Oral Torture

Mouths are our ultimate pleasure orifice – reigning the title of being able to do anything and everything that other places can’t. Eyes don’t kiss and ears don’t eat and mouths can….well let’s just keep this PG.

It was when I was enjoying one of the joys that having a mouth warrants you i.e. munching on a medium-well grilled beef fillet (sorry vegans and vegetarians), when a striking pain shot through one of my left molars all the way to my ear.

A fluke – obviously. For my teeth would never turn on me – I drink milk – in coffee form, I own (and rarely use) my water pick, my sink looks like a cocktail bar of various mouth washes in all colours, and of course, I brush with my nifty toothbrush that smiles at me when I’ve dedicated two full minutes to oral vibration.

This must be some sort of mistake. I cut another hearty piece of beef and send it straight to the location of my fact finding mission.

Oh the pain.

The throbbing pain starting from mentioned tooth leading to the whole left side of my face.

Naturally, I do the only logical thing anyone in my position would do. I reach for my phone and call my dentist.

Hahaha, fooled you.

I head straight to my medicine cabinet and start frantically swallowing pills of various shapes and sizes that all offer the same promise – pain relief.

I only reserve dentists for emergency situations i.e. teeth bleaching and molars gone missing. This was just a little tooth pain, would probably be gone in the morning right?


Never in my twenty eight years of existence have I ever wanted to so desperately pull out one of my own teeth.

I had no choice but to frequent my local legal torture dealer i.e the dentist.

My tearful conversation with the receptionist granted me immediate access to the office.

Naive little me thought that meant something.

I get to the office clutching the left face in my palm and looked around wide-eyed for mercy. All I received were sympathetic looks and a pack of free floss.

I enter the torture chamber, the one chair perfectly placed in the centre of the room with the blinding light blaring down directly on top. The tiny room is pristine and sterile. And nothing is creepier then a sterile room. When have good things come out of them? Aliens use sterile rooms to prod people through their anal sphincters – and that just never ends well.


Neatly beside the seat was the tray of tools they were going to use to extract some truth out of me. They would soon discover that I don’t always floss twice a day and I have occasionally replaced toothbrushing for a couple swigs of Listerine.

I was screwed.

I could feel the dentist staring at me – his prey for a full minute before asking what was wrong.

I pointed vigorously to the painful molar – soon to be named #26.

He nodded to his two assistants.

I pleaded with him, begged and explained my phobia of everything in the world, needles, closed spaces, and dentists.

He smiled shyly and explained that he understood. He promised he would be gentle.

Men lie.

I opened my mouth, trusting him, and giving in.

“Oh my, that’s a big one. Ladies, come here and look at this big one.”

“Oh Doctor, that’s a bad one.”

Aren’t you never supposed to say that to a patient – like ever?

What happened to bed side manner and pretending that a dental health crisis was just a tiny bit of plaque on an incisor.

I watched as the dentist and his team cringed in horror at my one tooth. He reached for one of his utensils and started banging on the tooth.

“please make it stop, please make it stop, pleas…” I begged to the appropriate deity – which in this case I felt was safe to say was the Tooth Fairy.

An x-ray and rendition of any heavy metal tune (featuring my teeth as the drum) while later, he concluded my deepest fear.

I needed a root canal.

“No I don’t,” I argued.

“Yes, you do.” He “gently” replied.

“Fine, just get it over with,” I resigned.

“Oh, you mean today?” He asked, “oh, no we still need to find a good time for you – maybe within the next 2 weeks.”

My already gaping jaw dropped even further.

Two whole weeks?

Did he need to mentally prepare himself for my root canal?

“In the meantime, I recommend you ask you family doctor to prescribe something to calm you down. You know like Xanax, Ativan or a Valium. In the meantime enjoy these antibiotics.”

Who in the history of the world has ever “enjoyed” antibiotics? Ever?

Two weeks, stomach ulcer and a prescribed drug induced high of a lifetime later, I returned to battle my nemesis.

“Ok, I’m going to freeze your mouth using this,” the dentist slowly draws his 13 inch sterling steel death weapon used to inject novocaine into my poor little mouth.

“Will this hurt?” I asked – like a stupid person.

What was I hoping to hear – “Pfff this old thing? Hurt? Don’t be silly.”

Instead I received the classic.


And it hurt.

But that’s not the worst part.

Halfway through my procedure, my dentist felt as though he could go on no further.

“Shareen, I’m sorry but I’m going to have to stop half way through your root canal. I am missing one of the tools I need to complete it.”

“What?” I try to muster despite being gagged with gauze and some green latex designed to keep my mouth open.

And just like that, gloves were whipped off and he was gone.

Oh, you’re thinking he sealed the tooth and has actually completed phase one of the procedure.


And now all I’m left with is half a tooth with a hole in it.

Oh and pain.

But on the bright side, my next appointment is only in five days.


The moral to this story is for you brilliant geniuses and inventors – if humanity has managed a way to fine tune and engineer the perfect vibrator – then perhaps you should pool funds (potentially from those investing in dildos)- heck even start a project on Kickstarter (you can have my money) to develop perhaps less traumatic treatments.

Sweet Dreams World.

P.s. To be honest though- my dentist is pretty cool.

P.P.S In one of the photos you can actually see me trying to rip off my own hand skin.


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50 replies

  1. Oh-my-God. I felt like I was right there in the chair w/ you, Shareen!! I feel you pain! That said, as usual, brilliant writing!

  2. Even though my uncle is my dentist, I still have that small distrust of anyone who pokes inside my mouth with shiny and pointy metal objects. I hate needles with a passion, so the dental assistants know to rub the kids’ version of “novocaine” on my gums before injecting the actual novacaine into my gum with a needle. I think the worst part of the dentist is that no matter how numb your mouth may be, you can always hear the work they’re doing. I hope your 5 days fly by.

    • I know – there mere sound of drills is enough to set me off. I hope the days go by quickly as well. I think the inability to eat is more torturous than the dentists themselves.

  3. Excellent story. When you said the doctor started banging on your tooth…I lost it. Couldn’t stop laughing. Please forgive me lol. Doc should’ve put you on that laughing gas! http://papidre.wordpress.com/2013/04/19/doc-i-want-some-laughing-gas-please/

  4. I had a similar experience about 2 months ago. Before then, I’d successfully avoided the dentist for 2 whole years! Well, that came crashing down in burning embers when my very friendly and efficient dentist informed me that half my wisdom tooth was missing and there was no saving it. They ended up pulling it, which was fine by me. Luckily, my dentist was very skilled and the pain was more bearable than when the tooth was there. Now if another 2 years can go by, I’ll be more than happy.

  5. Been there…recently.

    In my case the pain was so bad they prescribed me pain blockers. I consulted my friend Luke about them and he told me not to take them.

    He would know, he lost both his legs above the knee and almost his arm too, clearing IEDs in Afghan.

    “Serious shit those John…don’t take them. They are really addictive and they can cause epilepsy”.

    I took his advice and spent 4 days awake, throwing up, waiting for the dentist appointment…which didn’t happen. The pain eased…”oh you have a cracked cusp, that happens. Come back in a few months”

    I did 6 months later, after a couple of lesser aches. Big mistake, they were wrong and my tooth had a massive cavity, that smelt like a ceptic tank when they opened it up. Root canal hell.

    What did I learn? Well there is a tooth ache, then there is tooth pain.

    Then there is a deeper lesson. Luke was prescribed pain blockers for daily pain management…and the dentist can’t fix him.

    Puts a measure against the debt we owe don’t you think?


    • Firstly, I would like to thank Luke for his service. He’s a true hero. Secondly, the pain meds they just dish out to people are insanely addictive and harmful for health. I think you’re incredibly brave for not taking them – when for me, I was desperate to take anything for the pain. Thank you for putting things in perspective.

  6. You are no help at all. I have a dodgy tooth. Just like yourself I am attending to it, by never using it! Your post will give me nightmares. Very funny, I have to say I laughed out loud when you said the dentist had to leave it as he did not have the necessary tool! Best of luck for your next appointment with hell.

    • Oh no! Not you too. At least you got a laugh from the post and I’m hoping with every ounce of my will that your tooth pain goes away and isn’t root canal material.

  7. My dentist always warns me that I’m going to “feel a little prick”.
    … I haven’t laughed yet.

  8. This reminds me of the story of when I had my wisdom teeth removed. Well, two of them. He had to reschedule me for the other two. Best of luck in 5 days!

  9. Oh, I feel for you. Two months ago I discovered–over 7 separate dentist visits to two dentists–that my root canal on one molar had failed and the tooth was cracked. After four courses of antibiotics to kill the cause of the horrific pain–the infection–I had it pulled. Three days later, still in pain, I was diagnosed with a cracked tooth right next to the new hole in my face. Another course of antibiotics later, I had to pull that too. Oh, and I had to get six simultaneous fillings. Now I just have to get a bridge to replace my missing teeth and do two more fillings.

    Can you tell how excited I am?

    Good luck to you and I hope you get to the end of this process next visit.

    • Seriously? Ok now I feel stupid for complaining – your situation is my worst fear never realized. Ok I’m going to be super good from now and floss 15 times a day and brush my teeth every five minutes. Feel better!

      • Oh no, don’t feel bad for complaining. I know that pain. Anyone who has experienced it can’t help but talk about it. It’s unbelievable. I really hope it ends for you soon.

        By the way, I had great dentists too. The only problem is, my regular dentist wasn’t available to do the surgery, and the second dentist didn’t wait to pull the tooth until the antibiotics were finished the first time. So—yeah, don’t recommend doing work before the infection is gone, as the novocaine doesn’t work very well then. Thankfully, I didn’t go back to the dentist for the second tooth until I was almost done with the last course. Pain free surgery! I swear, I wanted to click my heels as I left.

  10. You poor dear…however, your writing is quite hilarious! You have a great sense of humor!

  11. The failure rate long term of root canals is not good news. I have made a pre decision to pull the tooth and have an implant. I’m a baby. And I am a man. I have never given birth. I hate pain. I am proud of your ability to endure. I am hoping it doesn’t fail in 5-10 years. Good luck.

  12. I had an abscessed wisdom tooth in 2009. It was during a blizzard, so I just waited in the only open dentist’s office for 5 hours with the entire right side of my face so swollen that I couldn’t completely open my eye. After those 5 hours, apparently someone peeked at my paperwork and saw that I was pregnant. I would need to get clearance from my OB before they could do anything about it. So I requested a fax, patiently waited another 2 hours, called to find that my OB closed at 4 without responding. Then I (carefully and blizzardly) went home for the night, came back the next morning at 8, waited another 2 hours for the fax, and then decided to drive to my OB’s office so that they could see my face and clear me for dental work. The receptionist looked horrified, disappeared, and then reappeared to say the fax had been sent. I returned to the dentist, where they received the fax 45 minutes after I returned. I sat in the chair and listened to the doctor inform me that the novicaine amount he could give me was limited due to my pregnancy, but that he would be as fast as possible. I opened my mouth, he stuck the dental pliers in, and… relief. He broke my tooth while it was still inside my face and removed it all in under a minute, and it had been so bad that I cried in RELIEF for nearly a day after a drug-free wisdom tooth removal.

  13. Doesn’t matter how old we are, the dentist can still freak us out. Sorry you had to endure that!

  14. My GOD. That tray! With those IMPLEMENTS! Scarier than “The Exorcist.”

    I’m going to crawl away and whimper now.

  15. How can anyone even try to make going to a dentist funny? LOL

  16. I had a good experience with my male dentist when I was in high school; he was old and he obviously knew his business well. His young assistant on the other hand was a sadistic witch. When the dentist left the room she would call me ‘darling’ and ‘sweetheart’ in a soothing voice which made me feel calm and relaxed, and then she would use a thin utensil with a kind of hook on the end to jerk my sore teeth from side to side for no apparent reason other than to see the look of horror and pain on my face. I’ve never gone back since.

  17. Fantastic writing read with my teeth clenched ha

  18. My god-someone who shares the exact same sentiment as me with regards to oral matters (in the sterile room, lol). You also write the way I always intend to and end up with even further sagging posture and disappointment #57 of the day. Consider me an enthusiastic fan of your humor and writing! Oh, and sidenote: My dentist humanely allows me to ingest Halcion like jellybeans and was shocked to discover that I require over 10 tablets to “relax” when one tablet generally knocks out 98% of his patients.

  19. Reblogged this on The Deroche Decibel and commented:
    Discovered this blog this morning and the first article I came upon was this one. Anyone who can relate to trying to crawl out of a dentist chair with their arse muscles will be able to relate!

  20. Now I’m scared! I have an appointment with my dentist this weekend to have my impacted tooth removed. Huhuhu. :((

  21. Holy crap I feel your pain. When I had my last root canal, my dentist gleefully told me I needed another one on the tooth behind. That was two years ago. I felt a twinge the other day … there aren’t enough drugs in the world to make me go back til it’s full-on pain. Thanks for letting me know I’m not alone.

  22. I am so with you! I hate dentists! After having braces for about 5 years and all….I am so over the needles and such. Had to have my first root canal about a year ago. Nothing like hearing there is some crevice in your tooth preventing them from completing it, BUT there’s NO WAY it was the dentists fault. The tool couldn’t possibly angle like that. Uuugghh. I feel your pain!!! Although…..mine was muted by Vicodin!!!

  23. Funny as hell!!!! Not that hell is funny, but dentists are the devil!!!!!! Btw, one of my molars hurt like hell!!! I was on the dentist today, but for my children. They are the ones who suffered this time. Muahahahahhahahahahahahahahaha! Ouch! My tooth…

  24. I really do enjoy your humor: “Aliens use sterile rooms to prod people through their anal sphincters – and that just never ends well.” Dentist are the Devils puppets, how else can he go incognito in our world? *hehe, surviving braces, a chin cup and gum operation in my teens has given me enough post-traumatic stress to last me a lifetime. It’s just unnerving each time I go, and being prone to cavities, I try to avoid going until it’s dire. Never had a root canal — yet — knock on wood. My sympathies to your mouth.

  25. Ok, you’re hilarious. Thanks for inspiring me! Love love love it. I appreciate you stopping by my little post. Keep bringin’ the fun.

  26. I have had several of these, and now that I’m older and wiser I will just have them take the &#%& tooth out next time! All three need to be redone as what little actual teeth were left under the very expensive caps now need to be treated and new caps put on! All that money wasted! I think I might just get wooden teeth like George Washington. I think it was Georgie that had them? Right?

  27. You ask them to take a photo? They play along with your dentist room publicity act? Interesting. I don’t like dentists. I better floss more etc!

  28. What? Your dentist didn’t send you off with a nice prescription of Vicodin? I just had something similar happen but at least I was given some drugs to numb the physical, mental and emotional pain from the root canal. Nothing works for the pain once you get the bill, though. Ouch.

  29. Oh my goodness. Situations like this are why I keep Vicodin, Xanax, even Ritalin on hand. I don’t care if I have to buy it on the street. Buying black market drugs is always the right thing to do. So-called professionals like that horrific dentist.can be downright sociopaths and not care that you’re lying in front of them, writhing in pain. I say “Fuck you, doctor- IF that is your real title. I have more drugs than you’d prescribe me anyway so peace out, asshole.”


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