After my previous foray into the world of Canadian dentistry, I thought I was ready for the filling. I prepared myself for the injection, the drilling and the overall unpleasant experience that fillings usually are. The first problem arose when the dentist thought that offering a teddy to hold instead of gripping the arms of the chair was a good idea. I explained that I would prefer it if he ignores any scrunched up faces, wiggling toes or tears on my part and continue to get the job done unless I raise my hand. I said I like to know whats going on and have it explained as we go, but he kept trying to hide the needle. Anyway, we got through the check up, the numbing gel and a series of injections and he then whipped out what looked to me like a bit of a balloon stretched over some paperclips bent into a rectangle. It had small holes that I assume meant I was supposed to be able to breathe and it was a deep green to support the theory that it was actually a balloon. He referred to this as a dam and said we could not proceed without it. It was put in my mouth with bits of elastic between my teeth holding it in position and something uncomfortable clipping it to my tooth. Apparently, in Canada they dont do fillings without dams as patients swallow bits of metal and debris. Now, I dont know what is going on here, but I have never had this problem when having dental treatment in the UK without a dam.
Anyway, not long after the dam was put in place, the action began. Due to the large balloon/ paperclip contraption I found it difficult to swallow my spit. In addition to saliva, the water being used to clean out my tooth was coming through the holes in the balloon to my throat underneath. I soon began gurgling, the gurgling and feeling like I was going to choke induced panic. At this point, the situation got a little out of hand and luckily the dam was soon removed. The dentist said that my stress caused him stress and that he could not give me a filling as he felt like he was torturing me and he doesnt like to do that to people. These Canadians and their niceness. Despite all attempts to get it done, after all it was already numb, I could not convince him to proceed without the dam. He gave me a temporary filling – this seemed like a bit of putty being put in my tooth and suggested that I be put to sleep for future dental work. It is actually cheaper to fly back to England and get the good old NHS to get the job done that pay for the sleeping butcher. I thanked him for my temporary filling and explained that I would not be entering any places that may attempt to put a dam in my mouth for the foreseeable future. I have never had the experience of being tortured using the method of waterboarding, but I can only imagine that this balloon and paperclip business is the next best thing.
It is safe to say that, a once nervous patient, I have now become terrified of the dentist and will not be returning. Even if my Dad comes. The only thing that stopped me shaking was eating some mini cupcakes from my favourite cupcake place – Life is Sweet, on the non-numb side, whilst walking back along the beach. I couldnt go to the gym as I couldnt pull normal faces with my numb lip, and eating dinner was not massively enjoyable.