Till dentures do us part


I hate the dentist. Not personally, of course. I actually like mine very much. But I hate the whole dental experience, especially if it’s for a potentially-painful procedure. Take fillings, for example.

A few weeks back, once I’d survived the torturous cleaning process, I received bad news – double cavities. Dun, dun, dunnn. In shock, I made an appointment for the following Monday, already knowing I would find some way to postpone it. Luckily, the day arrived with a forecast of “partly cloudy,” the perfect reason to reschedule. I left a voice message with reception saying “Don’t call me, I’ll call you!” and promised to not call for several weeks. I was stalling big time, but I didn’t care. The idea of someone, anyone, even a charming licensed professional drilling into the depths of my highly-sensitive nerve-filled teeth scares the bejesus out of me. (I was traumatized as a child when dentists used only diluted “laughing gas” and stickers to numb the pain.)

As stupid fate would have it, the following day my 10-year-old began complaining of a tooth ache and asked to go see the dentist. Fine. May as well get my appointment over with, too. So I made another appointment and desperately tried to ignore my impending doom.

The heart palpitations picked up significantly during the next couple of days, just as the hours of sleep and my appetite dropped off.

When the appointed hour came, I somehow coerced my body into the office (I had seriously considered bribing my son with McDonald’s and making a break for it) and then managed to distract myself for a few minutes with Architectural Digest. Naturally, I let my kid go first (it’s the right thing to do), but then cursed myself for being so stupid. Prolonging the agony only made it worse!

Finally, I was up. I begged my doctor for some Valium on the way back, and when he professed not to have any, I demanded, “Then numb me all to hell!” By the grace of God and the Lamaze techniques I learned in birthing class, I survived seven or eight Novocain injections, and then held on for dear life as the dentist chiseled and scraped and jack-hammered my molars. I stumbled out less than an hour later, overwrought and unable to speak coherently. I made a vow, then and there, to love and protect my teeth, till death or dentures do us part. Because I really hate the dentist. Peace out.

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