Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Extraction

I knew that it was going to be awful and sure enough, I was right. Since I first started visiting the dentist I’ve always had rotten luck. I’ve had sealants, expanders and extractions, not to mention all of those horrendous fluoride treatments. Extractions are the worst. Today’s two will make my third and fourth. You should have seen how I begged my mother to find some reason why I should keep them instead.

As I was sitting on the chair waiting for the dentist to appear, I was getting more and more nervous and after a while, I noticed that the sounds in the room become louder and louder. I could even hear my own heart beat, I was such a wreck! Then, as I was about to insist that we immediately go home, the dentist finally walked in. He had a big grin on his face. He walked over to the tray that held various instruments and picked up...

...a cotton ball with some pink stuff on it.

The Extraction I  - Sheva Apelbaum

Alright. I’m not afraid of a soft cotton ball. He wiped it on both sides of my gums, waited few minutes and chit-chatted with my mom. Then he took a syringe and gave me several teeny weenie little shots in several places in my gums.

Soon, my gums started getting really numb. Before I knew it, he took the pliers from the tray and wiggled my tooth and then pulled it right out. Then it was “wash, rinse, repeat” for the next one and—KABAM!—I was done.

The Extraction II  - Sheva Apelbaum

In retrospect,  It didn’t really hurt. The worst part was having had to cope with a numb mouth stuffed with gauze.

My mom says that we have nothing to fear but fear itself. In the case of my visit to the dentist, I would have to agree.

Still, I am fond of “The Crocodile’s Toothache” poem:

The Crocodile
Went to the dentist
And sat down in the chair,
And the dentist said, "Now tell me, sir,
Why does it hurt and where?"
And the Crocodile said, "I'll tell you the truth,
I have a terrible ache in my tooth,"
And he opened his jaws so wide, so wide,
That the dentist, he climbed right inside,
And the dentist laughed, "Oh isn't this fun?"
As he pulled the teeth out, one by one.
And the Crocodile cried, "You're hurting me so!
Please put down your pliers and let me go."
But the dentist laughed with a Ho Ho Ho,
And he said, "I still have twelve to go-
Oops, that's the wrong one, I confess,
But what's one crocodile's tooth more or less?"
Then suddenly, the jaws went SNAP,
And the dentist was gone, right off the map,
And where he went one could only guess...
To North or South or East or West...
He left no forwarding address.
But what's one dentist, more or less?

-Shel Silverstein


  1. You were such a trooper, Shev. So stoic. Way to go.

    Next stop: braces! (mwuahahaha!)

  2. Wow Sheva, I don't think I could do that!-Lauren

  3. I should have read this last week when I went to the dentist--you described the physiological and emotional aspects so accurately, I felt my palms begin to sweat, just reading your words!

    Going to the dentist becomes a bit more tolerable when one realizes that the volumn of space they are working on is about the size of the eraser at the end of a pencil--tiny, really--what could possibly go wrong?

    My dentist tolerates me, so I adore him in a kind of hateful way, but he also wears one of those funny grins when he enters the room...:-D