DISCLAIMER: Illicit drug use is stupid. Don’t interpret this post as promoting it.
I used to hate going to the dentist’s office. That’s a pretty common feeling, as I understand it. (Sorry dentists!) However, my feelings have changed. Now, the dentist’s office is one of my favorite places. What changed? Laughing Gas.
I have sensitive and fragile teeth. For years I dreaded the amount of work required to keep them firmly rooted in my skull. I’ve gotten fillings, caps, crowns and a bunch of other things that probably have technical names, but which are blocked from my memory because of the associated trauma. The usual anesthetizing agents don’t work on me; dental visits felt like scenes from a medieval dungeon, albeit a clean one filled with poor music and old magazines. Those last two inclusions might have been authentic though.
Thus, several years ago when I broke a pair of teeth, I decided to adjust to the jagged stumps rather than having them fixed. After all, I had a few other teeth I could use. Some of them were even real still.
I can be stubborn; my attempts to adjust lasted for years. I ate soft foods, chewed exclusively on one side of my mouth, and perfected the art of keeping cold beverages away from my teeth. (You can try it if you want; it’s a challenge. Keep a towel handy.) My wife can be stubborn too though; she eventually dragged me to a dentist against my will. (Life lessons: fix broken teeth early and don’t resist wives.)
Fortunately for me, she’s also clever and sweet. She spent the period of my futile defiance investigating nearby dentists in an attempt to find the best one. She pressed everyone she knew for recommendations and even went under the drill herself in the course of her search. Unfortunately, she mostly found dentists to avoid, suffering a butchered tooth in the process. Apparently we live in an area with a high threshold for quackery. In spite of it all though, at last she discovered a hero.
Unlike the three decades of dentists I’d seen before him, this dentist suggested something marvelous and only slightly creepy: he wanted to gas me. Sure, at first I thought of the treatment usually reserved for termites, but as the alternative was a standard dentist visit, I thought I’d give it a try.
Then they told me that I should expect to feel their numerous machinations still, but that I wouldn’t care about them. I didn’t find that comforting. Generally speaking, no matter what they might tell me, when people start drilling on me, I care. How could I not? If the laughing gas wasn’t going to make the jabbing and tugging disappear, what good could it be?
Of course, I also figured that it couldn’t make the situation worse.
In part 2, I dress up like a proboscis monkey, I forget how to walk, and my wife refuses to let me use the restroom.