Is It Safe?

She and her assistant have been trying for the last two hours to extract my wayward wisdom tooth to no avail. They have both their hands in my mouth, manipulating tools; one holding, another sucking the saliva out, one prying, the other twisting and pulling. My jaw hurts and my lips are dry. I feel the twisting of a corkscrew-like tool being used like a lever to pry the tooth out. She asks if I need another shot of lidocaine. I don’t; imagining that I’m Dustin Hoffman’s character in the 1976 film Marathon Man I’m deliberately letting the local anesthetic wear off a bit but I don’t want her to know. Is it safe? The radio is on in the background; the announcer says something amusing, and I chuckle. I don’t think she understands my relationship with pain. Pausing with curiosity she asks what I am laughing at. I rotate my eyes  in the direction of the radio. She seems anxious; my operation is running into the scheduled time for other patients, so she leaves the room to ask for assistance. While she’s away I slip my mobile phone out of my pocket to take a photo of the tools. Returning with a male dentist, she catches me in the act and they both regard me with horror. He is rougher. He seems to think that I’ve overstayed my welcome. They’re canceling appointments and losing income because of me. With six hands in my mouth he wedges the corkscrew in and twists. My back arches in pain and I am given more lidocaine. Two hours later the tooth is out. He storms out of the room. I can’t wait for my next appointment. Is it safe?


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