Ken and Barbie go to Dental School.


Next time, I’ll ask for the blanket.
And a bottle of whiskey

No.  I can’t afford Trump’s dentist. The best I can hope for is a dental student with talent.  Thank God  for miracles!

Generally when you go to the dentist, the worst part is the anesthesia.   JC, The dental student, was incredibly good at giving the shots. He was better than some experienced dentists. Eager to learn, compassionate, and armed with the best bedside manner of any (almost) dentist I’ve ever met, JC possesses the same charm and dark eyed, dark hair good looks of a young Antonio Banderas.  His mentor, a dental student who is graduating this month, is a tall, slender young woman with soft, kind eyes and all the good looks of Gwyneth Paltrow in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.

Yes. There I was in a creaky dental chair with Barbie on one side of me and Spain’s version of Ken on the other.

Ever since getting gastroparesis in 2004, my teeth have deteriorated quicker than a car in a demolition derby. I’ve had 3 teeth pulled in the past 7 years.  It took a professional dentist about 1 minute to remove. How hard could this be?

The anesthetic is working. the worst part is over. Right?


The problem? The fact that the Ken and Barbie dream team had to take out the back molar from hell. The damned tooth was as stubborn as me!

Most of the time the dentist says nothing while s/he removes the tooth. But this is dental school, where you’re treated to blow by blow instructions like, “That’s right. Twist it. Now yank at it. No, you have to change direction. Pull. Pull! Would it be easier if we switched places?”

I wanted to say, “Yes. You can be the one in the chair while I move your jaw into positions you never thought possible.” That’s hard to do when you have Ken holding a dental implement in one hand and Barbie stretching your lip out with the other.

It took 30 minutes of pulling, pushing, tugging, twisting and yanking to get the tooth out, but he managed to do it in one piece. Sort of. There was a crown on top of it. At some point the crown came off, leaving the rotting tooth for him to pry out. I thought my TMJ’s on both sides were going to rip apart and my jaw was going to break in half. No pain (believe me when I say I was numbed to the max) just ache, pressure, and the fact that the TMJ on the right side didn’t have the benefit of anesthesia.

If you think I was wondering whether or not the blindfold over my eyes was the last thing I’d see in this world, the answer is no. I was more concerned that JC would decide to abandon dentistry and go into something less intense–like searching for IED’s in Afghanistan.

Finally! The crack of tooth separating from jaw and JC commented that he was going to skip his workout today. He’d already had one. He said he’s taken teeth out before but never like this. Neither of us were expecting it to be that tough–especially since the endodontist said it was just floating on the skin (basically) and wouldn’t take all that much to come out.

The end. Right?

Not until the anesthesia wears off.

I got an Rx for the pain he said I would have once the local anesthetic was out of my system.  Man,  I’m glad my husband was driving.

It’s an hour ride to the CVS in the small town where I live. We dropped off the Rx at the drive through, went to the post office, and then my husband announced that we were going to go inside to get the pills. I really didn’t feel up to it, since the world was waving at me like I was riding a roller coaster (a reaction to the anesthetic). I remember very little from the time I got out of the car at CVS around 5 and the time I got out of bed around 10pm, just bits and pieces. What I do remember was how it felt when the anesthetic finally wore off. It was a lot like the time I told my very drunk 1st husband we had to leave a party (I had to go to work the next day) and he punched me in the jaw.

The CVS had to send us to a CVS in a larger city 1/2 hour away because they didn’t have the pills I needed. By the time I got home, I could barely walk and my husband’s voice sounded like I was hearing an echo across a valley. Between that and the roller coaster, I wasn’t much of a conversationalist.

Once the Rx took effect, the first thing I noticed was the conspicuous absence of pressure that had been my jaw. Not the pain of having a tooth pried out with the force of a jackhammer. That was still there. But the feeling of walking around with a brick in my jaw was gone. My left ear feels “lighter” (I don’t know how else to describe it).   I had no idea just how much pressure there was in my jaw until the pressure was gone.

At this moment in time all I want to do is get through the next few days. I’ve been told the 3rd day is going to be the worst.

So I have to say thanks to the Ken and Barbie dream team of dentistry and hope that both decide to remain in their chosen profession. I hope to have more dental work compliments of JC in the future. If he does decide to change majors, I would hope he would look into becoming a diplomat. You know the definition of a diplomat: Someone who can tell you to go to hell and you look forward to the trip. That kind of talent is hard to find.