Saturday, January 29, 2011

Chatting in the dentist office? Think twice

Yesterday, I sat sweating in a chair in the dentist's office. In the waiting room. Because I hate the dentist. Yes, I know. Bad. But I can't help it. I've tried to change. But I've had some negative experiences. However, I know how important the dentist is, and I'm fanatical about dental hygiene. So my kids go regularly. And they don't mind much at all.

They were both getting their teeth cleaned, and I was biding my time, taking deep breaths and reading fashion magazines. "This isn't so bad," I told myself. "Everyone seems nice here. Dentistry has changed a lot since I was a kid."

Then an elderly gentleman sitting across from me asked me the time. I told him. He grimaced. "Sure takes a long time to pull a tooth," he commented. I gave a sympathetic nod. "I'm sure things are going fine," I said. He leaned forward. "Years ago, a dentist was drilling my tooth and it shattered. He tried to fix it, but he did it wrong and it caused an abscess all along the top of my gum line. There was nothing anybody could do. I lost all my upper teeth."

WHAT THE ...?!Who shares a story like that in the dentist office?? I must have looked absolutely horrified, because he added hurriedly, "Not here. They fixed me up with some new ones here. Real nice." And then he smiled.

I smiled back, still in shock. I was still smiling when my kids bounded back out, safe and sound, teeth unshattered. And I was still smiling when I left without making an appointment for myself. Oh, I'll make one. I might just need a little recovery time. Or a full memory wipe.


  1. I hear you!

    My dentist has a couple books on display;
    - Dentistry: An Illustrated History
    - The Excrutiating History of Dentistry

    Search them on the internet and look at the covers... I can't understand why the hell he has them displayed so proudly in his office! Seeing them makes me feel like running out the door!

    Hopefully you build up the nerve to book that appointment!

  2. I have to tell the hygienist, the dentist, anyone in the office: "Don't talk to me about my teeth and what I could, should, or might do with them---just clean them and get me outtahere!!!" I am a big, sweaty mess in the dentist's chair. I hope I am getting better...breathing, ignoring, humming...ummm, maybe not!! Hang in there, you are not alone!!

  3. Okay, because I couldn't help myself, I had to look up Jennifer's dentist's tome, "The Excruciating History of Dentistry." With a title like that, how could I not? And Jennifer, I completely agree!!!

    This is just what the (adoring)reviewer picked out: "Pliny advised eating a mouse twice a month; and that the mouthwash recommended by tooth-drawers, barber-surgeons and the father of dentistry himself, Pierre Fauchard, was urine. For centuries, extraction and bloodletting were common treatments. Elizabeth I had her ugly black teeth pulled to relieve toothache."

    Oh, yes, I SO want to go into the chair now!! Maybe the dentist thinks, um, knowledge is power or something. (?) Diane and Chad, I'm with you. Just give me a sweat rag, clean my teeth, and then let me compose myself before I see the kids so I can walk out casually and tell them it's no big deal!!