Thursday, November 19, 2009

tooth to tooth

When I had a root canal at a dentist's in Manhattan, the Immigrant Song played over the sound system and the irony of that particular wail was not lost on me. Today it was Amie (what you want to do) when I sat down in the chair at Jennifer Lombardo's office, and of course I would like to do most anything besides have my gums numbed with that long steely syringe that stays in for about a minute while the medicine eases its way into the tissue. It wasn't so bad, though, I only felt pressure as the drill head did its electron-powered dance of destruction in the cavity of a top-right molar. I couldn't see what was happening in my mouth, but could conceive of the principle of pressure's implication in the creation of space. As when a tunnel is dug, the pressure of the implement brandishing its marks on matter leaves an opening behind it. And so she carved out this space in my body, then filled it with "resin," which she explained is a kind of plastic. I guess I'd rather be part plastic than part mercury and lead like in the old days. The really surprising part was how she hardened the filling by shining a light on it. Light as catalyst, why is that so surprising?

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