I go through the speech. I don’t know how many times I’ve said it now. Every time I have a new dentist? And he is a good dentist. But he makes me go through it. No, I don’t drink lots of soft drinks. No, I don’t have lots of lollies all day. I just have bad teeth. He’s not sure if he believes me yet, as nice as he is. He will, eventually.
Be not here. I tell myself that as I lie down and tell my brain I don’t feel the needles in my gums. Be elsewhere. This is not your body. You are somewhere else. This is not happening.
And the drills start. It’s just noise, I tell myself. Be not here. Don’t feel that open, sensitive hole. Or the white hot pain from the cold. Be somewhere else. I can’t wait for the drilling to stop. He goes from a fine drill with a high pitched noise to a bigger drill that sounds slower. I don’t like the lower reverberations. And I will it to be over. I cannot wait until I smell the chemical of the polymer telling me that the big, sensitive hole is going to be filled up.
Be not here. How many times have I done this? I guess that I have probably had over 75 fillings done in 10 years. I should be used to it by now. But I remind myself that I’m not here, I’m somewhere else. I smell the chemical stench of the filling and I am so relieved I could cry. The drilling of the empty sensitive hole is done and only once it’s filled will it be drilled again. But I can handle that.
They are curing it now. I wonder if using those curing rods in my mouth is slowly rotting my brain, filling by filling. I wonder if when we finish these fillings if he’ll tell me there are more. Be not here. Be writing. Be swimming. Be outside. Be anywhere but here.
The final drilling and polishing is happening. I stay still, trying not to feel that fine point on my gums. In my mind I am not here, I am already out the door.
He tells me that is it, I can go. My face is still numb but I can no longer feel that gaping hole in my teeth. And I leave knowing that I won’t think about it until it’s a few months before my next check up and then my nerves will kick in again.
I go home. I look at the babies. I wonder if I should be more rigorous with their dental hygiene. I hope that they have their fathers’ teeth and not mine. The adrenalin makes me groggy and a little bit faint. And I return to my body. It’s ok to be here now.