Monday, June 13, 2011

Things I've done without the aid of drugs

Until today, the only major, painful medical event in my life that I accomplished without the aid of drugs was childbirth.

Well, speaking of childbirth, you know how one of the things they say to make you feel better about choosing an epidural is, "don't worry, sweetie, nobody would ask you to get, say, dental work done without anesthesia!"

Today, I had dental work done without anesthesia. It happened like this.

I went in for a routine cleaning and checkup. The dentist did a great job even if she did chat with her assistant the whole time in Hindi. They could have been commenting on the odd features of my mouth, for all I know. At the end of the cleaning and exam, the dentist said, "you have some decay in this tooth," and then showed it to me in the mirror.

Then she said, "I will fill it," and she she got ready to do just that.

Then I said, "Are you going to give me drugs? Like novocaine?" Because although I've had fillings done before, it's always been in the US. To clarify my point, I told her, "In the US, they ALWAYS give novocaine." She shrugged and told me it wasn't really necessary.

"Well, will it hurt?" I asked her.

"Maybe. You will feel it, but it might not hurt."

It sounded like quite the thrill ride. I would have said something tough like "BRING IT ON!" but I already had a number of dental instruments in my mouth at that point, so I just went with the flow in silence.

And it wasn't that bad. I broke into a cold sweat and was in a lot of fear for most of the procedure, waiting for it to get really, really painful. It never did.

So now I've gone through two medical procedures (for lack of a better unifying term to use with childbirth) without anesthesia. Now that I think about it, I think I've heard of people opting out of novocaine (or whatever) during some dental procedures, am I right? How common is this? When I told the dentist that in the US they "always" give novocaine, I was really just relating my experience. Maybe it's fairly common these days.

In any case, it was nice to pay the bill ($75 for the exam, cleaning, and filling) without having drool dripping out of my mouth, that's for sure.


Shannan said...

Bridget -
To make you feel better, I've had two cavities filled without any drugs. both of them were pretty shallow and like your dentist, my dentist was pretty casual and said that he could indeed fill it right then and there and probably wouldn't need any anesthesia. I didn't want to deal with the cost and trouble of numbing so I felt confident in his assessment of the conditions that I wouldn't need anything. Turns out I felt one or two pokings, but honestly, biting the side of your mouth hurts much much worse than what I felt!

And yes, you can come visit our garden anytime although I know it won't be this summer as you contend with 117 degrees. Holy Snikees. And I complain when it gets above 80 :)

Amanda said...

Ever since I got what amounted to stitches in my foot when I was 9 with no lidocaine (the doctor said it would tickle), I have distrusted the medical professions use of the words, "You might feel it... but it won't hurt."

Merkley Jiating said...

I think it is easier to get one or two fillings without numbing. The numbing causes problems for me and I hate the drooling and slurring. I would much rather feel a little pain for 20 minutes and then be done.

Rooster Cogburn said...

You should talk to Anna about this. She did the same thing as a kid.

Rooster Cogburn said...

oh dang. This is Lisa, Anna Lewis's sister-in-law. I forgot I was logged in under my husband's account.

Kathy Haynie said...

Hahaha - Lisa's husband is "Rooster Cogburn"? Too funny. Love 'em both--Lisa's Mark AND Rooster. Hahahaha.

Glad to hear the dental procedure went ok. I had 5 kids without drugs, but I'm not sure about how I'd do without novocaine.

Liz Johnson said...

This is most interesting. I kind of want to do this now, just to compare notes. And then maybe people would stop making SUCH A RIDICULOUS COMPARISON, at least to my face. Sheesh.

Bridget said...

Shannan, that is the first time (until subsequent comments) that I've heard of someone having that done!

Lisa, the weird thing is that I JUST watched True Grit on Saturday! So I was surprised to see that name pop up again.

Sherwood family said...

All of the fillings I've ever had have been without anesthesia. I'm not of a strong constitution; the dentist just told me that it wasn't necessary. I never felt a thing because the fillings were too shallow, and the last ones took 15 minutes, start to finish!

Katie said...

I have done my last two fillings without drugs, as has my mom. I hate being numb and it really doesn't hurt as bad as everyone thinks! It's funny when I tell people that, they think I'm super brave and/or crazy because they're CONVINCED that it must hurt like mad, but how would they know? They've never tried it without drugs! Anyway, I've shocked two dentists now by requesting no drugs and my brother (who's a new dentist) believes it keeps the dentist doing clean work, since he can't get sloppy since you'll feel it! So, good on ya. It's really not that bad...especially when you have drug-free childbirth to compare it to! :)

Suzanne Bubnash said...

As a child, the most traumatic part of dental treatment for me was the Novacane. About age 13 I quit the shot (my Dad also declined it). Now I only take it for deep fillings.

The day after my gallbladder surgery when the doc came in to remove the tube from my abdomen, he offered me a shot for the pain it would cause. I figured the shot would bring worse pain than the procedure, so I declined. That was the right choice because it only took 5-10 seconds to remove the tube.

Bridget said...

Katie, I wondered the same thing - if not having anesthetic makes the dentist work a little tidier!

The weird thing is that this filling was very deep - so deep that she filled it but said to come back in three weeks to see if I needed a root canal. If it comes to that, you better believe I'll be requesting novocaine :).

Crys said...

I've had that done here in the US as well. I think if they aren't to deep the dentistic figures why worry...that being said if she wants to do a root canal without anything RUN!!!!


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