i left by 10:30am. the temperature outside was in the mid-20's. it was only cold the first few minutes of pedaling, but once i warmed up, i didn't notice the temperature. not too many other cyclists today, probably too cold to bike for many, even though it was an otherwise beautiful day. in the deep blue sky was the sun making an appearance after more than 2 weeks.
i arrived at park street right on time. i made my way upstairs to the dentist office. there was no other patients, an old cantonese man was leaving right when i arrived. i went to a different exam room today, a lot bigger. my dental x-rays were clipped onto a light box. the dentist asked which side i wanted to work on today. before we started, i asked her a few more questions. should i get a root canal before a crown? she said the typical procedure is to first shape the tooth to a hub. then a temporary crown is put in place, and after 2 weeks i go back to have my permanent crown made. if during that time i still have pain at the site, that's when they do a root canal. that sounded more reasonable, so i told her to do my upper left molar, the one that's mostly filling anyway. it feels like a volcano crater when i feel it with my tongue, and a few years back a corner of the molar broke off and my old dentist had to fill the tooth down, so that tooth was already in bad shape.
before they started i told that i haven't been out in 2 weeks, only been to the supermarket and to see my parents, and i wasn't out partying on new year's eve. i just wanted them to have that peace of mind, especially during this omicron variant surge. the dentist thanked me for my discretion, if it was up to them, they'd probably ask these questions to all their patients, but barring an actual covid test, there's nothing they can really do. being a dentist during pandemic times is probably one of the easiest ways to get covid yourself.
they started by first applying some topical analgesic, a cotton swab thick with some ointment. then the dentist started injecting my gums with novacaine. the first few shots i didn't feel, but the final few she injected a part of my gum where she didn't apply the analgesic, and my body involuntarily convulsed from the sudden shock of pain.
they put a silicone bit on the other side of my mouth to keep it from closing and to protect my tongue while they drilled away the molar. it was uncomfortable at first, but after a while i got used to it, it kept my mouth open without me having to do it. all that drilling reminded me of when the plumbers were working on my pipes, except this was all happening inside my head. ever once in a while i could smell burning tooth enamel, haven't smelled that in a while. once the dentist finished drilling, she paused so they could take a new x-ray of the tooth. i felt it with my tongue, it was disconcerting to find nothing there but a stub.
the dentist told me i had a cavity in the molar next to the one they just drilled. she said if i wanted, they could also drill out that tooth and turn that into a crown as well. that seemed kind of drastic, i asked couldn't they just remove the old filling and put in a new one? she said they could, but the old filling already takes up 1/3 of the molar, and it'd be easier and more permanent to simply drill the tooth and replace it with a crown. i didn't like that idea at all. i still think this park street dentist is running a racket where they bilk the insurance for unnecessary work. she sensed my hesitancy and said i could decide next time.
they came back to put in a temporary crown. i was wondering how that'd work. they basically puttied the space where my tooth used to be. the putty had a very strong odor, i tried not to breathe in through my mouth, afraid of inhaling the fumes. she shaped the putty by hand and inserted it in the gap. after a few minutes the putty hardened. it felt like covering up you teeth with bubble gum. she told me to come back in 2 more weeks. not sure why the long wait, i forgot to ask. the dentist also told me i couldn't eat for the next 2 hours. i also asked if i'm supposed to feel any pain. the dentist told me sensitivity is normal, but if it hurts so much i can't sleep, then i need a root canal. she said something about a specialist referral, so when i asked her if they do root canals here, she said no. so that's why she's so anti-root canal, it's not something they do here!
so the whole procedure took an hour. i made an appointment with the secretary, who still continues to be an unfriendly bitch. no smile, very curt, she wrote my appointment time on a card and handed it to me. while waiting for the elevator, i went back to the office to change my appointment time, from 11am to 10am. she was having lunch and wasn't happy to be interrupted. she took my appointment card, scribbled a new time, and handed it back to me.
when the dentist told me i couldn't eat for the next 2 hours, that sapped all my energy. i had plans of getting something delicious in chinatown (to reward myself for being a good dentist patient), which were now all dashed away. even without the restriction though, i probably shouldn't be eating so soon after having dental work done, as the left side of my jaw was still numb.
from park street i followed tremont to c-mart. i picked up a few things, most of which were all for my mother. the only thing i got for myself was a package of watermelon seeds, i saw they no longer sold my usual brand and flavor.
before i left chinatown i called my sister's godmother. she brought back some goodies from taiwan and wanted to give them to me. she picked up but was at the doctor's office so she wasn't home.
i returned home, going back via the charles river bike path and then across the mass ave bridge. i attached the gopro camera before i got onto the bike path and shot a timewarp video.
i got back home by 1:20pm. there was a pile of construction equipment piled in front of our alleyway. they were there this morning, originally i thought my upstairs neighbors were having some work done, but turns out it was my next door neighbors. the contractors just got confused which alleyway belonged to which property. i still 40 minutes before i could eat. i decided to run to market basket and get some groceries in the meantime.
i bumped into bruce and jack, on their way back from union square. then at market basket, i bumped into susan, and then later dennis. i grabbed one of the last remaining carando hickory smoked spiral ham ($1.99/lbs.). it's good a really good flavor and can keep for a while especially if you freeze portions of it.
the temporary crown feels a little weird. it doesn't exactly match my lower teeth, so i can definitely feel it when i bite down. it's very strong though, i wouldn't expect it to break within the next 2 weeks. also when i bite down it feels a little sensitive. maybe this will pass after 2 weeks. or maybe it's a sign i still need a root canal.
later in the evening i brought out the trash. i didn't do it last week because i felt lazy and i didn't have that much trash. so of course my upstairs neighbors also didn't out the trash, so now the trash bins are overfilled with their garbage. i think they realized what happened because later in the evening i heard one of them coming downstairs to take out the trash that i already moved out.
so the end of my riding season is near: i saw the weather forecast for this week and we're expected to get 3-6" of snow here in boston. that means i'll need to put the bike away in the garage by thursday (it's going to be raining all day tomorrow).