It was a Wednesday night and I had been playing poker with the guys at my home.  After the game I cleaned up and sat down for a nightcap and a handful of peanuts.  Munching away, I felt a slight ache in a back molar.  I didn’t worry. I probably just hit the filling the wrong way.

Thursday I went about my business and on a few occasions I felt that same brief tingle whenever I chewed.  After all, my dentist told me the tooth would `sing’ frequently because the filling was close to the gum line.

At exactly 5 a.m. on Friday I sat bolt upright in bed.  The sound of a scream had awakened me.  I wondered if a neighbour was in trouble.  It turns out that neighbour was me.  I ran my tongue over the affected area and nearly found myself spinning with the ceiling fan.  My throat was sore and I hurried into the bathroom.  Staring back at me in the mirror was a swollen jaw and I felt an unworldly network of pain throbbing throughout my skull.

I called my dentist as soon as he was open for business and managed to book an appointment for noon.  Upon arrival I was ushered into the chair and I warned my dentist that should he touch the tooth with one of those silver instruments he may find himself as a permanent soprano or a eunuch in some far off land.  The doctor was gentle and an X-ray was taken.  As soon as the dentist came into the room I knew by his countenance that the news was not good.

The tooth’s nerve was dying and he informed me it either had to be pulled or a root canal should be performed.  The molar was at the very back and knowing the ninety minutes in the chair and the staggering cost of a root canal procedure I decided upon the extraction.

However, there was only one problem.  There was an infection, hence the swollen gum and jaw.  It is astounding how fast the tooth became infected.  My dentist said antibiotics would be required before an extraction could be made and his associate surgeon was unavailable. I was told it would take a few weeks before the extraction could be done unless I went to another surgeon who specializes in this kind of situation.

I took the X-ray with me and raced to a dental surgeon only a few minutes away.  The receptionist informed me that they were closing in fifteen minutes and that their staff Christmas party was soon to follow. I told her the pain was simply unbearable and compared it to attending a Justin Bieber concert.  Immediately, she understood just how severe the circumstances were and I was escorted to a chair.

The surgeon came in and she studied the X-ray.  I was told the tooth could be extracted right away but it would require double freezing due to the infection.

The needles were applied and soon the intense ache was gone. The relief was almost orgasmic.  I do not suffer from odontophobia and I am not a squeamish person.  The only time I am slightly afraid of a dentist is when they hand me the bill as I do not have coverage.

The surgeon had an array of tools on a tray and a hooked instrument was initially used to pry the tooth to-and-fro.  I heard her grunt with a perplexed expression upon her masked face.  This is never a good sign.  There was more prying back and forth and another grunt.  I saw a bead of sweat upon her forehead.  That is another bad sign.  I heard her say, “This is one hell of a strong tooth!” She produced a pair of pliers and they were clamped onto the tooth.  The surgeon actually pressed her elbow into my chest for leverage and the real struggle began.

My head was pushed from side to side and the pliers snapped into two pieces.  I’m not sure if I wet myself or if it was just perspiration but I was thankful the seat was vinyl.  She found another pair of pliers and this time she literally put some elbow grease into her work.  I felt a cracking down my jaw and into my neck as well as through the top of my head.  She pulled out four pieces of what turned out to be a very large and slightly hooked molar.  It took six stitches and many antibiotics and painkillers to recover.

That Tooth Fairy had better put her money where my mouth is.  I need that currency to pay for the extraction!

By: Ben Guyatt

Ben Guyatt is a stand-up comedian and a published author. Visit his website at and follow him on Facebook. He also hosts The

Providing a Fresh Perspective for Burlington and Hamilton.

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