Welp. I met my match. So did one of Milwaukee's highest rated dentists: Dr. Thomas Goddard--acclaimed for having performed more than 20,000 root canals.
What was once a very painful procedure, these days, with modern technology, the extraction of a tooth's nerves is now considered routine. I was prepared for a little discomfort, but hopefully after an hour-long visit, all would be fine.
But oh no. Not with me. I'm special.
Dr. Goddard and his assistant casually prepared for the hour in standard fashion. Insurance check, x-ray, bib, glasses, shots of anesthetic to the gums and a crazy latex ring that isolates my tooth and looks like a mouse trampoline as it is spread across my open mouth.
I should have known there would be a problem when they asked if I could still feel my lips 15 minutes after receiving the shots. "They're tingly, but I can still feel them."
Anyway, they wait a few more and I say, they're pretty numb now (but I could still kinda feel 'em).
The procedure started comfortably enough, with only a skull-buzzing sound of a grinder and the whiishhing sound of the assistant's suction thing. Then a nerve was hit. My body stiffened instantly in the chair and I winced hard. The doc asks, "That hurt?" Mmm hmm, I mumble loudly. No words are possible with this contraption in my mouth.
He does something not for the squeamish. He takes a syringe filled with anesthetic and sticks the needle right into the hole he has drilled into my molar. The pain of this prick sends me through the roof. My knees jerk up to my chest, my hands grip the chair arms like I'm holding on to a flying planes' wing. tears swell, sweat pours from my forehead, and saliva is bubbling out of the rim of the mouse trampoline. Doc says "Just hang on. It will go away in a second."
He's right. The pain eased and the excavating resumed.
After a few seconds of doing root canal stuff--POW!--another blast of excruciating pain. Doc is surprised. Usually a hypodermic shot right into tooth tissue solves the problem. Let's give you another one. 😐 This won't be as bad as the first, since you're already pretty numb in there. He's right, it hurts, but my knees don't quite make it back to my chest.
A few moments pass and the excavation resumes. Not more than 20 seconds pass and another blast of nerve-zinging pain electrifies my entire body.
Cleary the anesthetic is having little to no affect. I am now in the chair shaking like the last Autumn leaf. Sweat is pouring from my brow down around my ears. He asks, "Should we keep going?" I motion a circle with my index finger. As much as I hate this, we're this far, might as well keep going, I think. He gives me yet another shot into the tooth. And the same thing happens: upon excavation/extraction, my knees shoot up and my hands nearly rip the arms off the chair.
Dr. Goddard stops. "Mike, we can't go on. I cannot keep torturing you like this." The mouse trampoline is removed from my mouth and I reply that I agree.
I've had a lot done in my mouth including implants and another root canal (on a tooth that was mostly dead anyway), but my body was having no reaction to the anesthetic. He repacked the tooth with an antibacterial goo and topped it with a temporary filling. We're going to give that goo a month or so to kill more tissue and then we'll try again.
Upon my departure, Dr. Goddard says that he's done over 20,000 root canals but he can only remember two where the same thing occurred. I am number three.
Lucky us. Uncomfortably un-numb.