“Ouch, ouch! You’re biting on my finger!”
I had absentmindedly closed my mouth while my dentist’s left forefinger was still inside. “Oh-wee,” I apologized, mouth half-open. I felt my face getting warm. Great, I’m blushing!
“Do you have low tolerance for pain?” the pretty dentist asked. She has been peering down my gaping mouth preparing to extract a molar gone ugly. On the side table, her tools of trade—pointed and metallic (they should really try to make them look friendlier)—were lined up awaiting utility.
“I don’t know. I’ve never compared with other people,” I mumbled, starting to feel the anesthesia’s effect inside my mouth. “But, generally, men have a lower pain threshold than women, right?”
She nodded. “You should feel the numbness on your right jaw and tip of your tongue soon.”
But I wasn’t feeling it after a few minutes and told her so. She grabbed one of the screw-driver-looking implements and nudged my tooth with it, testing if my nerves had gone to sleep yet.
“Awww!” I jerked in pain, a bit embarrassed that I might have provided yet another empirical proof that men are cry-babies. Maybe she was just avenging her bitten finger?
“That hurt?” she asked—rhetorically, I decided. She injected more anesthesia, and I began to fear memory loss. After a few minutes, I was starting to feel numb where she said I should. Her gloved hands set to work with decisive swiftness.
A colleague of hers stood behind her observing. My dentist was switching from tool to tool, making sure that the tooth was loose just right before she lifted it with the forceps.
“You’re so patient,” commented observing dentist. “If I were doing that, I’d use the forceps to pull the tooth the first chance I got.”
Thank God you’re not doing this one! The two ladies began a little discussion on extraction techniques, making reference now and then to a professor in dental school, throwing in terms like “RF,” “laxator,” “elevator,” “panoramic x-ray.”
It was a bit discomforting to hear them disagreeing on the proper way of extracting tooth—my tooth! But an audible crunch, a pull, and the sight of a bloodied tooth exiting my mouth ended my panic before it even started.
“Nice! Sarap!” said observing dentist. Some people get a high out of writing or doing techie stuff; these girls get euphoric over pulling teeth! I suspect that, given the chance and granted I would be insane enough to let them, they’d gladly extract every one of my teeth until all I had left were gums.
I gave my hard-working dentist a thumbs-up. The piece of misery which dentists a few years ago had refused to extract because they weren’t sure they could do it right (but they didn’t say that exactly) now laid on the side table, disconnected from me forever. Thanks to pretty, patient dentist.
I mumbled my thank-yous, sounding like a stroke victim in speech therapy. Not the coolest way to leave a good impression, I know. Then again, neither was biting a finger.