, your gums are bleeding. That means you haven’t been flossing.”
I said, “Really, Captain Hook? And you don’t suppose it has anything to do with that sharp metal instrument that you’ve been stabbing them with for the last twenty minutes, do you?”
The hygienist laughed.
I said, “It’s not funny! I’d like to remind you that this is not an autopsy you’re performing… I’m still alive!”
She said, “I’m sorry if it hurts, but you have plaque.”
I said, “Plaque? I have plaque? I’ll tell you what, forget about the damn plaque and I’ll give you a friggin’ trophy if you’ll stop hurting me!”
The hygienist worked on me for a couple more minutes, then got-up and said, “I’ll be right back, Mr. D’Angelo… You can get up and rinse.”
I said, “No, I cannot get up and rinse…Not when you have my chair reclined in the space shuttle launch position.”
She said, “Do your best.”
I said, “Are you kidding? I can’t do three sit-ups with the help of a Craftmatic Adjustable Bed!”
She left the room and I was stuck in the prone position with a mouth-full of blood and crud when I looked up and thought to myself, “Hey, maybe that’s why they put those two handles on the sides of that bright light.”
The hygienist came back in the room, saw me trying to yank myself upright, and yelled “Hey, don’t break that light, that’s an expensive piece of equipment!”
I argued, “At a hundred and fifty bucks a cleaning you can afford another one,” but then let go of the overhead light.
She seemed annoyed and said, “Look, if you’re unable to sit up, we’ll have to use this,” and she proceeded to stick a Sears Shop-Vac in my mouth that immediately attached itself to the soft flesh under my tongue and started performing liposuction on the inside of my lip.
I complained, “Hey! This thing is sucking all the moisture out of my body! Who cares if I have nice teeth if my head looks like a sun-dried tomato when you’re done with me?”
She ignored me and said, “OK, now we’re going to need to take some x-rays.”
I said, “Oh, I’m not too sure about having x-rays.”
She said, “You have nothing to worry about, Mr. D’Angelo… the x-rays are perfectly safe.”
And, just to prove to me how totally harmless the x-rays were, she proceeded to drag a 700 lb. lead vest into the room and lifted it onto my chest with the help of a crane operator… “Drop it here, Tony!”
Then, in a continuing effort to reassure me how incredibly harmless the x-rays were, just before she took the pictures she dove behind a cinderblock wall lined with sand-bags…
… and came back in dressed in a HazMat suit like she was a member of the Chernobyl clean-up team.
I said, “You covered my chest with a lead vest, then took an x-ray of my head. That’s like wearing a bullet-proof vest and getting shot in the face. What’s the point?”
This is when the dentist walked in holding a huge hypodermic needle that looked more like a javelin.
I said, “Excuse me, Ahab, what are you planning to do with that harpoon you have in your hand?”
He said, “This? I’m going to plunge this long, sharp sliver of pointed metal deep into your sensitive gums so that you won’t feel any discomfort.”
I said, “Oh. That makes a lot of sense.”
I reconsidered and said, “Forget the Novocain, doc, I want the gas instead.”
Basically, the way the gas works is that you still feel the pain, you just don’t give a shit anymore.
He administered the gas and I was lying there, incapacitated and limp, like a drunken jellyfish, while the dentist rifled through my wallet and the hygienist browsed through the photos on my cell phone… and I was helpless to do anything about it.
Then I watched the dentist start to put on a pair of rubber gloves and got even more nervous.
I said, “Excuse me doc, but what are the rubber gloves for?”
He said, “I’m going to work on your tooth.”
I said, “You do plan on approaching my tooth through the mouth, right?”
I said, “I just want to make sure that you’re not putting on the gloves so you can try and sneak-up on the tooth from another angle… you know… the long way.”
He said, “Of course not.”
I said, “I’m sorry, but the last time my doctor put on a rubber glove I had a very unpleasant experience.”
Next the dentist looked into my mouth and said, “OK Mr. D’Angelo, please open wide.”
I opened my mouth for him.
He said, “Good, now a little wider, please.”
I opened my mouth some more.
The dentist said, “OK, how about a little wider?”
I opened my mouth as far as I possibly could.
He said, “Can you open-up just a little wider for me?”
I snapped, “Are you a dentist or a lion tamer?… Is it necessary for you to stick your entire head into my mouth?”
The dentist said, “I need you to open a bit wider.”
I said, “If I open my mouth any wider I’m going to swallow my own head. Will it make it easier for you to work on my mouth if I’m able to turn my head inside out?… Is that what you’re trying to achieve?”
He drilled for a while, then stopped and pointed something into my mouth that shot a blast of air into the new hole he drilled in my tooth.
I almost hit the ceiling.
“OWWWWWW!!! What the hell was that?”
“Relax, Mr. D’Angelo. That was just a little air to clean out the inside of your tooth.”
I said, “No!… This is just air!” gesturing to the empty contents of the room. ‘Just’ air is not supposed to hurt… but if that air is going 2000 miles per hour and it’s directed at a raw nerve, that’s a totally different story, Dr. Mengele!”
Shortly thereafter the dentist had his fingers, several instruments, the suction device, a couple wads of cotton, and a bunch of clamps, all inside my mouth at the same time.
My mouth had more junk in it than New Jersey landfill and I was afraid the dentist was going to randomly take something off his desk and say, “Hmmmm… let’s see if this will fit in his mouth.”
It was at this point that the dentist decided to have a conversation with me.
“So, Mr. D’Angelo, you lost a filling…. What were you eating?”
In a muffled voice I barely managed to answer, “Why don’ yo’ stick yo’ fing’rs a lil’ f’rther down my throat and find’out for y’rself?”
While the dentist was working directly over my face I basically had two options available to me.
I could close my eyes or keep them open.
I don’t know about you, but I have trouble keeping my eyes closed when there is a strange man hovering above me… and that guy just got me high, has me on my back, and has repeatedly asked me to keep my mouth open for him.
No thank you.
So I decided to keep my eyes open… which meant that I was staring directly into the dentist’s hairy nostrils… and he must have had a cold because he had a runny nose and it was really grossing me out.
I finally couldn’t stand it anymore.
I took the suction device out of my mouth and stuck it right up his nose…
“Here buddy… you need this more than I do.”