…Not a reference to the plot of Hogfather.

So, I had a dentist appointment this morning. It was supposed to be a routine drilling and filling, plus a replacement of an old filling from when I was a kid. It turned out that one of the teeth they drilled was worse than they expected. It was a fun discovery together. They had this laser thing that measured bacteria. On a scale of zero to one hundred, the cavity was like a thirty. Not so bad, right?

Well, the dentist drilled it. And then he brought out a bigger drill. He warned me ahead of time, “this one’s going to vibrate a bit.” And he drilled for a good long while. They checked it again. The bacteria in the tooth was still twenty-something, and he’s all, “we’re getting close to the nerve, I’m going in manually to scrape it out.” (I totally imagined it like it was out of a TV drama.)

So, it turned out that he didn’t find the nerve after all. ‘Cause it wasn’t there anymore. In a healthy tooth, there should have been some pain when he reached the sweet, nougat-filled center, but it turned out that the bacteria had gone in the side entrance and eaten it out from the inside. Of course, in my head, this all sounds awesome. He tells me that it won’t do much good to keep drilling.

They go to work on the other fillings, and he tells me he’ll explain the root canal thing to me when they come back to it. They pry out my old silver filling and replace it with a shiny ceramic one. (“Ooh! Upgrades!”) They finish up with those and he comes back and explains how normally, digging to the center of the tooth tears up some blood vessels and causes bleeding. The fact that I didn’t bleed meant they were gone.

So, he started cleaning out the roots and prepping the tooth for the full canal treatment, which I go back for in, like, two weeks. I’m kind of stoked, I guess. It feels like a rite of passage. I mean, a terrible, terrible thing … but you know what? I expected worse. I seriously went five years without a dentist appointment, what should I expect? I have dental insurance, and I’m in good hands.