I’ve decided on a new approach to life, that of viewing everything potentially unpleasant as A New Experience. And they don’t come much more unpleasant, do they, than root canal treatment? For that, O Best Beloved, was the experience which dominated this wet and windy morning – or at least one hour, twenty minutes of it. And the couple of hours beforehand spent in dismal contemplation, and the couple of hours after till my jaw thawed out, by which time it was afternoon and the sun had come out.
But to the treatment. I’ve had this before, of course, over the years. But today was the first time I’ve had it done with what felt like a latex hanky draping my mouth. It was, apparently, tucked into a metal clamp round the tooth to be treated and arranged in such a fashion as to prevent any gubbins from the procedure going down my throat, while – and this was the important bit – preventing any of my bacteria-laden saliva from contaminating the growing canal in my tooth.
At first I thought, in a tragic sort of way, that I might suffocate. The smell of rubber was not reassuring, and as it sealed off my mouth I forgot that I had a nose which would still function. But I have to admit that in the end it was easier, once I had learned the spasmodic but miniscule movements which would enable swallowing while still breathing. I didn’t have to worry about what was going down with the spit, and my tongue was tucked away from the horrors of the “hot instrument” which was going to “burn away” the surplus rubber filling protruding above the nerve-canal when he’d filled it. (“He” is my 16-year-old dentist)
Ok, maybe it was my fault for asking to be kept informed of what was going on. As I said, it was my tooth. But the hot thing and the smoke and the smell did worry me somewhat, and I did have a brief over-imaginative moment wondering what happened if his hand slipped. Too much hot rubber in the mouth – the mind, dear reader, boggled. And now I've found this video which shows me just what it all looked like - except that my rubber dam was, I think, fawn.
However, all is, so far, well. My jaw is returned to me, and I am as yet drug-free. Next appointment will involve the green gunk, the impression-taking stuff – but it’s not for over a month. Much can happen in a month. And here’s to the child-dentist of Dunoon…