Call Me Mary Jo Buttafuoco

When the dentist told me I had four cavities, I didn’t believe her. I know I eat a lot of chocolate chip cookies, but I also brush my teeth religiously. She thinks the root cause may be the grinding of my teeth every night. I guess I’m chomping away at those chocolate chip cookies even in my dreams. My gums are receding as a result; gaps are growing in-between my teeth and the gums. Particles got embedded and, despite the brushing, have inevitably led to FOUR CAVITIES. Ugh. I don’t think insurance covers cavities. I’ve got a mortage and student loans. I can’t afford cavities. I don’t remember the last time I had a cavity. It must have been back in the day when I never saw any bills and they went straight to Mom’s expenditures…along with the four embarrassing years of braces.

The dentist took care of two of the smaller cavities two weeks ago when I had my cleaning. She saved the two big ones for today. I’m usually not a baby when it comes to pain. I like to think I can take it like a man, but I was a complete whimperer today. With a Q-tip, she rubbed numbing gel on my lower left gum and my upper right gum–opposite sides of my mouth. Then she took out this super long hypodermic needle. As she forced the anesthesia into my gums, I clutched the sides of my chair and whimpered.

“I’m sorry,” she said. “I know, the gums are sensitive.” While she continued to inject the serum and I continued to feel the pain, I kept wondering if this was necessary. What if she simply filled the cavity…no anesthesia. How bad could it be?

I dosed while she worked away, filling the two cavities. I thought the worst was over after the injections. Not so. When she was all done, she filled a dixie cup with mouthwash and let me rinse off. My mouth, lips, and face were numb. I tilted my head to fill my mouth with the mouthwash. I pursed my lips together to swoosh the mouthwash and release it into the basin, but missed entirely. A mouthful of mouthwash landed smack in the middle of the mirror. I was shocked; I had lost control of my mouth movements. I tried again. This time, I concentrated and aimed directly for the basin. No go. Straight into the mirror. I wiped my face and looked around to make sure no one was watching me make a mess.

The dentist came to get me and escorted me to the reception area. “It will take about an hour or more for the numbness to completely go away.”

I conversed with the receptionist about scheduling a consultation with the doctor for a night guard, but my words were smooshed. My lips were restrained. I couldn’t move them properly. The bottom left half of my mouth moved while the rest of my lips didn’t. This is what Mary Jo Buttafuoco must’ve been like after Amy Fisher shot her because Amy was having an affair with her husband Joey.

The numbing sensation took between two to three hours to go away. Just in time for another chocolate chip cookie.

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