September 22, 2008


My afternoon wasn't entirely unpleasant. Flowered Smock is a woman I've known for years. She's known my kids since they were little, and she always asks about them. I enjoy looking at the artwork she puts up on the wall, pictures drawn in the waiting room by her young patients. And I look forward to chatting with Dressed in White, who is my age. We always compare notes about our kids. Since we see each other just about every six months, there's always some catching up to do.

It was in some ways, a peaceful afternoon. All I had to do was lie back in a comfy chair and chat with these two pleasant women I've known for a couple of decades. The problem was that, in between the pleasantries, they insisted on scraping at my sensitive gums, putting things in my mouth that made me gag, and poking at my teeth with sharp instruments. "So what's your daughter doing now?" White Lab Coat would ask nicely, as if she didn't have a metal instrument in my mouth and as if there was some way I could possible answer her without first spitting out a gallon of saliva. Both women always act like I'm there for a cup of coffee, but I find it kind of hard to ignore the fact that they are poking at my teeth and staring inside my mouth.

I hate the sterile white room, the light glaring in my eyes, and the sound of a drill, even if it's being used several rooms away. Even though I try to act cheerful as I leave, muttering how nice it feels to have my teeth clean, the reality is that I always breathe a sigh of relief as I pull open the heavy door and walk out into the afternoon sunshine. It feels good to know I don't have to return until March.


KLee said...

I HATE the dentist. I'm borderline/almost phobic about it. Luckily, I have a dentist who sat me down at our first appointment, and said: "I don't like pain, either. And, I don't like knowing that I send my patients away in pain. My job is to make whatever pain you're feeling GO AWAY." Great guy. Doesn't hurt that he's easy on the eyes, either!

Sorry you had to endure today. At least you've got six months!

Rana said...

I'm glad your dental team is nice, but, yeah.

I've been to the dentist so many times (especially when I was a teenager) that I've gotten very good at just zoning out and enduring. I'm a very good patient, and I've had some nice dentists (as well as some awful ones) but I can't say I've ever found it fun.

(It's not unlike the yearly PAP smear in that regard. Tedious, vaguely uncomfortable, not a good time for chatting. Plus you don't have anything to show for it, unlike the clean teeth.)

Bardiac said...

Rana got me but good there! It's a good thing I didn't have a mouthful of diet coke (or dental instruments).

My dentist has cool toys; the best is a little camera that shows you your teeth. He's also pleasant.

And the hygenists (sp?) there seem remarkably gentle.

But from now on, I'm going to want to cross my legs very tightly... it will never quite be the same.

Sarah Sometimes said...

what, no picture?

cheesehead said...

As someone who, through her own neglect, just got herself into all kinds of Dental Drama that will take eight more months and one more surgery (on top of the one three weeks ago) to fix, I beg you to keep those appointments!

Singing Owl said...

"Flowered Smock" and "Dressed in White"--LOL! I know those two women!

Oh, I could have written this post. Nice to have clean teach, but such an indignity to have someone poking in your mouth. And painful. And kinda scary. I hate the dentist.

But, per CH's advice, I will keep my appointment, which is coming up soon.

Mom2BJM(Amy) said...

I have an appt for that very thing in early Nov. Haven't been for several years due to some facial pain issues... but hoping that the outcome will go well!

My mom worked in a dentist's office, so we got reduced fees.. once she had to replace a crown of mine that had come off... scraping away the old cement.. nearly drove me to scream. One would have thought their mother would be as gentle as possible.. but I couldn't take it very long and had to get someone else to do it. Sorry Mom... I still love you!