Having yanked out the old fillings on two teeth on my left side, which disclosed the need for crowns on both, my dentist refilled them temporarily and set to work shaping the badly cracked last tooth on my lower right side. We presumed it was deadened, trusting in the power and magic of Novocain.
Whiir! I was hit with a jolt and reacted noticeably.
"That's really sensitive," she said. "Every time I touch near the point of the crack, you move. The vibration of the drill sometimes travels down the crack and upsets the nerve, even with local anesthesia. I hope the crack doesn't run into the nerve, which would require a root canal before we can proceed further."
Always the specter of a root canal. Suffice to say, two more ampules of Novocain, which is about all the fluid a jaw can take in one sitting, did nothing more that was noticeable to me. The dentist drilled around one side of the tooth shaping it for the crown but couldn't touch the other side in any way without me reacting.
I was pressed as far back in the chair as far as I could go, my forehead wet with sweat. The jolts were strong. I was, well, trembling.
"That's enough for today," she finally said. "I've gotten about three quarters of it done but you'll have to come back next week for me to finish it. Sometimes a tooth is just different on another day. Take an Advil the night before your appointment next week, and that morning also. And no coffee on the morning you come."
She looked at me intently and asked, "You will come back, won't you, Peter?" I didn't answer my friend and neighbor.
The anticipation. I spent a miserable week.