As I slowly wandered towards Dr. Booher’s Dental Clinic amidst snowflakes the size of overgrown mosquitoes, my attempt to delay the inevitable was certainly a lost cause. I thought of calling the clinic and cancelling my appointment; an appointment that was to pluck a pair of wisdom teeth from my mouth.
During a previous visit to the fine doctor, I was notified that the teeth living in the depths of my mouth had yet to become problematic, but to stay on the safe side “they should come out.” This was determined after a futuristic x-ray machine rotated 360 degrees around my head; the machine’s sound was something I would relate to as a mechanical murmur, almost like a robotic child humming. The sound was haunting, likely more of a mental strain, as I knew that because I was getting this high-tech x-ray something had to be amiss. Actually, something was to become missing…my wisdom teeth!
Back to my walk to the dentist’s office, the laboratory of pain. I had the strange feeling inside of me that made me feel like a convicted criminal walking the final hallway towards a gas chamber. I felt slightly sick to my stomach as I dragged my feet in the direction of the office that was now in my vision, appearing as more of a ghoulish backwoods cabin by this point. I had 12 minutes until I was expected, I wanted another hour.
The old door to the office opened quicker than I wanted it to. A gust of wind raced in around my feet, sweeping me in much more rapidly than I required. The receptionist, with a brilliant smile, greeted me politely, seemingly knowing my discomfort. A high-speed whistle from some air-powered dental tool screamed from somewhere in the back of the clinic; the scent of latex gloves and distasteful fluoride hung in the air like smog in Toronto on a July afternoon. The barrage of sensations added to my discomfort as a friendly dental assistant met me and led me towards a soft chair that once again reminded me of a gas chamber.
I sat in the chair, making an effort to appear manly in front of the kind dental assistant; it didn’t last too long. I glanced out the window to my left and watched the snowflakes as they gathered on the windowsill like fans settling in seats at a baseball game. Then the dentist marched in, his cowboy boots striking shrilly on the firm linoleum with every step on his way to my side. He began to talk.
His dialect was soothing, reassuring, yet menacing; I knew he had done this speech a thousand times. No one could calm me down at this point…I should have rescheduled!
Before I knew it I had two Q-Tips stuffed in my upper lip, making me look like a foolish walrus. A numbing substance was on the ends of the Q-Tips, its taste was tolerable, and eventually my gums began to tingle ever so slightly. The doctor and his assistant continued talking, probably to me, but my gaze moved back to the bystanders on the windowsill. I needed anything to clear my mind from the stainless steel syringe that Dr. Booher was preparing behind me. Every sound was now magnified; the “ting” from the syringe being set onto the counter reverberated through my molars.
Out with the Q-Tips and then came the sharp syringe. The numbing substance on the Q-Tips seemed to have worked as the syringe quickly plunged into my upper gum, directly above one of the soon-to-be-free wisdom teeth. To my relief, the pain wasn’t bad at all. Then doc stuck me in the palate of my mouth; the slight crunch curled my toes, not in pain but merely due to the sound, as the spectators on the windowsill began doing the “wave” from their seats, realizing the real action was about to begin. A drop of the solution from within the syringe landed on my tongue; the bitter flavour tasted like a mouthful of quarters from a casino. I managed to keep down my lunch, even though it no longer wanted to remain in my belly. My eyes began to water…no more manliness.
The doctor continued his wizardry with the syringe on the opposite side of my mouth; same crunching sound, same toe curl. He then sat back, continuing to try to relax me with his tranquil voice, as the second high-powered numbing substance began crawling through my mouth like a lost spider. I was officially frozen; a bead of droll running through my beard notified me so.
The “wave” had long run its course from the personified flakes to my left; they now stood, excited at the sight of the large yanking tools that were next into my mouth. I’m sure the tools had a metallic flavour, much like those filthy quarters, but the bitterness from the numbing solution still laid claim on my tongue. The dentist was then in a concentrated disposition, one that I could appreciate.
He twisted, wrenched, and gently tugged at the first tooth; the crunching sound of the syringe entering my palate had nothing on the macabre sound of my tooth’s roots being displaced from my jawbone. But, before I could even curl my toes, one was out, and Dr. Booher had moved over to the other side of my mouth. My chilled fans seemed to be disappointed from my lack of reaction from the first extraction.
A hint of blood had now replaced the bitterness inside my mouth as the doctor continued on at his controlled pace. I closed my eyes as tight as I could as the root-on-bone sound was back like an annoying song from the ‘80s. Then as quickly as the other tooth had dismounted from my gums like an out-of- sync gymnast, there were two teeth missing from my oral cavity. The doctor had finished his business in a manner that was physically painless, but mentally tarnishing, at least to my overactive mind’s eye.
The doctor left my side in order to tend to his next victim, I mean patient. I was left alone with the dentist’s kind assistant as my fans slowly started filing out of the windowsill stadium, disappointed by the minimal amount of anguish dealt to me.
I was prepped to leave with gauzes, some light reading, and my prescription for some mind-altering painkillers in tote. The chair I was sitting in electrically lifted me into an upright position as the gentle assistant removed the drenched gauzes from my mouth and quickly replaced them with soft, clean ones. I thought I was fine as I pushed myself to my feet, but a sudden rush of blood to my brain caused the room to spin like a carousel. I collapsed back into the chair quicker than I had stood; snowflakes began returning to their seats. Cold sweat took over my bodily functions as the assistant did her best to once again relax me. She opened the window, to cool the air, knocking the remaining onlookers from their seats.
The fine doctor returned to see me in my sweaty state. His immediate action was to place a cool, damp cloth upon my reddened forehead. The chill almost immediately settled me down, and within minutes I was back on my feet, and paying the still smiling receptionist at the front of the office.
The pain I was expecting once the freezing pulled back from my mouth did not come. I want to thank the painkillers for this, but I know it is primarily due to the kind hands of Dr. Booher and his fabulous staff. Thanks doc!