Open Thread

I’d like to take a moment to extend a hearty middle finger to everyone of my friends who told me “Crowns don’t hurt.”

Took an hour and four different sets of injections to get me numb (I can do that quicker with a bottle of Laphroiag), and they finally gave up on Novacaine and gave me something else and knocked me out with nitrous. Afterward, I told my mother, and she said “Oh, that’s right. Novacaine doesn’t work on you.” Thanks for the heads up.

I’ve now replaced a tooth that caused me no pain with a throbbing mass capped with a temporary acrylic crown. And I get to look forward to this again in two weeks.

I’m going to bed.

146 replies
  1. 1
    MeDrewNotYou says:

    Still better than wisdom teeth…

  2. 2
    Mnemosyne says:

    The permanent crown doesn’t hurt, but I had a lovely allergic reaction to the acrylic temporary last time I had one, which required me to cover the roots of my tooth with dental wax for a week because my gum had receded away from the irritant.

    My dentist’s old assistant was great at making temporary crowns, but his current one sucks at it. Fortunately, my daily flossing is paying off (no cavities! woot!) so hopefully I won’t have to deal with it again anytime soon.

  3. 3
    valdivia says:

    yes exactly. I had the exact same thing happen to me. except nothing got me numb so I had it done while I felt every bit of drilling. fun!

  4. 4
    bemused says:

    Pray you never have to have a root canal and God forbid, end up with a dry socket.

  5. 5
    BGinCHI says:

    You know Cole that Paypal has been buying up a lot of dentist offices.

    Was there a framed photo of Meg Whitman on the wall?

  6. 6
    Rook says:

    It is always a good idea, as well, to insure that you do not have any type of sinus infection as that makes any dental work miserable.

  7. 7
    beltane says:

    You have to go on Twitter. Research shows it acts like an opiate.

  8. 8
    Chyron HR says:

    You remembered to tell the dentist to tune it to the local classic rock station, and not TODAY’S HOT HITS (both of them) PLAYED SIX TIMES AN HOUR, right?

  9. 9
    Crashman says:

    Wasn’t the nitrous fun?

  10. 10
    Chris G. says:

    Question for the room: Why are we not googlebombing the Republicans this year? That was a) fun and b) effective in 2006.

  11. 11
    Mnemosyne says:

    Novocaine works great on me, so at least I didn’t have to worry about that. With my last root canal, they numbed me to the point that my eye started to droop. I didn’t feel a thing.

    The one time I got nitrous, it didn’t do anything to numb the pain, but it made me not care that it hurt.

  12. 12
    Mike Kay (Team America) says:

    Is it safe?

    Is. It. Safe?

  13. 13

    Sorry, Cole (as I was one of those people). Sleep. I hope you feel better in no time.

  14. 14
    Art says:

    My dentist just added a CNC/water jet machine to his arsenal. I cracked a tooth a few weeks ago and the filling in I had there fell out a few days later. Yesterday, I went in, they ground the remaining tooth down, used a computer to take pictures, used a gel to get the proportions of the upper tooth that will make contact with the crown, and then took a blank to the machine with all the info from the computer.

    Ten minutes later the applied the crown. I was in and out of the office in just over an hour.

    Don’t mean to rub it in, but Novocain works just fine on me.

  15. 15

    I don’t believe in dentistry. Violation of Geneva Covention

  16. 16
    geg6 says:

    When you come home from the dental procedure with your jaws wired shut (and they will stay that way for the next 8 weeks), then you can bitch to me, Cole. Until then, you’re a wimp if a few novocaine shots and a temporary crown are all it takes to get you whining this much.

  17. 17
    mr. whipple says:

    Novacaine takes multiple injections and lots of time for me, too.

    When I had my crown in, what really hurt was the student/kid that twice caught his drill in my freaking tongue. That really f’ing hurt.

  18. 18
  19. 19
    Strandedvandal says:

    Jeebus, what a friggin whiner! You kids don’t know how good you’ve got it. When I was your age, we made out own crowns out of dirt clods and cow piss. We’d jam the urine soaked clods on our rotten tooth and than have a friend smack us in the head with a shovel to get ’em to set. AND WE WERE HAPPY ABOUT IT!

  20. 20
    db says:

    You got a crown? I thought you said you were going to get a clown.

    Yeah, crowns do hurt – just ask Jesus.

  21. 21
    quaint irene says:

    So, I guess no update on the Paypal saga today, eh?

  22. 22
    D-Chance. says:

    Sorry, Cole, I got a crown years (decades) ago. Doc gave me a dozen big-ass red pills afterwards. I took one the moment I got home, slept almost 14 hours, woke up to no pain… and flushed the other eleven down the toilet. Never felt so much as a twinge.

    Perhaps you need a new and better dentist.

  23. 23
    cleek says:

    never had a problem with a crown, but in case anyone’s considering it… i don’t recommend adult orthodontia.

  24. 24
    PurpleGirl says:

    Take a cold compress to bed with you. When you fall asleep, the compress with fall away nicely. (The routine after dental work like that is a cold compress, 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off.)

  25. 25
    geg6 says:


    Personally, I just think he has a very, very, very low threshold for pain. I mean a crown? Really? Probably the most painless dental procedure I’ve ever experienced.

    My oral surgeon had to break my jaw in two places for a procedure once (wisdom teeth whose roots had grown and wrapped around my jawbone). I had obviously been put under for the wisdom teeth extraction, but I only took pain pills for a day afterward. Of course, when your jaw is wired shut, it’s pretty hard to move it much and cause more pain, I guess.

  26. 26
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    I have enough crowns that I have to count them every time someone asks. Didn’t go through that. I went to work after the morning ones.

    You might want to check on what you did to your dentist in a past life.

  27. 27
    Joseph Nobles says:

    I second a look for another dentist. I had one idiot that spent 15 minutes yanking on my jaw, not my lower right wisdom tooth.

    Idiot: “Pressure, pressure…”
    Me: “NO. PAIN.”

    Then my root canal dentist was brilliant. I’ve had cleanings that were worse than my root canal. If I have more problems with teeth, I’ll move back to Nashville – that’s how good this guy was.

  28. 28

    Administering novocaine is an art. I once returned from the dentist swollen & bruised & generally looking like an assault victim from the number of injections tried to no avail. Sometimes it worked partially, sometimes not at all. The dentist I have now gets it right every time. I knew he would because he said “If it hurts you don’t have to pay.” What I’ll do when he retires, I don’t know.

  29. 29
    You Don't Say says:

    I’ve had many crowns and always had more problems with the temp they give when they take the mold than with the actual crown.

    Sorry for your troubles, John, but gotta say: You’re a 40-year-old man and you don’t know without your mother telling you that Novocaine doesn’t work on you?

    Anyone read the Vanity Fair piece on Palin yet?

  30. 30
    Jules says:

    You have my sympathies.
    I getting anything done to my teeth.
    I got my wisdom teeth pulled about 25 years ago and it was a horror story of infection and pain that I did not experience again until I went though labor.

  31. 31
    Svensker says:

    If you need your mother to remind you at age 40 that novocaine doesn’t work on you, then fuck you right back. By the time I was 40 I could’ve bought Manhattan Island with all the novocaine, nitrous and other dental shit that I’d had administered, and plated the Elgin Marbles with the gold in my mouth.

    You, sir, are a pampered wuss.

    That said, dental stuff just stinks. There oughta be a law against any of these tooth problems. My sympathies.

  32. 32
  33. 33
    SteveinSC says:

    Laphroiag, WTF? That shit WOULD hurt. On topic–I once had a tooth filled with no Xylocaine. Oddly enough, no problemo. So, later and after a continunual parade of tooth cappings of diverse sorts, and apparently during a sort of out-of-body-experience, I told the dentist to cap my tooth without anesthetic. Excruciating, but curiously experience-expanding.

    Cole, you pansy.

  34. 34
    eemom says:

    hostage-taker killed by police, hostages safe, per msnbc

  35. 35

    Didn’t you learn anything from the Jesus about how much crowns hurt. You mustn’t be a Christian.

  36. 36
    Suffern Ace says:

    Hmmm. My crown never was a problem and I didn’t complain about the root canal, either. I just imagined that all of those needles he was using were really fishing flies and that when it was over, we’d just put on waders and relax. The suction can sound a lot like a babbling brook if you put your mind to it.

    Now, my boyfriend, he refuses all drugs including novacaine, as he thinks that they are bad. Had a tooth extracted and fillings put in without the shots. I shudder to think about the mental toughness that goes on there. I ask him if it hurts and he says, yeah, but it doesn’t matter because it is only temporary.

  37. 37
    nancydarling says:

    John, When you go for your permanent crown, ask for the nitrous oxide BEFORE they give you the injections. I practiced dental hygiene for 35 years in southern California (USC alum). We never used Novacaine—it is metabolized in your kidneys, not your liver, and was only used for people with liver disease or alcoholic cirrhosis. We routinely used lidocaine, carbocaine, or citanest. There is one called Marcaine which lasts a really long time—up to 9 hours. You could ask about that one.

    I am a firm believer in nitrous oxide and have it for all of my appointments including routine cleanings. You can still feel what is happening, but you just don’t care.

    I worked in one office for 35 years and 34 in the other one. I still go back to CA for my appointments since my kids are still there. I am a big chicken when it comes to going to a new dentist.

  38. 38
    MobiusKlein says:

    I had the root canal, and the dentist injected a shise-tonne of Novocain over time, and numbed it properly.

  39. 39
    Cain says:

    You wouldn’t even be in this mess if you bothered to floss and brush your teeth regularly!


  40. 40
    Zam says:

    @MeDrewNotYou: HA! Wisdom teeth was fun for me, they really loaded me up with drugs.

  41. 41
    Sentient Puddle says:

    I suppose I got off easy compared to a lot of you. Worst for me was when Novocaine didn’t work while getting a filling. They’d inject, try drilling, I’d wince, they inject again, repeat a few times, and at some point, they about gave up and gave me the option of coming in at a later date to finish it up. I didn’t exactly relish the idea of going around a few weeks with a tooth that was partially drilled at five times, so I decided that I’d ball up and sit through it. I suppose by that time, either the Novocaine had partially started working or I had developed some sort of natural numbness to the pain, because it wasn’t that terribly bad.

    Strangely enough, when I had my wisdom teeth removed, I had basically no problems at all with that. The worst of it was the first day when it merely felt awkward not being able to eat solid foods. And the fact that I kinda kept feeling around in the back of my mouth with my tongue, even though I wasn’t supposed to (how can you not?).

  42. 42
    Roger Moore says:

    I’m going to bed.

    Given John’s record on going Galt, I expect at least half a dozen posts in the next two hours.

  43. 43
    Anne Laurie says:

    From someone who recently spent $7K verifying this information: Of course grinding off the sound parts of the tooth hurts, as does making the template atop the now unprotected & extremely sensitized dentine. And it may go on hurting for a while, the same as any other flesh insult, which is why your dentist should have given you some painkillers. But unless your dentist is totally incompetent, removing the temp and installing your permanent crown should be quick and virtually pain-free.

    Also, now that you know you’re resistant to novacaine, you can demand nitrous (or another alternative) and not waste an hour getting stressed / abused before the procedure.

    There seem to be quite a few people who are allergic to the vile crap they use for the temp crowns (it “only” gives me joint aches, it doesn’t make my gums recede). If you wake up after a 15-hour “nap” feeling remarkably better, you may be one of them. The permanent cement, thank goddess, is an entirely different product. One more thing to remember next time you visit a dental office (another “joy” of aging is that you have to start preparing written notes in advance of every medical visit, however routine, because the list of stuff you need to track keeps getting longer just as your memory starts to fail).

  44. 44
    You Don't Say says:

    OK, now I’m pissed. Dems may renew *all* tax cuts:

  45. 45
    martha says:

    John, I hate to besmirch the reputation of your dentist, but I think you’ve got a “less than good” one. I’ve got several crowns and while they weren’t completely painless, my current Dr. D and the one in CA that I used before him were very good and I had few problems. And, administering novocaine is an art. Some fail at it.

    Edit: and I can’t tolerate nitrous oxide, unfortunately. it makes me sicker than a horrible hangover… too bad

  46. 46
    Anne Laurie says:


    You wouldn’t even be in this mess if you bothered to floss and brush your teeth regularly!

    As someone who inherited lousy enamel-building genes, I hope your prostate swells to the size of a Meyer lemon. And that the urologist uses you as a “teaching case” for at least three dozen interns, all ugly and ham-fisted.

  47. 47
    stuckinred says:

    I had a thrombosis cut out three weeks ago. There’s a “procedure” you need to try sometime.

  48. 48
    PTirebiter says:

    @Svensker: Bitching about your mom not warning you is bad enough, but then to share it with the rest us? Must be in some real pain.

  49. 49
    Nick says:

    It’ll only last a few days. Although my crown, which I had put in last winter, bothered me for a day or two last week, but it went away pretty fast

    @MeDrewNotYou: depends. I had my wisdom tooth pulled after it had already erupted and thus didn’t require surgery to take out. That was better than getting a crown. And I barely had pain the day after. I only had to keep changing the blood-soaked gauze for like 10 hours.

  50. 50

    @geg6: Not necessarily true. My last dental hygienist before this one made me cry when she scraped my teeth. She was a bitch and a sadist and she took grim satisfaction in scraping as hard as possible. I have had two root canals, two crowns, and my wisdom teeth removed, and none of them hurt like the cleaning of the bitch hygienist. In other words, I’m wondering if Cole’s dentist is the best option for Cole.

    ETA: I have a very high tolerance for pain.

    @Anne Laurie: Heh. I have lousy teeth, too. I had a three year stretch where I had to get a shitload done to my teeth (after avoiding the dentist because of aforementioned bitch hygienist), and now I brush three times a day with an electric toothbrush and floss twice a day. For two visits (to a new better dentist and non-bitch hygienist), I have gotten the clean bill of health. It’s a lot of work for me to keep my teeth halfway decent.

  51. 51
    Mnemosyne says:

    @You Don’t Say:

    That story didn’t make any sense. No vote is required for the tax cuts to expire — they’re set to expire no matter what, and the only thing that will extend them is a vote. If the Blue Dogs and the Republicans get together to block extending the tax cuts for people who make less than $100K, then the cuts automatically expire for everyone and everyone’s taxes go up.

    I expect better from McClatchy than that piece of crap.

  52. 52
    Nick says:

    @You Don’t Say: They’ll let them all expire first and pay the political consequences…or continue them for only a year. They won’t make them permanent. I’m not sure there’s a constituency for Obama’s tax plan. Nobody I talk to cares about this issue, they just don’t want their taxes raised.

    But McClathy clearly has a political agenda;

    Democrats in Congress are poised to play a leading role this month in thwarting their party’s effort to raise income tax rates on the wealthy.

    they used “raised taxes” rather than “let the Bush cuts expire.” They’re promoting the few Dem Senators who are advocating this and trying to create a narrative in favor of keeping the cuts.

  53. 53
    You Don't Say says:

    @Nick: Well, now you know one person who cares about this issue. Me.

  54. 54
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Mnemosyne: The only way the article makes any sense if you believe that Dems want to push through an extension of the middle class cuts and the Republicans and Blue Dogs are willing to tank it unless the high income cuts are extended as well.

  55. 55

    This is what you get for having your dental work done by Orly Taitz.

  56. 56
    schrodinger's cat says:

    John Cole @ top
    Is Tunch taking good care of you?

  57. 57
    PTirebiter says:

    @You Don’t Say: Unbelievable. Nice to see the Blue Dogs regurgitating Republican talking points.

  58. 58
    Trentrunner says:

    My (former) dentist told me I needed a crown. I resisted, but he told me it was necessary.

    The fateful day came when he started to sand down the tooth, I got a panic attack, which I occasionally do in the dentist’s chair. He had to stop the procedure, frustrated that he had to stop so early into it. And that was that.

    That was 16+ years ago. Since then, with new dentist, that tooth has been filled–NOT CROWNED, and it’s still going strong.

    Bottom line: Second opinions are sometimes awesome.

  59. 59
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @TooManyJens: Makes it easier to find a malpractice attorney. Of course, finding the attorney to sue your attorney for malpractice is another thing.

  60. 60
    Chad N Freude says:

    I have more crowns than the entire British royal lineage, and they have all ranged from mild discomfort to painless. I have an excellent dentist, John, might be worth the air fare to LA to be treated by him :-)

  61. 61
  62. 62
    Chad N Freude says:

    @Nick: Clear political agenda or sloppy, lazy writing? They report, you decide.

  63. 63
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    The only way the article makes any sense if you believe that Dems want to push through an extension of the middle class cuts and the Republicans and Blue Dogs are willing to tank it unless the high income cuts are extended as well.

    The way the article is constructed is extremely misleading. Either that, or the reporter is an idiot and actually thinks that what’s going to be voted on is ending the tax cuts, not extending them.

    If the vote is blocked, then the tax cuts expire for everyone. Period. I don’t know how the hell the reporter twisted himself into thinking that the cuts won’t expire unless they’re voted on.

  64. 64
    Ann Marie says:

    You sound like my sister who, when she was asked how she was coping with the pain from a wisdom tooth extraction, said she was “bathing it in Scotch”. I had a bad experience too, with a root canal that had to be re-done. Not only did the endodontist numb (with two shots of Novocaine) the wrong tooth, but afterward, the ache was worse than any previous experience I’ve had with root canals, and I’ve had a few. I finally gave in and took Advil, which I usually avoid because of stomach problems. It did a good job of taking away the pain. Hope you feel better when you wake up.

  65. 65
    LT says:

    Ha. I needed a crown once and I didn’t even go to the dentist – I fixed it with a doorknob. I’m not telling you how…

    Seriously, I got sick all over my whole body once. For weeks I ached and hurt and wondered what the fuck, then over the course of a few days the pain localized to my right side, then the right side of my head, then my goddamned jaw. It was a tooth abscessing the whole time. I got a root canal and crown, several shots needed, hurt and then ached for days.

    A couple weeks later my jaw starting hurting like hell. Turns out I had an extra root in that tooth and it didn’t show up on the x-ray, and it had abscessed too. Had to get a second root canal through the crown, then a new fix of the crown. Ow, motherfucker.

    P.S. Don’t mix vicodin with too much alcohol. You probably know this, but I with I’d been warned again that second time…

  66. 66
    Garrigus Carraig says:

    I’m trying to think of something more appealing than a thread about dentistry.

  67. 67
    dougie smooth says:

    ditto on the novacaine fail. I was surprised to hear from a new dentist in my late 20s that “it’s not supposed to hurt”. Could have used that info as a kid when they pulled four front teeth at once and filled cavity after cavity.

    Anyway, now they use some sort of pneumatic injection into the bone under the tooth… something about how the nerves through the jaw are wired that the local novacaine injection doesn’t reach all of them.

  68. 68

    You know what else causes unexpected pain and suffering?

    Obsessing about direct talks between Israel and Palestine!

    No, not really — the pain and suffering is entirely expected. But if you’re interested, this being an Open Thread and all (and opened within minutes, I think, of me posting this in the last one…!), I’ve waxed all angsty about it over at my place:

    So. Israel, Palestine, direct talks.

  69. 69
    Martin says:

    Novocain (and many others) don’t work for me either. I just told the dentist to do the fillings without it – at least I wouldn’t have the pain of the shots on top of the pain of the fillings. I’ve woken up during surgery several times from general anesthesia as well which is double-special cool. You’re not awake enough to say anything, but you can see and feel what’s going on – it’s a kind of a stupor. The first time it happened the doctor told me I was just dreaming and then I recounted the conversation he had with the nurse during the procedure. The guy went white. 30 years later it’s still good for the periodic nightmare (don’t tell me torture doesn’t have lasting impact).

    There’s lots of cool notes in my medical file. It’s a nasty problem to deal with as nobody’s quite sure what to do with you and it makes you really anxious going into any kind of procedure. After one of the above events, they tried something a different general delivered by IV. Asked me to count down from 100. They stopped me at 80, very groggy but still awake. They said that nobody ever got to 90 before, cancelled the procedure and had me come back a different time – they didn’t want to risk dumping something else on top of what they had already given me. Stuff with locals is better as you can give feedback. Thankfully when I got my V done, the doctor has the same issue with anesthetics and he was very careful to make sure the local had fully taken before digging into my nuts. I wanted to tip him for that courtesy.

  70. 70
    LarsThorwald says:

    Heavy is the head.

  71. 71

    Also, too: I have more bum teeth than good ones at this point, and once found myself having a lower molar extracted by a dentist who clearly had Parkinson’s.

    I have nothing against people with Parkinson’s and in fact have great admiration for those who carry on with their lives and careers in the face of the challenges — except when it comes to cutting into people’s flesh. Then I think you need to back away from the knives.

  72. 72
    Chad N Freude says:


    President Barack Obama and Democratic congressional leaders have been eager to extend the breaks for individuals who earn less than $200,000 annually and joint filers who make less than $250,000. Those who earn more would pay higher, pre-2001 rates starting next year.

    You may have misread the article. The vote would be on extension for the underclass and expiration for the fat cats. No proposed bill = no extension for anyone = underclass rates go up along with the rates for the rich.

  73. 73
    Batocchio says:

    Doh! Sorry. I had all four wisdom teeth yanked a few years back, plus a “partial” crown put in. That was, um, fun – it’s a little alarming to see a burly dentist yanking with all his might to extract teeth. FWIW, I only really needed the painkillers the first night, but mileage definitely varies on this stuff. Dental pain is nastier than some other types. But all the dentists I had for those procedures were pretty good.

  74. 74
    demkat620 says:

    Crowns suck ass. Mine keep breaking and the root canal, god help me I wanted to scream.

  75. 75
    John Cole says:

    Sorry for your troubles, John, but gotta say: You’re a 40-year-old man and you don’t know without your mother telling you that Novocaine doesn’t work on you?

    I haven’t had to have any cavities filled since I was 12 or 13. Just didn’t remember.

  76. 76
    Sharl says:

    The real problem: dentistry is theft.
    (3:20; specific reference at 2:10-2:30)

  77. 77
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Two fillings in molars. Done before I was 16. One filing cracked and had to be replaced in my thirties. All four wisdom teeth came in with plenty of room and are still providing wisdom.

    You may begin hating me now.

  78. 78
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Chad N Freude:

    So what’s up with the scare aspect of the story with the Blue Dogs talking solemnly about how they aren’t going to support the expiration of the tax cuts? The expiration doesn’t need any support, it’s automatic. Extending the tax cuts is what needs support.

    If the Blue Dogs decide to be a-holes, then Reid lets all of the tax cuts expire. End of story. So what’s up with the freaked-out tone of the story that implies that Reid would have to take some kind of action for the tax cuts to not expire?

  79. 79
    You Don't Say says:

    @John Cole: Ah, then you’re a lucky man indeed. My head is full of silver and porcelain.

  80. 80

    @John Cole:

    I haven’t had to have any cavities filled since I was 12 or 13.

    I officially no longer feel sorry for you.

    In my 20s, I went about 3 years without any health insurance of any kind so I just brushed obsessively, and by the time I got to the dentist, he had to fill 19 cavities.


    I’ve had 5 or 6 root canals, have three crowns, and recently had my second extraction (I guess 6th, given that the wisdom teeth went in my adolescence). And, as I mentioned above, one of those extractions was at the hands of someone who should no longer be brandishing sharp objects.

    I mean, I feel sorry for you in this moment — but in terms of general dental misery? I feel waaaaaaay sorrier for me.

  81. 81
    Cain says:


    @Anne Laurie: Heh. I have lousy teeth, too. I had a three year stretch where I had to get a shitload done to my teeth (after avoiding the dentist because of aforementioned bitch hygienist), and now I brush three times a day with an electric toothbrush and floss twice a day. For two visits (to a new better dentist and non-bitch hygienist), I have gotten the clean bill of health. It’s a lot of work for me to keep my teeth halfway decent.

    My dad is very compulsive about his teeth cleaning. He is 75 has all his teeth and they are quite white.

    I (unlike Anne Laurie) have very strong enamel. Probably cuz of fluoridated water :) I only have like three cavities. BUT, I have to brush everyday, and especially floss every day because I have bad gums. They’ll bleed if I don’t floss at least 3 times a week.

    The worst thing I’ve ever done is chip my tooth, back as a kid and that sucked. I had to have my mouth open for 3 hours while they put some compound on, dry it, and then continue. That same operation? 15 minutes. Yay for progress.


  82. 82
    LT says:


    Novocain (and many others) don’t work for me either. I just told the dentist to do the fillings without it – at least I wouldn’t have the pain of the shots on top of the pain of the fillings.

    The problem is your dentist, IMO. I’ve had the same one for 10-15 years, and have had root canals and crowns as well as a few fillings. The shots never hurt. Never.

  83. 83

    For anyone who’s interested, I made up a little illustration to demonstrate why the infamous McMegan’s penchant for thinking from the gut isn’t such a great idea:

  84. 84
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Emily L. Hauser/ellaesther:

    In my 20s, I went about 3 years without any health insurance of any kind so I just brushed obsessively, and by the time I got to the dentist, he had to fill 19 cavities.

    Yikes! I went almost 10 years without seeing a dentist and I didn’t have that many cavities. I needed two root canals and four crowns, but only about 4 cavities needed to be filled.

    But my mom was a dental hygienist and my uncle was my dentist, so I did have very good dental care when I was a kid. That makes a LOT more difference than people realize. One of G’s old dentists told him that he has problems now because he didn’t brush well when he was 12.

  85. 85
    Chad N Freude says:


    Democratic leaders still vow a big effort this month to boost the top tax brackets, now 33 and 35 percent, back to 36 and 39.6 percent, the rates that were in effect in the 1990s.

    Granted, sloppy and misleading writing, but the article appears to me to be about Reid trying to push through a bill that would do extend+expire. The determinedness is to get a middle class extension, which the blue dogs don’t want unless the wealthy get one too.

  86. 86
    Resident Firebagger says:

    And, much like celebrity deaths, crowns tend to come in threes. Been there. So look out, Cole.

  87. 87
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Chad N Freude:

    So, again, what’s with the scare tactics? The person who posted the story here was completely convinced after reading it that the Blue Dogs were going to block the expiration of the tax cuts for the rich when there isn’t actually a way for them to do so. It’s either extend the middle-class tax cuts or let the tax cuts expire for everyone. I don’t see a scenario where the Blue Dogs can somehow force the rest of the Dems to vote to extend the tax cuts for everyone, and they don’t have the votes to pass it with only Republican support.

  88. 88

    I’m w. those here who lost sympathy with the “no cavities in thirty years” bit, but I’d say to a fellow sufferer (situationally, at least,) that I’d move all the way up to Lagavullin 16 at the least on this one.

    When they start doing the 3 days of the Condor act on my mouth, no entry level malt will do. (And yeah, Laphroaig is a bit more than entry level — go for Ardbeg if you want to drink sheep dip from Islay…but you gotta take it up a notch.)

  89. 89


    ALWAYS insist on the gas. Every time. No matter what. Life is too short to feel and hear a drill pulsing into the squishy parts of your head.


  90. 90
    Ruckus says:

    Have 5 root canals, 5 crowns and 2 full fillings. That means you can see the filling through the side of the tooth. Had all 4 wisdom teeth out on the same day in boot camp by an asshole officer who had to use a hammer and chisel to break the teeth apart so he could yank them out with pliers. Swelled up like a chipmunk for about a week. Oral surgery to remove teeth growing in on top of adult teeth when I was about 8 or 9. Stitches and all that.
    My first dentist was a sadist. I was 7 when I decided that if I ever had the chance this would be the one person in the world that I wanted to hang by the balls. With very fine wire.
    I love me some dentists.

    Of course I have had some good ones too. They are just too few really good ones around.

  91. 91
    Chad N Freude says:

    @Mnemosyne: That’s right. The fight is about “Give the extension to my rich friends or I’ll let the taxes go up for your middle class friends. And hold my breath and turn blue. Wait, I’m already blue. But if I don’t get what I want, you won’t get what you want. So there.”

  92. 92
    You Don't Say says:

    @Mnemosyne: To be fair, I didn’t read past the first graf, but this is not the first place where I’ve read this. Ezra Klein, e.g., thinks the Dems will totally capitulate. Possible scenario: They need a bill to extend to middle class cuts. Can’t get the votes without adding cuts for wealthy as well. Pass it for everyone cuz would be bad politics not to pass anything. Am I missing something?

  93. 93
    Chad N Freude says:

    @Mnemosyne: I should add that I can see how the article can be construed the way the original commenter read it.

  94. 94
    Yutsano says:

    @Chad N Freude: I could see this turning into an interesting little game. The Dems let the tax cuts expire then propose the middle class cuts as a separate action and watch the Reps do massive kabuki to argue they all should go down again. And keep in mind I’m very much in the let them all expire anyway camp.

  95. 95

    @Mnemosyne: It’s genetics, my friend. Even my dentist allows as how that’s really the only explanation for me.

    My mom had a handful of bad stuff to spread around among her three children, and so far, I seem to have only gotten the bad teeth. (Given that some of the other options included “crippling endometriosis” and “rotten bone structure in your feet,” I actually feel fairly lucky!)

  96. 96
    sherifffruitfly says:

    Uh… pretty sure you should be flipping off your mom, not the intertubez.

    Except that would just be wrong, of course

  97. 97
    Chad N Freude says:

    @Yutsano: I don’t see it as a contortionist act. “It’s only fair to give all taxpayers the same cuts.” Simple positions for simple minds.

  98. 98
    You Don't Say says:

    @Yutsano: I think they should all expire as well.

  99. 99
    Yutsano says:

    @Chad N Freude: There’s a really good counterbluff that would most likely shut them up fast. Offer to extend the cuts but only if the upper income brackets are restructured.

  100. 100
    Chad N Freude says:

    @You Don’t Say: I agree, but there will be consequences. There are already lower middle class types (hint: Beck followers) claiming that their taxes have gone up since Obama took office.

  101. 101

    is there something untoward to be said about poor oral hygiene and west virginia????

  102. 102
    Jager says:

    @Suffern Ace:

    could he be Lizbeth Salander’s half brother?

  103. 103
    Jager says:


    When i was in boot camp, one of my fellow trainees had half of his teeth pulled one week, the other half pulled the following week. They gave him a shiny new set of dentures about 20% bigger than he should have had, of course they were better than the green teeth he enlisted with.

  104. 104
    John Cole says:

    I’m not following the logic here. Because I took care of my teeth and didn’t have any fillings for years, you no longer are sympathetic for the pain I feel today? Weird.

    And it isn’t that I have a low threshold of pain. Remember, I reset my own broken shoulder (multiple times because it kept falling out of socket) and then drove myself to the hospital. It is that this shit just hurt today. Period.

  105. 105

    @Jager: i really don’t understand how people can LIVE with shitty, infected, rotting teeth! doesn’t that feel HORRIBLE!!??!!?!?!?!????! how can someone get to the point where they get ALL THEIR TEETH PULLED!?!?!? Gross.

  106. 106
    sukabi says:

    John, if your tooth is still painful tomorrow evening and it feels like the temp. crown is sitting high, or you have to adjust your chewing to not be in pain, GO BACK TO THE DENTIST and have them adjust your crown… don’t wait the two weeks till your next appt…

    also, if it keeps hurting they may have damaged the nerve in the tooth, and you will need a root canal prior to the crown…

    worst pain I’ve ever had was a tooth that cracked and they put a temp. crown on… in the process of prepping the tooth for the crown, the nerve got damaged and started to die. I ended up needing a root canal… wanted to cut my own head off.

  107. 107

    @Library Grape:

    i really don’t understand how people can LIVE with shitty, infected, rotting teeth! doesn’t that feel HORRIBLE?????! how can someone get to the point where they get ALL THEIR TEETH PULLED?!? Gross.

    Have you seen a dentist’s bill? Even with insurance it can add up quickly. And moreso if you don’t, since apparently teeth (like eyesight) are not a part of your body, or something.

  108. 108

    @John Cole: don’t worry, pumpkin. just always remember to GET THE GAS. EVERY TIME. you’ll do fine.

    did i ever mention that i sometimes dream of you in a weird gay-idealized version of a hot 20-yr-old-new-marine-recruit kinda way? sorry. something about your defiant presence in ancient medieval west virginia and your military past stirs up a spicy soup.

    i do of course realize that you’re a 40-something tub with bouts of gout and teeth that don’t cooperate.

    don’t bitch! a girl can dream :).

  109. 109
    Patty K says:

    “I’ve now replaced a tooth that caused me no pain with a throbbing mass.” So why would someone as smart and contrarian as you do this? Years ago I was told that my impacted wisdom teeth might infect the jawbone underneath blah blah blah and so without a twinge a pain I chose to ignore the advice to have them out only to be told again and again you must have them because blah blah blah and here it is I’m 78 still laughing in their face. John, wake up. No pain, no procedure that will lead to a “throbbing mass.”

  110. 110

    @arguingwithsignposts: but what about REGULAR TOOTHBRUSHING!?!?!?!? Doesn’t that FEEL GOOD to EVERYONE?

  111. 111

    @Patty K: hehehe. throbbing mass.

  112. 112

    @John Cole:

    I’m not following the logic here. Because I took care of my teeth and didn’t have any fillings for years, you no longer are sympathetic for the pain I feel today? Weird.

    PO baby/

  113. 113
    dand says:

    Nothing worse than a temp especially when the special pain killer wears off. The permanent one is Ok, not sure if I would do it again and suffer through the temp.

  114. 114
    Chad N Freude says:

    @Library Grape: I just clicked through to your website. Muy divertiendo. You fit right in here with all the other sirrus commenters.

  115. 115
    oklahomo says:


    I can honestly say that having a dry socket is the worst physical pain I have ever suffered. Even when I had a finger rebuilt after a chainsaw accident and the nerve block wore off, it was nowhere near as bad as the dry socket.

  116. 116
    You Don't Say says:

    @John Cole: Well, your first mistake is implying that those of us with rotten teeth don’t take care of them. You can almost see through my teeth (yuck! I know) because I have lousy enamel. Born that way, thanks to Dad.

  117. 117
    You Don't Say says:

    @Chad N Freude: I know it’s not politically feasible to let them all expire, and I’m not that opposed to extending them for lower brackets, but I am seriously opposed to extending them for top brackets. For me, it’s both real and symbolic. How anyone can be convinced that tax cuts for the rich are stimulative is beyond me.

  118. 118

    @Library Grape: Regular toothbrushing. And flossing. Yes, those are important, and can help. But as someone mentioned above, some of it is genetic, and some of it is bad choice in diet, for instance.

  119. 119
    Chad N Freude says:

    @You Don’t Say: It’s very simple. Tax cuts stimulate the economy. It follows that tax cuts for the rich stimulate the economy. QED.

  120. 120
    Mnemosyne says:

    @You Don’t Say:

    Ezra is my go-to policy wonk, but I’m not sure how good he is on the various machinations and bargaining that goes on in the Senate. Odd as it sounds, I’m also not sure that the Republicans would go along with extending the tax cuts — they want the whole thing to rest on the Democrats. But even if they did, I don’t know that they could get 51 votes to do it their way.

  121. 121
    Chad N Freude says:

    @You Don’t Say: The whole tax cuts stimulating the economy thing reminds me of homeopathy.

    Dilution often continues until none of the original substance remains.

    Lowering taxes gives the rich more spending ability, increasing government revenues, enabling further tax cuts.

  122. 122
    quaint irene says:

    You, sir, are a pampered wuss.

    Just want to say, this is the guy, who last winter drove himself to the ER with a dislocated shoulder. After trying to pop it in several times himself. So lets just cut him a little slack, mmm0kay?

  123. 123
    oklahomo says:

    @Library Grape:

    In some parts of the country, extreme poverty, lack of education, and parents who also were victims of poverty, lack of education. Poor diet as well. Not to mention a lack of affordable periodic checkups.

    The problem has actually gotten worse in some places, because of meth mouth.

    It is also possible to have an abscessed tooth become a life threatening event.

    I have had the dubious pleasure of knowing people whose mouths smell life swamp mud, from a distance. Up close it will trigger the gag reflex. How they can get used to this beats me, but there it is.

  124. 124
    db says:

    @Library Grape: completely untoward; and completely funny.

  125. 125
    WereBear says:

    I had an tooth die on me starting around 11 PM one night. My appointment was the next day. If I didn’t know the acupressure point in the web of my hand (between the thumb and index finger) I would have yanked it out myself with a pair of pliers just to get the pain to stop.

    Most of that time I was watching a WC Fields movie. And I still like him.

    Had the dead tooth replaced with an implant, many years ago, when they were cutting edge. They told me it would take like 45 minutes and did I want a local. I opted to be put to sleep and woke up 2 1/2 hours later. Boy, was I glad I took the sleep option.

    They always lie about how long it will be.

    Then (this tooth is a Viking saga, I swear) it took six months for the implant to “take” and they had assured me they had used the correct sized post, even though every single person who observed this molar during the ordeal drew back like Dracula from sauteed garlic and exclaimed, “That’s a big tooth!”

    I was extremely skeptical that such a monster tooth would be handled by a onesizefitsall titanium post but they kept metaphorically patting my little head and telling me they do this all the time, so my impertinent spreadsheets with computed foot pounds over force per square millimeter meant nothing, so when they put the crown on and said go forth and eat I had a peanut butter sandwich and the damn thing broke off.

    The oral surgeon was deeply humiliated that the geeky girl had been right, but he sucked it up and did the replacement completely comped and put in two massive posts that have held monster crown to this day and make my xrays something all the dentists in the office have to come over and see.

  126. 126


    But I was really just teasing, and I do in fact feel quite sorry for you, as I do in fact, know your pain. And if I lived anywhere near you, I would be bringing you ice packs and liquid food.


    … and feel better soon!

  127. 127
    Nylund says:

    I got a crown about 2 years ago. I remember not liking the procedure, but I don’t remember it being all that horrible. Just lots of really sensitive tooth stuff being exposed and prodded at. Two years later, its all good though, although I still find myself exploring that tooth with my tongue as the texture is different from the rest of my teeth. I probably look a bit weird with my mouth open, tongue prodding and licking a back molar. A bit like a slack jawed yokel I imagine.

  128. 128
    Ruckus says:

    Knew a army capt that told me about a private in his unit who joined during Vietnam to get his teeth fixed. Had a wife and 3 kids, lived somewhere in Appalachia. No Dr, no dentists, no health care at all. He got them fixed and was happy with the results.

    @John Cole:
    I don’t think everyone was putting you in the sissy category. Myself I just know that I’ve had teeth that needed work all of my life. Almost constantly. But I still have most of the teeth that grew in, or at least whats left after a lot of heavy duty work, they look OK and don’t hurt unless a dentist is working on them. BTW I have a filling in a front tooth and that was probably the most fun. To sum up, you lucky bastard, if a crown is all you’ve had in the last 30 or so years that’s a small price to pay. And as someone up thread stated my dentist has a machine that makes the crown while you wait. It’s a one day procedure that’s not cheap but cheaper than two or more trips.

  129. 129
    Anne Laurie says:


    I can’t tolerate nitrous oxide, unfortunately. it makes me sicker than a horrible hangover…

    Yeah, me too; it took switching dentists a couple of times before we figured out that vomiting halfway through the procedure wasn’t just dental-phobia. Fortunately, novacaine works for me, and I insist on it for anything more stressful than a cleaning from my favorite hygenist. I also demand the cherry-flavored topical rub to numb the injection spot beforehand, because when the shot doesn’t hurt, I don’t tense up before the dentist tries to get both hands and a bunch of tools into my mouth. Protip: It’s better to be a total coward in advance (ask for the kiddy gel, make sure the drugs are working) than to suffer afterwards because you didn’t want to “look like a wimp”. I have reason to believe that the average dentist would rather go the extra mile to make sure you’re comfortable than have yet another patient mysteriously “disappear” after a bad experience.

  130. 130
    Jager says:

    @Library Grape:

    I think my fellow trainee was from the hill country of Missouri, bet there was no tradition of “going to the dentist” or of any dental hygiene at all. All i remember was his teeth were GREEN when boot camp started and he was a damn good shot!

  131. 131
    Anne Laurie says:


    I’ve had the same one for 10-15 years, and have had root canals and crowns as well as a few fillings. The shots never hurt. Never.

    This varies enormously from person to person, depending on exactly where all the nerves in your particular jaw run. For me, the shots have always hurt, more on the left side than the right. That’s why I demand the “pediatric numbing gel” rubbed on my gum in advance — anyone who’s had pain with a dentist’s injection, I’d recommend the gel highly!

  132. 132
    eir says:

    @Joseph Nobles –

    Who is the miracle Nashville dentist? I have a relative who has been having a horrific dental experience down there and would greatly appreciate a recommendation.

  133. 133
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Library Grape:

    i really don’t understand how people can LIVE with shitty, infected, rotting teeth!

    Poverty. Bad nutrition, no dental care (or lousy care, from incompetent dentists or trainees), cascading infections (remember, both caries & gum disease are infections). Perfect shiny smiles are a very modern luxury for most people — when I was growing up in the 1960s, the working-class women in my neighborhood still told each other that “Every child (pregnancy) will cost you a tooth”, and my dad’s naturally ‘perfect’ teeth were so rare that his coworkers assumed he had full dentures even before he turned 30. Lots of our fellow Americans still live with constant pain & disfigurement because they can’t afford the “luxury” of dental care… if it weren’t for my husband’s good credit, I’d be among them.

  134. 134
    Jager says:


    In the Army, like civilian life, there are good dentists, bad dentists and a few really good ones. The only filling I’ve had that lasted more than 10-15 years is one an Army dentist replaced at Fort Bragg in 1970, I’m sure that kid dentist is a rich cosmetic dentist today today! (I noticed he had a golf shirt on under his Army Dentist smock while he was filling my tooth, my kind of GI)

  135. 135
    Jager says:

    @Anne Laurie:

    They used to just pull them when they went bad, pull enough and then the false teeth watch began. When I was a kid in the 50’s it was rare that anyone over 50 had their own teeth. My Dad, born in 1920, had braces installed when he was 12, that was rare, really rare. He said it was a bitch because he had to go every week and get the nuts tightened
    on his braces…old Doc Griffin would crank them so tight, Dad said his eyes would water and Doc Griffin would be puffing and sweating…there are pictures of Dad with his depression era braces, they are so damn big, it looks like somebody shoved an Erector set in his mouth!

  136. 136
    TrishB says:

    @Anne Laurie: Poverty definitelly plays a huge role. Shoot, when I was still employed, my “good” insurance covered $1500 max/year. That got me one crown, if I remember correctly. I had to wait another year to get my night guard covered, so I could stop getting the damned crowns.

    I grew up in a town with fluoridated water and went to the dentist every six months as a kid. I have 24 teeth, and every one from the canines back has a buckle filling, a crown, or a root canal. From family observation, my best advice if you want to have good teeth is not have Irish fishermen in your ancestry.

  137. 137

    @John Cole: Hey, Cole, not all of us called you a wuss. I got your back. And your teeth, too. Dental pain is excruciating. I have to take Excedrin Migraine and ibuprofen just to get my teeth cleaned (though I have been told not to mix ’em. Oops). And, again, I have a very high pain tolerance. I hope you feel better.

  138. 138
    Jman says:

    Jebus, you are 40 and you just discovered novocain doesn’t work? Holy Christ, life must have been rough for you! I’m sitting here with my blue hair in my Mercury Medicare Marquis and I can count 11 crowns and four veneers.

  139. 139
    Unintentionally Pregnant says:

    Here’s how I do it successfully: premedication with Demerol and Valium. I am STONED outta my mind. They also put on Nitrous too once I’m in the chair. Very nice. Four hours goes by in a flash. Drop off and pick up by my neighbor.

  140. 140
    mvr says:

    I skip the novacaine and just have them drill till they’re done without anesthesia. It hurts a lot less than biting off my tongue or chomping on my cheek under the influence of the pain killers. I got a temporary crown yesterday and will get the permanent one in a couple of weeks, so the experience is fresh in mind and I’d recommend this strategy to all who can envision taking it. I think most people fear the pain more than they than dislike the pain when it happens. And novacaine doesn’t help for fear. YMMV.

    But in any case, best wishes for a largely pain free recovery.

  141. 141
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Anne Laurie:

    I always get that, but the novocain shots still hurt. Then again, I have a very low pain threshold, so it would hurt even more without it. The endodontist who did my root canals laughed at me because he warned me that injecting novocain into the roof of my mouth was going to hurt, and I complained anyway.

    (That was the same doctor who wasn’t willing to give me nitrous because it was a rainy day and I didn’t have anyone to drive me home. I said, “Then can you just shoot me up with as much novocain as possible?” He flipped through my chart and said, “Oh, yeah, I can do that.” The procedure didn’t hurt a bit and it was comforting to know I could have as much anesthesia as I wanted.)

    My other dental lifesaver: the magical iPod. It got me through two root canals and multiple other procedures. The sound of the instruments is one of the things that freaks me out most, so drowning them out helps a whole lot.

  142. 142
    Wim says:

    Hi, John! Long-time reader, first-time commenter.

    I feel your pain. I mean that literally. I’ve had two root canals, gum surgeries, post implantation, and temp crowns in the last two months. (And one might think, wow, were my teeth bad, but in fact the dentist was all ‘wow, are your teeth good.’ After about twenty years of complete phobic neglect, that was all the major work he had to do. ‘Really amazing,’ he kept saying). I’m waiting now for my gum to finish healing before I get my permanent crowns.

    Mileage may vary, of course, but I was obviously lucky in my choices of dentists. With the root canals I felt only a not-unpleasant sensation of burning. The worst part was always getting the shots. And speaking of, when I referred to them as novacaine shots, I was instantly corrected. No one uses novacaine and they haven’t in decades. My dentist, like most, used lidocaine. Yours probably did, too.

    The procedures were virtually painless, but then of course there’s the recovery and the miserable ache of it. And I felt exactly as you describe, rueful when not furious that I had traded teeth that didn’t much hurt for this, and at such cost.

    I remember the good old days when any dentist visit got you a script for Percocet or something sweet like that, but my dentist recommended Advil, and I have been amazed to discover it actually works. Here’s hoping your pain diminishes to mere passing annoyance, very soon.

  143. 143

    @Chad N Freude: Thanks! I like my commentary with a heaping spoonful of snark :)

  144. 144

    @Anne Laurie: Good point. I think I am just too much of a wuss. One twinge of sensitivity on a tooth makes me howl.

  145. 145
    Ruckus says:

    I still have a filling done by in boot camp by a dental assistant. One of the best set of hands in my mouth in all my years before or since. BTW that’s over 40 years ago. My current dentist says it’s getting about due to replace but he didn’t think it was over 20 years old.

  146. 146

    Wow. I got a crown yesterday, too. It was the single least painful experience I have ever had at the dentist. For the first time ever, I got enough novacaine. I even went to work. After an hour or so, it did become somewhat painful, though. So I went home early.

    I’m sorry you weren’t so lucky.

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