An unfeeling mouth

I can´t feel most of my mouth. My tongue can move but can´t taste or feel touch. My bottom lip feels like my tongue sticking out of my mouth in a constant pout. It´s hard to smile, talk or even know when or how to swallow without some sensory feedback. My teeth feel like hard, obtrusive rocks sitting in this cavity. Even my chin feels nothing. As I write sensation is returning to just below my nose. Not long ago, when I tried to pucker my upper lip, one half didn´t even move! I´ve been rubbing my hands over the bottom half of my face trying to make sure it´s all still there and trying to evoke a response, any response. These nerves seem unable to sense pressure and touch or unable to follow motor commands.

You guessed right, I am back from an appointment with the dentist. She was fixing some cavities and felt I needed anesthesia. I never used any when I went to the dentists in India. Sure, it hurt but I could take it. Maybe I could´ve taken it here too but now I´ll never know.

Dentists are scary because they use sharp and dangerous looking instruments in your mouth. Their instruments are metallic and make noises you never want to be that close to. They can touch nerves you never even knew existed. My German dentists were pretty cool overall. They wore sunny yellow masks and overcoats. The ceiling had a large painting and the walls were a pleasant cream colour. The main doctor must have been in her late 40s or early 50s. The younger one possibly in her early 40s. She was responsible for suction, which was very essential as they sprayed water as they poked their instruments and drilled here and there. I´d hate to swallow that disgusting water! They used a spray anesthesia first, which was cold and tasted horrible, then they injected me with another one. I suspect this is what is causing such a long-lived effect. My body was stressed by all the poking and prodding. I tried to keep my eyes closed (and reminded myself to breathe) so I wouldn´t have to see what sharp instruments were being introduced into my mouth, nor how four instruments seem to be able to operate in there at the same time! It was essential that I trust them! They do this every day, don´t worry, I told myself. Their disposition was confident and comforting despite my not listening to most of what they said. They spoke in German. It´s not the first time I´ve had a dentist who didn´t speak in English. As a child, mine spoke Kannada to me. Some basic instructions are easy to understand in any language. The rest of the time they were talking about Bali, motor bikes, activities in this good weather and how it was a pity to be working when the sun was shining so brightly.

Thoughts like, ´yuck they are looking into my mouth´ were dismissed by thoughts like, ´they chose this profession and I´m sure they´ve seen mouths much less pretty than yours´. I wondered why anyone would want to look into other people´s mouths as a daily job. I wonder how they see people. At social events, when someone smiles at they, do they wonder about the person´s dental hygiene or possible cavities? Can they tell just by looking if someone had braces as a child?

The complete absence of feeling in my mouth and surrounding parts was a weird, scary and uncomfortable feeling but still quite fascinating. If temporary local anesthesia can be such a disconcerting experience, I can´t even begin to imagine real paralysis! The sensation is slowly returning to my bottom lip and tongue accompanied by tingling and warmth, but it will still be a while before I dare to speak out loud. When I tried it out at the dentists, I sounded British and started laughing. I´m sure they heard me from outside and wondered what I was up to! I´d be glad to regain full use of my mouth. I´m getting hungry just because the main doctor said I shouldn´t eat until I regain all sensation. I wonder how long it will take for my chin to return.

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