The Ouch Method

dentistLast Friday, while Muri and I were enjoying lunch at Duke’s Cafe, a semi-fast food restaurant featuring Greek food and just about anything else, I noticed something amiss on my right upper jaw.   After carefully swallowing a mouthful of Greek chicken salad … actually Greek salad with California chicken …  I discovered roughly one quarter of a molar missing.  Top right, second from the back.   Fortunately, Dr. H, our dentist, was able to see me right away to fill the hole with something akin to plumber’s putty.   And yesterday, after Muri and I finished delivering Meals on Wheels, I headed to Dr. H’s office to be prepped for a crown.   This will be an easy one, he said, because it’s on the top.  As I recall he said that about the last crown on the bottom.  It makes no difference … I’m a white knuckler at the dentist, even though Dr. H makes the ordeal as bearable as it can be.  To understand why, you have to go back sixty years.  To the Ouch Method.

When I was a kid, my dentist, Dr. C, was an Army buddy of my Dad’s.  But good friends aren’t always good dentists and doctor C’s technique left a lot to be desired.   You see, Dr. C didn’t believe in using Novocaine.  He thought that if he used Novocaine, he would drill too deep, so he invented the Ouch Method to determine when he’d gone deep enough.  The Ouch, of course, was mine when he hit a nerve.  I’d hang on to the arms of the dental chair waiting for the pain that would signal then end of my ordeal, or at least the drilling phase.  So, even though my current dentist, Dr. H, uses enough Novocaine to numb my entire head, I’m still waiting for the Ouch.  The worst part is that because Dr. C really didn’t drill deep enough to clean out my cavities, decay continued beneath the fillings.  When I moved to California in 1971 and started seeing Dr H Sr., he had to do major fillings in almost all my molars, and why, over the years, as the teeth weakened, they all needed crowns.

So, here I sit on Monday night, blogging in my recliner, a modest scotch-on-the-rocks at my sidescotch (strictly for anesthetic purposes, you see).    Hopefully, the temporary crown is firmly in place and stays that way until the permanent crown is ready in two weeks.  Corn nuts will be avoided and I have a tube of Polident to put it back on should it work itself loose.  I can’t complain … a hundred years ago, people commonly died from the effects of tooth decay and back in Jesus’ day, some practitioners treated tooth decay by pressing an ointment of roasted earthworms and spikenard (a medicinal plant) mixed with crushed eggs of spiders into the drilled out cavity.  The Ouch Method is a thing of the past.   And if the price of gold keeps rising, my kids may retire on the contents of my mouth.

TSTOh, yeah.  It’s Top Sites Tuesday #190 and I need to glean Two Thoughts from this dental saga.  OK.  Thought Number One: roasted earthworms and spikenard mixed with crushed eggs of spiders … and the Ouch Method … badThought Number Two: Novocaine, good.

And, of course, pushing my button … gently … to make me Number One on Top Sites Tuesday #190, glorious!

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5 Comments on “The Ouch Method”

  1. cherperz Says:

    Never pleasant when a tooth breaks. The Ouch Method would have left anyone leery of dentistry. I never have had a bad experience at the dentist and I am a big fan of Novocaine.

    Hopefully the temporary will hang in there and the new crown will go in nice and easy.

  2. liggybee Says:

    Yes, funny how dentistry has changed over the years…it used to be so traumatic!!! Now you see all these dentists advertising about sedative dentistry and painless dentistry…I, too, still nervously wait for the ouch factor if I have to get a procedure done. Though I have learned that after a few root canals that the only real pain in getting a root canal is the discomfort in keeping your mouth open so long. (Usually when you need a root canal, the root is already dead so there’s no pain there anymore). Oh well! Have fun at the dentist!!! (hahaha…)


  3. Trina Says:

    My experiences at the dentist are very limited… I think I’ve had my teeth cleaned a few times when I was a kid, guess I’m lucky that way. Actually I lost my last “baby tooth” in college LOL

    I can’t imagine a drill in my mouth, let alone the Novocain needle needed to allow said drilling, but no numbing at all?!?!?! That’s just sadistic torture.

    And furthermore, “roasted earthworms and spikenard mixed with crushed eggs of spiders” that’s enough to make me sick to my stomache just thinking about it! BLEH!

    Clicks! Hope your dental trip ends with a solid crowning!

  4. Wolfbernz Says:

    Hi Bud,

    I can’t think of anything worst than going to the dentist, especially having work that had to be done twice for incompetent work. I feel your pain!

    Clicks for you,

  5. territerri Says:

    Growing up, Dr. W was my dentist. Nice enough guy, but the weird face mask he wore scared me. And I was always panicked by a visit to the dentist. I now see Dr. W Jr. and he too uses enough novacaine to numb my head. But he’s gentle and I am comforted by his over-precautious nature.

    Your button has been pushed.

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