Thursday, March 13, 2014

Dentistry Can Be Funistry.

A few weeks ago, I had to get Oral Surgery Extreme for the first time. It was a procedure I never even knew existed. It was so unheard of I had to go to the special dental God of teeth in the far off land of Glendale, California. I mean, I have had some pretty bad experiences at the dentist prior to this. When I was a kid, I had to get 4 teeth pulled to make room for awesome braces. It didn't feel oh-so spectacular yanking them out all at once and I might've been a little theatrical with my reaction. So much so the overweight assistant thought a soothing approach to this would be to sit on me. In which case, she went and sat on me. So serene. Later in my teens, my stepmom found a great dentist in the nostalgic neighborhood of Forest Hills that I grew up in who accepted her plan. On the day of my appointment, we walked into an apparent 1960's nuclear fallout shelter: Mint green walls, ceilings and floors, dental instruments that have been dental instruments during the Kennedy administration and a man about 8,070 years old with round, black rimmed glasses thicker than his own head. Needless to say, I grew a bouffant. No, needless to say, I freaked out and never went back to that guy. These days I'm usually not that miffed by the idea of going to the dentist and try to go once every other month as a precautionary measure so that I never need a root canal again. Not because it's painful, but because it's expensive. Fear of the dentist should never be so crippling that you turn into someone walking around looking like a pirate on purpose. But when my new special super dentist looked at my x-ray and explained the reality of the situation in utmost detail, fear started to creep up on me and I slowly realized that this was not going to be fun:

Dentist: Yep, you have a serious infection in there. If you wait too long you're going to end up in the Emergency Room.
Candice's Brain: Real life stuff. Not Instagram. Not to-do list of going to Target and buying 4 bananas and a juice.
Dentist: You can either get the tooth pulled and then get an implant or we can go and do gum surgery where we slice your gums, pull them back and scoop out the infection.
Candice's Brain: Wait, this is still real life stuff and not Twitter?
Dentist: Your insurance covers 80%. Come back in 4 hours and we'll do the surgery because it's your best option.

Oh no, I've entered the realms of real life. I've never heard of such a medical operation of sorts. What the hell was it? Where did this come from? What if my face caves in? What if I feel this scoopage he spoke of? What the hell am I going to do in Glendale for 4 hours? Who are you?

It was also an hour procedure. You can't panic in those situations because it serves absolutely no purpose to do so. You just have to tell yourself that in two hours you will be home on the internet stalking your ex and everything will be okay. I knew the part where they would scoop my huge infection out would be pretty grueling. So soon after the surgery began and I started to hear a bone located in my face make a noise, that's when I knew I had to focus on some other things. It's times like this when you really have to channel the goofy in you. As a person with a much active imagination, it's no wonder I've had anxiety since I was 8. Thankfully through the years I have come up with some tactics to calm my mind when it gets a little too frenzied.

Sometimes when I'm in the dentist chair I like to pay extra close attention to the music they are playing and start humming while also making "ow" noises. Like my own musical masterpiece theatre of pain. Which is definitely annoying to everyone in the vicinity of my face. My dentist in New York would put on Adam Ant and Depeche Mode the whole time in order to distract me. Which was great because it was like having a New Wave party in my mouth. Truth is no matter what dentist office you're at, you will hear a Phil Collins song 9 times. I can't listen to "In the Air Tonight" because it makes me think of the time I focused on it during a root canal and changed the words to "In my root tonight". So there goes that classic number.

Contrary to popular tooth belief, sitting around for an hour getting your face drilled can get dull. Sometimes when I get too bored I like to open my eyes and stare at the assistant. I'd imagine it would be super creepy so I make sure I do it. I mean, pretend you're her and lying before you is this stranger person with her mouth ajar and blood shooting out of her face just gazing blankly right into your eyes. Pretty creepy, right?
Definitely do it.

Have fun and a real good time and do what I do and text your dentist. Always voice your concerns.
When you're a neurotic, you should get real chill with your doctors. Be friendly because then you're not a patient anymore with a concern, you're a pal in need of advice. They usually provide an emergency contact number, so go ahead and use it because it's there. If I am experiencing something out of the ordinary, I must have a professional tell me, with all of his professional expertise, that I am nuts, professionally. Here's an example from EXPERIENCE:


See? All good.

You did your deed of not being able to swallow while choking on your own spit and having to listen to Another Day in Paradise repeatedly for an hour, you deserve a reward. Being that I live in sunny California and I like optimism, I feel as though a positive outcome can be always obtained through an experience of something less than pleasant. That's why while you still have novocaine in your face and can't feel it, you should go ahead pierce it. Especially because the 90's are cool again.
When I had a filling done at 14 years old, I couldn't feel my left nostril for hours. To make the best of the situation I shoved a safety pin into my nose and adorned it with a large Queens girl sized hoop earring. I gleefully galloped into the living room to show my dad thinking he'd be like "Ah cool Candice, you just saved $40 and a trip to St. Marks because you're so savvy. I'm so proud because you save me money, precious daughter." Instead I got "You fucking kidding me with that hoop?! It better be fake. You know really now Candice. Take that shit out of your nose or you can live with your mother." Ah, dads. So cute. I still have a nose ring 17 years later so pierce your face or do something productive like practice mixed martial arts with some strangers while you're all numb.

Now back to my epic procedure. See this idiot in the picture. That's what half my face looked like the day after.

If my Uncle Sal saw me he would've said "Ey, what's wrong with your face? You move to Hollywood to get plastic surgery like those women on that show with the faces and the lips with the head and the eyes? If you did, your doctor was cock-eyed." I was crookedly swollen for 5 days. My left eye looked as if it was being eaten alive by my ever growing cheek. My upper lip was finally as pouty as my bottom one leaving me looking as if I was Lana Del Rey having a stroke. Good look. But anything's better than looking like a pirate on purpose, I suppose.

I ended up getting 8 stitches which would've been pretty badass but it's in my mouth and no one cares. This will still not stop me from going to the dentist and also texting him because the reality is: I rather have 20 dental assistants all over 8,070 years old sit on me at one time than have to pay for a root canal.