Holiday Portraits of Incompetence
It's Like You're My Mirror

New Year, New Smile, Same Idiot

No. No no no no. I object. Strenuously! Someone please make note of my objection to this whole "holidays be over get your ass up and get back to work" bullshit.

I had a dentist appointment this morning, just to kick off the New Year right, all healthy and proactive-wise. (Translation: I made the appointment five million years ago and took the first appointment date and time they offered me without thinking about it, then was too scared of the phone to call and cancel.) I really...dislike going to the dentist, a fact which I realize makes me 1) an incredibly unique special snowflake, and 2) a big baby. 

I am such a big baby, in fact, that whenever I am offered numbing anesthetic, gas or mind-altering substances of any kind, I take them. Happily! And then I zone out and try not to picture my hypocritical ass hauling my kids to the dentist, where I still sometimes I have to pin their arms down with my knees once the promise of a 5-cent bouncy ball prize has lost its motivation appeal. 

Today I accepted some topical anesthetic for my gums, which kind of spread to the underside of my tongue and my lips, which meant I spent the entire cleaning ATTEMPTING to follow the hygenist's instructions, but mostly failing. "Open wide! Now close, but open slighly. No, just slightly. Move your tongue. No, the other way. Relax your bottom lip. No, YOUR BOTTOM LIP."

And then I would have to stop and think about my bottom lip, which I could not feel, but was aware it was still somewhat connected to my jaw (as opposed to in my lap, like Bill Cosby's, at least) so maybe if I just did...something...with that general area...that would? Yes? Is it relaxed? Am I relaxed? I feel like I am relaxed because there's some kind of liquid running down my neck and into my hair that I hope is not my own drool. Or am I imagining that? Phantom dental leakage? Numbing gel to brain transfer? Am I high right now? What is lip? Who is dog? 

The exam rooms at my dentist's office all have the ceilings decorated with dozens and dozens of buttons — the pieces of flair kind, that is, jammed into the acoustic tile — and so you can spend your appointment squinting at old political campaign sayings, yellowed 1970s anthropomorphic rainbows telling you to dream/smile/keep on trucking, etc., and a collection of Broadway-themed buttons that always give me a terrible flashback to junior high, when I neatly decorated my backpack with buttons representing the entire show catalog of one Andrew Lloyd Webber. 

But most of the buttons appear to be pharmaceutical conference swag, which never fails to amuse me once that sweet-ass numbing gel kicks in, because I can't stop picturing some executive being like, I know! We'll give away buttons! Everybody loves buttons! Especially buttons about blood pressure medication and Acuvue lenses. And thus some PR or marketing assistant was sent off to price up how much it will cost to rush-order 1,000 buttons with a bad pun about plantar warts printed on them, wondering how the hell it ever came to this.

(My favorite button simply says "100% PURE CANOLA OIL." That's it. Just...yes. So delightfully random and I love it. I want to raise the exam chair as high as it goes, steal that button and put it on a backpack.)

Anyway, I need a crown on one of my back molars. So that'll be fun. Or horrific? I've never had a crown before. Do they give you good drugs? Do you get to pick a prize afterwards? Maybe a button with some kind of dental-related pun? You tell me, I don't know the drill.






I've had one - they numb you to clean things off, then they take a cast, then the actual application was fine - all of about 30 seconds. Though I got the, 'you'll feel some sensitivity' line. I asked how much - he shrugged and said you tell me!! It was fine though, no worse than ice cream on sensitive teeth. Only real ballache was the three visits it took to get it all sorted. Bleh.


I am going through a 3 crown situation now. Claire is correct - they numb you up good and then do all the work, but it does take multiple visits. And all of the money. I have really good dental insurance, but once you get into crown-land, they scamper off and now all of my future 2014 dollars are moving directly from my employer to the dentist. And also my daycare for 2 kids. I am poor but will have teeth! And somewhere to put my kids while I'm making money to pay for the teeth!


Also, forgot to give you an internet high five for the pun.

Sue W.

I've got 5. I think it is now, crowns. Two I've had since I was a teenager. Me and the road got into a fight one Halloween night and the road won. My top two front teeth, broke off even with the gums. Lots o' fun there. NOT! The other 3 are all recently done back molars due to my non-existant dental care for 12 years (because of all the issues I had with dentists and the front two) and the ensuing periodontal disease. I seem to be blessed with a weird shaped inner mouth because they had a heck of a time with the back molars. They ended up having to use what they call a block, which is a $10.00 name for a .50 piece of hard plastic that they put on the opposite side of your mouth from where they are doing the crowns so you keep. your. damn. mouth. open. WIDE. so's. we. can. get. in. dere. Get whatever drugs they offer you. You'll thank me in the morning! And I don't envy you at all.


Crowns are the worst. Get the gas, take a Valium, and be prepared for your teeth to be sensitive for a while after.


Crowns aren't so bad. They will numb you up good to drill out all of the decay and then you get a temporary crown for a couple weeks. The fun is hoping that sucker doesn't come off! Then you get to go back for the permanent crown and that's a quick appointment. They call it "seating" the crown. I hate the dentist too. They're like mechanics—they want lots of money and I'm never sure if I should trust them. Heh. (You'll be fine. Don't worry.)


My first crown (yes, FIRST), I got all giggly and could. Not. Stop. I kept imagining that teens might adopt wearing the contraption they put in your mouth while doing the crown (you'll see), kind of like getting ears gauged or something. I was the only one who thought it was funny, however.


I am also a super special snowflake and so terrified of the dentist, I just...stopped going. For five years. The five years I spent having three babies (pregnancy arguably being some of the worst stress you will put your teeth through in your life, me for the win!) when I finally sacked up and went, I had my first two cavities. Neither required a crown, the dentist (who is an old family friend, so let's do the math on how completely LAME I am for refusing to go see him), numbed my entire face up to my eye, and still? It was...really unpleasant. I told my husband when I got home that it was worse than labor, and that is not true. Labor is far more painful, but this is...unpleasant. So I think if you are a big weenie like me, work on the weenie angle, and preparing yourself for someone drilling in your mouth, and that will make a big difference. Oh, and yes, if he offers you benzos, take them.


I spent several years on a tooth-related nightmare involving an eventual dental implant, so I give a Gallic shrug to a crown.

I hope your advertisers pay you a lot and your out-of-the-house job is just for fun, because you win at mommy blogging. I mean it, you post regularly and you are always funny and come off as a nice person. Don't know why I'm so gushy. Prob that beer and the 8 peanut butter blossoms left over from New Years Eve I had with dinner.


I'm one of those PReshus snow flakes who needs lots of dental drugs. My last crown (cracked tooth!) they hit me once, I was squirming. Hit me again, still not happy. Three hits of what ever they put int that needle injector machine.

They can always give you more drugs. Says someone who had a drug free child birth because she was scared of needles. . .


I had a crown done right before Christmas. It was easy peasy. Crazy expensive, but relatively pain free and fast.


Oh wait, the root canal I had was fast. The crown took longer, buut it still wasn't too bad.


I panic in the dental chair due to a really bad gag reflex and I forget to breath - I also take whatever they offer me for pain or to relax. I hated my crown at first, it wasn't set properly at first and I had pain for about 6 weeks when they finally admitted it needed to be reset. I got an apology, but it still stunk.


I have one crown and it's not really that bad. If your dentist will allow you to listen to music/podcasts on your phone, definitely do it. The place I used to go was mostly dental students and they would let you do that for long procedures.

Nothing will beat the day I went to the dentist for three hours in the morning, left to go to the gynecologist, then returned to the dentist for a further three hours of dental work.


GO FOR THE GOLD! Crown, that is. I have two on back molars and they are awesome. Higher quality and last much much longer than porcelain. And let's face it, they are super badass.


The ads coming up in your sidebars due to this post are what's special... There is one that has the words "genital itching" on it.


I have two crowns on my front teeth. The worst part for me is how LONG it took! I have to pee when I am nervous and nothing makes me more nervous than the dentist! So I had to ask about every 15 minutes of the 2 hour procedure to pee! Talk about embarrassing! Then I made the mistake of looking in the bathroom mirror after they had filed my teeth down! HILLBILLY!


No one has mentioned the drilling. Was that just me and my crown? Yes they numb the crap out of you but then they drill, grind and have a construction party in your mouth. The sound is awful and your entire body vibrates. I don't mean to scare you, you really can't feel anything painful but you still FEEL things happening. My thoughts are with you :)


Hmmm. I have three crowns, and am going back for another two this yaer. Good times. Actually, my office is freakin' awesome and the whole thing takes ONE appointment. They do everything in house, including make the crown, so I don't have to wait with a temp crown like others do, when they have to send the crown out to be made. It won't be terrible, but it's no picnic in the park either. the most important part is tell them if you feel anything, and, once the numbness wears off, tell them if your bite is off. B'c they can fix it real quick like and it'll give you wicked headaches if you don't have it fixed. Good luck.


Are you mad, Amy? Did you not realize that this post would elicit every single horror story about dental work that exists on the internet?


Next time when you are in the chair for your crown please take a picture of the button ceiling for us!


Pay the extra fee to get a ceramic, tooth colored crown. Gold crowns are so aging!. Seriously - with ceramic? No one can tell and the same goes with ceramic fillings!!


Laughing gas. That way, no matter what they do, you don't know or care. I have had damn near EVERYTHING done to my genetically inferior teeth, and because of laughing gas I am not in the madhouse. Crowns are no big deal. Avoid periodontal surgery. That sucked. Not a big fan of adult braces either. But I've got 5 crowns, and the current technology has made them pretty painless and fast. You'll be fine. Get the gas, and then enjoy yourself.


And poor Gail, you are out of your mind! :)


I have one crown. The actual work wasn't that bad or painful, just seemed to take forever. I just had problems with the dentist getting the crown at the right height with my other teeth and had to go back to get it readjusted because it was uncomfortable. And then it still didn't feel right after that, but either it settled in correctly or I just got used to it.


I'm so afraid of the dentist that I skipped going for 10 years. I made excuses, "forgot" to turn up and flat-out ran away from my dentist from 14-24. All that neglect caused me to need some pretty intensive dental work, including a crown.

100% honesty here the crown was not that bad. The drilling is no more uncomfortable than for a filling, it just takes little longer and once you have your crown made the "seating" process is the easiest dental appointment I've ever had. I literally had it done in 15 minutes during my lunch break from work with no medication what so ever.


My son just had to have a crown replaced because he wore a hole through it. He's six. Apparently his teeth enamel didn't "fuse properly in the womb". I don't understand science.


My son just had to have a crown replaced because he wore a hole through it. He's six. Apparently his teeth enamel didn't "fuse properly in the womb". I don't understand science.

Jillian Descaro

I am a former dental assistant. You really dont need to be numbed for a crown, unless your getting a root canal prior. The office I worked at had a cerec machine, which makes the crown on site in about an hour. No impressions or anything required. The dentist just takes pictures, and it sends the information to the milling machine. The dentist picks out the color porcelain to match your tooth, and it mills. No one in my offices' care has ever left in pain from that. Crowns are the least scariest thing to worry about. However, most dentists take an impression and then have to send it to a lab. If I were you I would get all porcelain if your dentist offers that. I am not a fan of metal in crowns. Good luck hunnie.


I am the biggest dental sissy there is, so you can imagine my JOY at being told a few years ago that because of a combination of factors, I needed SIX CROWNS. I panicked. I cried (when I got home). Because OH NOOO it would be AWFUL and waaahhhhhh.

But you know what? Everyone tells you horror stories about the dentist. No one ever says "You know what, it was FINE." I am here to tell you that it was fine. 6 crowns. No root canals. For the first time in my life, my teeth fit together properly. I don't have to worry about my crappy tooth enamel and fillings falling out anymore.

My dentist did numb me because there was a lot of filing and grinding and blah blah, which meant that the worst part about it was the noise.

You can do it. You've got this. You can email me if you want. I promise, it will all be good.

(All that work done and going to the dentist still makes me want to run away screaming, though, and my dentist is awesome.)


Sigh. I got to the end. Having nothing to do with crowns or dentists (actually, my dentist's office has TVs mounted on the ceiling, and they give you the remote and it is awesome), I just wanted to say thank you. I've been reading from the almost-beginning, comforting myself with your stories and well, your life. I'm a new mother and adjusting has been a whole lot easier and more enjoyable because of you, Amy. At night when my little girl goes to bed, I sit next to her in the dark and wait until it's time for me to go to sleep and while that sounds crazy, I'm not -- I'm just new at this, and too chicken to rely on the monitor. It's weird and sometimes lonely in the dark, and having your blog to read makes me feel like there's a friend around. I knew I would catch up eventually, but even back in 2011 it felt like there was a long way to go, that I would never be at now. And now that I am, I feel a bit sad. 

Yikes, sappy. Sorry. Am not crazy. Just very, very grateful. Thank you. So, so much.

Scott Patterson

Your so funny! I can't stand the dentist/ :(


There is better technology these days for getting crowns. You don't need multiple visits. I got two crowns placed at once in one visit and it only took a couple hours. They cleaned out the tooth, took 3D pictures of what was left, and printed the crown right there in the office. Sealed it down with whatever magical glue they use and ta-da. I didn't have to do any of that horrible crap I always hear horror stories about.

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