The pain was unbearable. It ripped me straight out of a dream I was having Sunday morning.
My Tatranky and Kofola diet had finally caught up with me.
Well, maybe not caught up with me so much as beat the living crap out of me and left me for dead. As the throbbing in my farthest rear left molar grew stronger and more piercing, I begged God for mercy.
I reminded Him that I live in a country where the toothpaste is not accepted by the American Dental Association. A country where I have no dental insurance. A country that has no yellow page ads featuring dancing teeth saying "Open Saturdays!"
A day later, the pain was worse. I had exceeded the recommended dose of aspirin to the point of nausea. I had plastered my gums with Orajel until my fingers went numb. I had mixed allergy medicine with alcohol in an attempt to induce a minor coma.
But nothing helped.
By Sunday night I had received a veritable UN of suggestions. "Stick garlic in your mouth," said a Bosnian. "Zee best is to use zee clove spice," offered a French girl. A Russian swore by heat, a Czech by cold. They were all wrong. It was off to the dentist's.
Upon settling into the chair I found myself looking at the wide array of tools at his disposal. I mumbled "mám špatně zub pro tři den". He nodded understandingly. An X-Ray later the nurse and the dentist were discussing my fate. Then they turned to me and said "maybe we can clean up this tooth, or maybe we can put it outside."
Put it outside? It sounded like a bad dog, and one I very much wanted to keep if at all possible. I explained this and the dentist nodded solemnly, turning on a drill.
"Ok," he said, "first let's try this without, how you say, anathesia."
Ne, ne, ne, ne! Let's all just pockey a malinky moment here. The dentist nodded again.
He looked like he knew right then and there he could outdrink me, but I didn't care - just give me the numb juice.
Once he did, the drill was music to my ears, and I imagined all of those little cartoon cavities from childhood getting ground into fine enamel mush.
DIE CAVITY DIE!
Once this was fixed I vowed to stay off the Tatranky for good this time.
Only water at meals. Brushing and flossing like a religion. I will respect my teeth from now on. I have seen the light, and it is reflecting off of the dentist's face.
After the metal was inserted between the exposed nerve and air-filled world, I high-fived the man who had made the pain go away and went slack-jawed out into the city, completely at peace, the only person on the street who was strutting and drooling at the same time.
Some Useful Czech Phrases at the Dentist…
Get that thing out of my mouth!
"Výtahnete mi ho!"
Ouch, Oh my god, OUCH!
"Ach! Ach, můj bože, ach! "
Could you please hold my hand?
"Můžete mne prosím držet za ruku?"
OK, why should I have to take my clothes off?
"OK, proč bzch se měj(a) svlékat?"
I would prefer to be unconscious first.
"No, ja myslím že bych chtěl být radši v bezvědomí..."
- And if you're in need of a good dentist in Prague, the publisher personally recommends Prima Stom-Pobočka Seifertova in Žižkov, across from the tram stop at the football stadium (they also have a second branch as well). Talented Ukrainian dentists keep the prices low, while the work is still first rate!