Tuesday, 17 April 2012

O is for Open Wide

...at the dentist.

I know, I know. No-one really enjoys going to the dentist. But I think I was permanently scarred by childhood experiences. I had lots of fillings, but never an injection, and those horrible, sudden stabs of nerve pain, like electric shocks, tortured me during and haunted me between dentist appointments. On one occasion, I actually made myself ill, had a temperature, and missed the appointment altogether.

And then there's the personal space thing. No-one (apart from nearest and dearest) is allowed to invade personal space so thoroughly and for such long periods at a time as the dentist (at least with the advent of masks, I no longer have to look up his nose). I keep thinking "but I don't know you well enough for this!".
Last week, I made a total fool of myself. Having had a not very good experience the time before, I suddenly flipped.
"I want to go home," I whimpered at one stage, from my vulnerable, near-horizontal position.
"Then you can go home," said the dentist reasonably, pointing out that he couldn't stop me.

But I stayed, like a brave soldier (not), and he did the filling. It took an hour. And afterwards, I tottered out, mumbling feeble apologies, vowing that I'd never go back.

But of course, I shall. I expect. One day. Just not yet.


  1. Oh dear, you do hate going, Frances! I used to love gas when a child - waken up and it was all over. I don't like going now either but force myself to have check-ups, and I even wrote a small piece (on paragraph planet) about that feeling of intimacy!

  2. Poor Frances :-( I used to refuse injections, but not any more! And when I was about 9, my dentist, a woman, slipped with the drill and drilled my gum. My mum found me a new dentist :-) x

  3. My old dentist found nothing more to do than a clean and polish. So how come this new dentist found two fillings and I got a telling off for not using the right toothbrush and not flossing. My childhood fear of dentists has returned.

  4. From a male viewpoint, I prefer a dental examination to a prostate check-up.

  5. The one time I had an injection at the dentist's I found the whole experience really scary, especially when, hours later, the numbness shifted from the top of my jaw across my cheek and down towards my chin. It felt so odd and spooky not to have control over my facial muscles; I really am not keen on repeating this experiment anytime soon. Still, if I went to the dentist today and they'd tell me I needed a filling, I suspect I'd opt for an injection again.

  6. Rosemaary, I'm not usually that bad. I'm not sure what came over me last week.

    Teresa, I have a friend who never has injections; not even when she has to have a tooth out. The mere idea makes my toes (never mind my teeth) curl.

    Maggie, you don't need to floss! Use those wonderful little interdental brusehs (cheap on Amazon). Much more effective, and not nearly so tedious (what is it wiht dentists and floss?).

    Keith, please keep the conversation clean!

    Librarian, you don't want a filling without an injection. Trust me.

  7. Dentists rule the roost in suicides when it comes to professions. It's no wonder as they are constantly inflicting pain on others. Maybe the ones who don't kill themselves are therefore sociopaths. lol

  8. Jeremy - I thought it was doctors?

  9. Thanks Frances - I have actually found those little brushes and they are brilliant!

  10. I thought it was farmers who ruled the suicide roost. It's not bureaucrats or potters anyway.

    I had a rather unpleasant experience as a teenager when my dentist took out the wrong tooth, broke bits of bone off my jaw and left part of a tooth in to cause problems for many years afterwards.

    Having said that I have absolutely no fear of dentists and actually had to be woken up during a root canal treatment a few years ago because I kept trying to close my mouth whilst I was asleep.

    My New Zealand family have a dental practice as it happens and I'm told that I'm not that unusual in going to sleep during treatment.

  11. After an horrific experience at a dental hospital 40 odd years ago I am terrified of going to the dentist.