My dentist insisted that I needed “sedation medication” for a root canal. I was told that it would make me feel very relaxed. Instead, it functioned as a mind eraser.
My husband and I got into a car so I could get to my dentist appointment. This was not my regular dentist (who is in town, and easily accessible by bus or rideshare). This new dentist was in another town. It was made very clear to me that I wouldn’t be able to drive myself home after the procedure.
The rideshare driver was one we had hired before, when I made my first visit to the office of the person I think of as “second dentist”. Technically, he specialized in endodontics. “Second dentist” confirmed “first dentist’s” suspicion. I needed a root canal.
I brought with me a bag that included the “sedation medication” that “second dentist” insisted that I have right before the root canal. I was to bring it to the office, and take it there, where I could be monitored.
The bag also held my sunglasses (which I didn’t end up using), the credit card I would use to pay for the root canal, and a plastic, resealable, box that held some extremely soft, gluten-free, animal crackers. They will melt in your mouth if you let them, so you don’t have to chew.
When I made this dentist appointment, I was told that I could not have anything to eat or drink six hours before the appointment. I figured I would come out of the dentist’s office starving — and made sure I had food I could safely eat.
We arrived a bit early, and the office was having lunch. Shortly before my appointment, the receptionist appeared at the door. She took my temperature with one of those things that people aim at someone’s forehead to check for fever. I was offered hand sanitizer, which I used.
The receptionist smartly had me fill out some paperwork, and pay for the root canal, before I took the medication. She then asked me if I remembered to bring my “sedation medication”. I pulled the prescription bottle out of my bag and showed it to her.
The receptionist gave me a small cup of water to drink. The prescription bottle contained two pills. I was expecting one. “Am I to take both of these?, I asked. She said yes. So, I took them both.
The receptionist then pointed me to the bathroom. I remembered a call from “second dentist’s” office, a few days ago, in which I was reminded not to eat or drink anything six hours before the appointment. The reason was simple. They expected I’d be in “second dentist’s” office for three hours.
After I returned from bathroom the dentist’s assistant walked me to a room and pointed to where I could hang up my bag. I was told to sit down in the dental chair. She put a video on the big screen TV that was hanging on the wall. National Geographic’s “Deep Sea” started playing. It was narrated by David Attenborough.
I started to feel a bit more relaxed as I watched whales eating krill. A large swarm of tiny fish followed the whale. The dentist’s assistant moved around the room, setting up for the procedure I was about to have. “Let me know when you start to feel something,” she told me.
“What should I feel?” I asked.
A little while later, I got cold. She kindly brought me a blanket, and tucked me in. She said they keep the room cold because they all have to wear PPE, and it makes them warm.
I vaguely remember saying that I felt sleepy. I think I heard the dentist’s assistant ask me something. She sounded very far away. I remember having a brace of some kind pushed into my mouth, to keep my jaw open during the root canal.
When I woke up, I wasn’t aware that any time had passed. I must have looked confused. The dentist’s assistant was talking to me, but I wasn’t able to focus on what she said.
The next thing I remember was sitting on a bench outside “second dentist’s” office, with my husband. I tried to make a post on social media to let my friends know that the root canal was over, and that I was okay.
I don’t really remember getting into the rental car. Everything was still a blur after we returned home. To the best of my knowledge, I changed back into pajamas and went to sleep.
The next day, or maybe it was later that evening, I was scrolling through social media. There was not one, but two, incoherent posts that I made while under the influence of “sedation medication”. I have absolutely no memory of making the second one.
One of my friends sent me a very kind response. That was nice.
What else happened that I was unaware of? My husband told me that the dentist’s assistant came to the door of the office and gave him a lot of information about aftercare. I don’t remember that happening. He also said I fell asleep on the way home in the rental car.
The next day, “second dentist” called me. I had been sleeping, but was coherent enough to answer the phone. “Second dentist” informed me that the tooth that I had a root canal on had three roots.
“This is why your other dentist didn’t want to do the root canal”, he informed me.
“Second dentist” said he removed two of the roots, but could not remove the third one. He also said a tiny piece of one of the dental tools broke off in my gum. It was made of titanium, like the titanium screw that “first dentist” had placed in my jaw after an extraction not long ago. This was nothing to worry about.
I figure my body will go ahead and push out the little piece of titanium as soon as possible. That’s what it did years ago, when I had a root canal on a completely different tooth, and a little chunk of the tooth broke off and stuck out of my gums. That procedure did not require “sedation medication”.
Overall, I think taking the “sedation medication” was a good idea. It gave me the opportunity to have a much needed root canal without having to consciously experience any of it.
My expectation was that I would feel “very relaxed”. It wasn’t until after all was said and done that I learned it was a mind eraser.
Originally published at https://bookofjen.net on November 12, 2020.