It’s never boring at my dentist’s office.
There was only a little drama with the permanent cap yesterday when the dental assistant tried to take off the temporary cap.
See, it’s what they call a “live” tooth – no infection, no earthly reason for why touching the tooth or drinking cold water sends an exquisite pain shooting up into my brain. The dentist told me the pain would die down after he put the temporary cap on some six weeks ago, but it didn’t get even a little better.
I mostly trust my dentist, though, and he told me he thought he could fix it by using a special non-conducting cement on the permanent cap. So that’s what he did, and so far, it seems much improved.
Anyway, so there I was with my live tooth and the assistant trying to yank the cap off with a pair of pliars. Finally she said sympathetically, “Do you think you’d like some Novocaine for this?” Through gritted teeth, I said I thought that would be a good idea. So she did, and the cap finally came off with only a little pain, and we were fine.
While waiting for the cement on the new cap to set, my dentist told me he just read Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers” and he really, really liked it. “Boy, that guy is just brilliant,” he said. (Dr. W. is a geek, with excellent taste in music as evidenced by his office iPod selection.)
He told me about a patient who was a very famous musician, who was shocked to find out Dr. W. listened to some experimental atonal music. “He told me, look, you just need to know it exists, you’re not supposed to actually listen to it.” (Since I was married to someone who listened to a lot of Steven Reich, I agreed.)
He also told me about a patient who was a professional psychic, and how every time they worked on her, she told people “really interesting stuff.” Once my cap was set, he brought me over to talk to one of the other dentists, who’d gotten to be friends with her.
“I hired her as the entertainment for my daughter’s bat mitzah, and everyone was there – my wife, my parents, my in-laws, the ex-wife, the ex-in-laws, my daughter and all her friends. I told her to come early and eat, but she said no, she didn’t want people saying she overheard conversations and was a fake. So she shows up one minute to two, she starts telling the kids this one’s dating that one, but she really likes this other one, and so on. The girls were riveted.
“Then she says to me, ‘Would you like to know about your past life?’ I said sure. She said, “You were a silk trader in Japan and you love the fabric. That’s why, since you were five years old, you’ve always insisted on wearing wool pants lined with silk.’
“My mother heard that, she almost had a heart attack. Because she was right.”