Root Canal

By Arress

Disclaimer: All things Emergency! belong to Mark VII Productions and Universal Studios. None of the characters belong to me, I'm just using them for a while. I am not making a profit with this story.

Summary: Johnny needs a root canal.

AN: I posted this story, along with several others, years ago on Audrey's Emergency Fan Fiction site. As I've started writing fanfiction again, I decided to post it here too.

Many thanks to Audrey for the great beta read!


"Johnny, what's the matter?" Roy DeSoto asked his paramedic partner, who was sitting in front of his locker holding his jaw.

"Just got a toothache, that's all."

"Maybe you should make an appointment with a dentist."

"It'll be all right. I'll just brush a little harder in the future."

"Let me take a look at it."

"That isn't necessary."

"It certainly isn't going to hurt anything if I just look at it."

"Oh, all right," Johnny said in defeat. He opened his mouth for Roy to look at his sore tooth.

"What is with that tooth?" Roy asked as he peered into his partner's mouth. "It's got a hole in it the size of Texas."

"I had a root canal about a year ago and got a temporary filling. I never went back to get a permanent one. It sort of sank in as time went on."

"Why didn't you go back?"

"I didn't want to go back. I hate going to the dentist. I wouldn't have gone in the first place except it hurt so bad."

"Well, it looks like it hurts again, so you should get it taken care of."

"I should have just had him yank it in the first place, then I wouldn't be having these problems."

"It's only gonna get worse, and it could get infected. Make the appointment."

"I really would rather not."

"Well, I'm the one whose gonna have to put up with you in a cranky mood because your tooth hurts. Make the appointment!"

"Yes, Mother."


So Johnny, fearing his partner's wrath, made an appointment with a dentist. He couldn't get in for a couple of days, and was suffering through the wait. His tooth was really beginning to bother him. He was sitting at the table in the kitchen holding his jaw, when Chet Kelly, self-proclaimed Phantom of Station 51, came in.

"What's with you, Gage?"

"Just got a toothache."

"And let me guess, you're too chicken to go to the dentist."

"I am not! I already made an appointment."

"How much did Roy have to yell at you to get you to do that?" Chet knew Gage so well.

"Shut up, Chet!"

"Why so testy? I must have touched a sore spot, or better yet, a sore tooth."

"Why don't you go play in traffic? I'm not in the mood."

"You're never in the mood. When's the appointment?"

"Day after tomorrow."

"You mean we have to put up with you moaning and groaning for that long?"

"I am not moaning and groaning!"

"You will be before the day is out."


The day of Johnny's dentist appointment finally came. Johnny had been taking so much aspirin that he figured he should probably get some stock in an aspirin company.

Roy didn't really trust his partner to actually go through with the appointment, so he decided to take matters into his own hands. He knew Johnny's appointment was at 9 a.m., so he decided to make sure his partner got there. He banged on Johnny's door at 7:30.

Johnny dragged his tired body out of bed to answer the door, muttering to himself, "This better be good." He opened the door, and there stood his partner. "What are you doing here at this hour?"

"I just came over to give you a ride to the dentist."

"I don't need a ride."

"Are you gonna invite me in?"

"Yeah, sure. Come on in." Johnny stepped out of the way to allow his partner into the room. "But I don't need a ride. I'm a big boy and can get to the dentist all by myself."

"I just thought I'd give you a ride, since I figured you'd change your mind at the last minute."

Johnny got that 'hand caught in the cookie jar' look. He had been planning on doing just that, and thought, 'how did he know what I was gonna do?'

Roy went on, seeing he was right about his partner's plan. "Besides, if they give you anesthesia, you'll need someone to drive you home anyway."

Gage knew when he'd been beat. "I'll get ready. Just give me a few minutes."


About an hour later, they arrived at the dentist's office. Roy got out of the car and headed for the entrance, but Johnny didn't move. Roy was halfway there, when he realized his partner wasn't with him. He turned around and saw Johnny still in the car.

Roy made his way back to the car and opened the door, "What are you doing? Your appointment is in fifteen minutes. Get out of the car."

"I changed my mind. Just take me back home."

"Get out of the car and come into the office, before I drag you in there kicking and screaming."

"I'll reschedule."

"There's no need to do that. We're here now. Just come on!"

Johnny reluctantly got out of the car and slowly followed his partner to the dentist's office. He muttered, "My tooth doesn't even hurt that much any more."

"That's bull and you know it. I think you've taken more aspirin in that last two days, than I've taken in the last six months."

They arrived at the door, and Roy practically had to shove his partner to get him to enter the office. Roy grabbed Johnny's arm and pulled him to the reception desk. "I have John Gage here for an appointment at 9 a.m."

"Dr. Mullin will be right with you in a moment," the receptionist said. "Please have a seat and fill out these papers."

Johnny reluctantly took the papers, and then he and Roy found seats in the waiting room. "I really don't want to be here."

"There's nothing to worry about. Fill out your papers before they call you back."

Johnny filled out the papers he'd been given, and a few minutes later the receptionist called Johnny for his appointment. He looked beseechingly at his partner. "Can you come with me?"

Roy couldn't believe how childish his partner was being, but agreed. "No problem. Let's go." He got up and joined his partner, and they both followed the receptionist to the exam room.

"Have a seat, and Dr. Mullin will be right in," the receptionist directed, and then she left.

Roy took a seat in the extra chair near the wall, while Johnny reluctantly climbed into the examination chair. Roy had never seen his partner this apprehensive. Here was a man who would run into a burning building without a second thought, but was scared to be seen by a dentist.

Roy tried to calm his partner. "Johnny, don't worry about a thing. I'm sure the dentist will make sure you don't feel any pain."

"You want to know what happened to me when I was twelve?"

"I'm sure you'll tell me anyway, so go ahead."

"I had a small cavity, or what the dentist thought was a small cavity, and he drilled it with no anesthesia at all. He thought it was so small that I wouldn't need any."

"Then what happened?"

"He kept drilling and drilling, and it started to hurt. Then he said, 'this is deeper than I thought', but he kept drilling. He wouldn't stop. I thought I was gonna die."

"Dentists don't do things like that any more."

Dr. Mullin had entered the room while Johnny was speaking. "He's right you know. We don't do things like that any more, and I'm sorry you had to go through that. It's dentists like that who give us a bad name and keep people from going to the dentist when they need to. You don't have to worry about pain in my office."

Johnny looked up at the dentist with fear in his eyes. "I hope you mean that, cause I wouldn't want to go through anything like that again."

"Don't worry, I do mean it. Let me take a look at what we have here."

Johnny opened his mouth for the dentist to look inside. Dr. Mullin asked, "What happened to that tooth?"

Johnny repeated the story he had told Roy. Dr. Mullin took it in stride, having had other patients with very similar problems.

"Okay, here's what we need to do. First we'll take an x-ray. I'll have to dig out that temporary filling, clean up the roots again, and then we'll put in a permanent filling or a crown. We'll have to see what we have when we get done cleaning it out. But first of all, I'll give you a shot of Novocain so the procedure won't hurt."

"A shot?" Johnny repeated fearfully.

"You'll only feel the first one. After that, the area will be numb. So, does that sound like a plan?"

"I guess. Let's just get it over with."

Dr. Mullin set to work, and he was right. The only shot Johnny felt was the first one, and after that the entire side of his mouth was completely numb.

The temporary filling was pulled out, and then the dentist began to clean out the roots. Then he whistled. "I don't believe this. I've never seen anything like it in my entire career."

Roy, who had been sitting quietly in his chair, asked, "Seen anything like what?"

"Well, Johnny did have root canals to four roots in this tooth. Most molars have either three or four roots. This one has five, and the other dentist missed the fifth one. I've heard of molars with five roots, but I've never seen one. I'm gonna go get my partner to see this." He then left the room.

"Five roots!" Johnny exclaimed. "I don't believe this."

"Leave it to you, Johnny," Roy chuckled.

"It's not funny! Now, I'll probably have to have another root canal."


Dr. Mullin returned a few minutes later with his partner in tow. "This is Dr. Johnson, my partner. He'd like to take a look at your tooth, if you don't mind."

"What the heck. Join the party."

Dr. Johnson peered into Johnny's open mouth. "You're right. There are five roots in there. I've never seen anything like it before."

"We're gonna have to do another root canal on that fifth root, Johnny. Since there's only one left, it won't take long." Dr. Mullin stated.

"Go ahead. I'm already numb, so we might as well get it over with."

"I wish we had a way to take a picture of that," Dr. Johnson commented. "I'd like to hang it in my office."

"Well, we don't. At least we've both seen it, so we can believe it," Dr. Mullin added.

"I'll let you get back to work. Thanks for showing that to me." Dr. Johnson said as he left the room.


The dentist finished with Johnny's tooth, and as Johnny and Roy were leaving the examination room, he handed Johnny a couple of prescriptions. "Johnny, I want you to take this antibiotic to prevent infection, and this other prescription is for Tylenol #3. Just take that for severe pain. For minor pain, you can take either aspirin or regular Tylenol."

"Okay, Dr. Mullin," Johnny replied.

"If you have any trouble, just give us a call, and we'll get you in right away."

"Thanks a lot, Doc," Johnny said as he and his partner left the office.

"Now that wasn't so bad was it?" Roy asked, as they made their way back to the car.

"It certainly could have been worse. I still don't believe that I have five roots in that tooth."

"Yeah, and that first dentist you went to didn't find it."

"I should get my money back from that guy."

"Have fun trying."

"After all, he didn't do everything he was paid to do."

"Maybe if you went back to him like you were supposed to, he would have found it the next time."

"You have an answer to everything, don't you?"

Roy just laughed.


Johnny joined his partner in the locker room to get ready for their next shift.

"So, how's the tooth feeling?"

"Not bad. It's just a little sore. I haven't even had to take that Tylenol #3 yet."

"That's good. So, are you glad you got it taken care of?"

"I guess so. I really didn't have much of a choice anyway, did I?"

"I had to take matters into my own hands, because there's one thing I can't stand and that's a cranky partner."

"I wasn't cranky."

"You would have been, if you had let the tooth go. I think I would prefer Brice to you with a toothache."

"Now that's insulting."

"Maybe, but it's true."

Chet had come into the locker room during their exchange. "Finally went to the dentist, Gage?"

"Yeah, I went to the dentist."

Roy put in, "Yeah, you should have been there, Chet. The dentist found something unusual in Johnny's mouth."

"Roy, Chet doesn't need to know about it."

"Yeah, I do. Tell me."

"Sorry, Johnny. I can't keep this to myself. It seems that most molars have either three or four roots, but Johnny's had five. The dentist had never seen anything like it. He even called his partner in to look at it. If they had a camera, they would have taken pictures of it."

"Is that so," Chet said. "I wonder if you have five roots in all your molars."

"So what if I do?" Johnny asked.

"Well, it would explain why your mouth is so big."

"Shut up, Chet!"

AN: Johnny's experience with the dentists is my own, and it was not any fun. Actually, I finally just had the stupid tooth pulled. The names have been changed to protect the not so innocent.