The Dental Damned

Dental PhobiaI’m not someone who thinks Halloween is the scariest day of the year.  Heck, October 31 doesn’t even crack my top three.

The days that frighten me the most are: the day of my annual physical and my semi-annual trips to the dentist.

I had to turn on more lights in The House on the Hill after typing that last sentence.

My fear of going to the doctor is very easy to explain.  My Dad went in for his annual check up one day, and the next thing we knew, he had cancer and six months to live.  Ever since that horrific day, I have had to be dragged, kicking and screaming, to the doctor’s office.

Last year, I hid a serious medical concern from The Girl Who Makes My Tummy Ache because I knew she’d make me go to the doctor and find out what was wrong.  I don’t like keeping things from her, but I also didn’t want to have to see the look on her face when the doctor broke the bad news.  I eventually caved and she made me go to my PCP, who agreed that it was serious, and sent me to the hospital for tests.

nunsNow we’re getting into worse fears because the hospital was run by nuns (nuns scare the crap out of me!!!).  It’s really too traumatic to get into, but I lived and the nuns didn’t punish me or The Girl Who is Jewish (even though she fell asleep in the waiting room while I was getting scary tests done!).

My fear of the dentist is a bit more complicated.  When I was in seventh grade, it was determined that I needed braces (great…make me even MORE of a nerd!).  Of course, it wasn’t just a simple case of stapling the braces to my teeth, tightening them, and watching me wince in agony.  My sadistic orthodontist and dentist got together and decided my mouth needed more room for my new heavy metal look, so they pulled several teeth even though there was nothing wrong with them!  They were just evicted due to overcrowding!!!

After that, I’ve always associated a trip to the dentist with pain, blood, numbness, and the lose of perfectly good teeth.  I probably went a good dozen years without a trip to the dentist until I got a really bad toothache a few years ago, and then I had no choice but to finally take advantage of my Dental Insurance.

When I met The Girl Who Won’t Let Me Be a Wimp, I figured going to the dentist would be easier.  Little did I know that she was The Girl Who Was Even More Afraid of the Dentist Than I Was.  She was so hard core anti-dentist that she would live with toothaches because that was less painful than the idea of sitting in a dentist’s chair.

Eventually, I wore her down and got her to see my dentist.  Of course, she was so freaked out by the thought of it that I had to call and make the appointment for her, but she went and I was very proud of her.  After that, going to our semi-annual torture sessions became much easier since we would support each other and make sure all was well.

Dental ToolsToday, however, was my first dentist appointment since The Girl Who Will Be a Doctor moved to a different time zone.  As a result, I didn’t get my pre-appointment pep talk, and I couldn’t text her from the waiting room to ask her to calm me.  Without my calming support system in place, I had to go into that room, stare up into the blinding light, and let a suspiciously perky woman stick scary tools into my mouth.

I have this horrible fear that those sharp, creepy, metal pick devices are going to snap off between my teeth and the only way to remove them will be to rip out another tooth.  When I’m in that chair, my body is extremely tense, my hands are balled into fists, and my feet are all scrunched up in my shoes.  The sounds freaks me out.  The light disorients me.  I’m paranoid that they’re going to start yanking teeth.

Luckily, The Girl Who is Far Away was able to help me through my appointment in her own special way.  We worked out a secret system when this all started that would allow her to guide me through my darkest forty-five minutes even when she was in another state.  I had to resort to this emergency plan very early on in my appointment, and it was powerful enough to get me out of there alive and still somewhat sane.

Thanks, Sweetie!

Now I have six more months of peace until I have to do this all over again.  I’m also supposed to start flossing regularly, but I’m feeling a little rebellious right now and might not take that advice.

What about you, Modern Philosophers?  Do you have something, seemingly mundane to the vast majority of people, that simply scares the bejesus out of you?  Do you think the dentist could press charges if I ever punched him during an appointment?  Are teeth really that important?

Open up, say “Ahhhhh!”, and then tell me what’s on your mind.  My pearly whites and I will be waiting for your comments…


About Austin

Native New Yorker who's fled to the quiet life in Maine. I write movies, root for the Yankees, and shovel lots of snow.
This entry was posted in Humor, Philosophy and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

41 Responses to The Dental Damned

  1. paulheels says:

    Beards fear razors, clippers and shears. Nothing else. Well maybe heights. I’m not skeared of razors, clippers or shears because I I can run faster than them.

  2. momshieb says:

    I am about to undergo round three of a root canal procedure. You. Have. Nothing. On. Me.
    Spiders with furry legs are also very high up on my list.

  3. Oh for heavens sake, man up! How you could be afraid of a dentist, who is able to inflict extreme pain and charge you for it, is beyond me. 🙂 I’m not afraid of dentists..I just don’t like them or their weird instruments. I only go for the gas anesthesia. That rocks!

  4. grannyK says:

    Spiders. I really do not like spiders.

  5. I too hate going to the doctor and dentist – when my kids were little I pretended to be brave about the dentist for them and it worked–they do not mind the dentist – I now can fear the dentist again in peace

  6. youngemt95 says:

    I’m scared of what will become of my health when I become an “old person”. Working in EMS has done this to me and I want to be able to move under my own will when I am old. This fear of mine has pushed, at 18, to be even more active and healthy.

  7. Valerie Alexander says:

    Fire,I have nightmares sometimes of being trapped in a fire,I have since I was a kid. I used to worry so much if my house caught fire how fast could I get my three girls out. Just last week someone I know died in a fire, their home caught fire while they were asleep,both died 😦 I used to fear driving the 495 beltway to DC when I’d visit my daughter ( laura alexander,Survivor’s DC cutie!) but after many trips….I’m over it. I even get off the right exit too !!! No more passing up college park exit ! Anyone who knows the beltway knows if you pass up your exit ,your screwed ,get comfortable because your going around again!!

  8. mzklever says:

    Roaches. Down here in South Texas, we have GIANT flying roaches. They also like to attack, and they bite. I am terrified of them…so much that I can’t even get close enough to use a shoe to stomp on them. I can throw a shoe from across the room, but I invariably miss. Instead, I yell for my daughter, even at 4am. She recognizes my “OH MY GOD IT’S A ROACH” voice, and comes already wielding her shoe. She literally does this in her sleep, gets a paper towel, cleans up the two pounds of guts and chitinous shell, then goes back to bed. She doesn’t even WASH HER HANDS!! I would have to soak my hands in gasoline if I had to clean up a smashed roach.

    As for the dentist, I highly recommend a couple of clonazepam an hour before the appointment. I used to be petrified into the dental chair, but now I’m so relaxed, they have to prop my mouth open with one of those chopstick holder looking thingies.

  9. mudlips says:

    Yikes, you poor thing. That’s not how it was supposed to be. Seriously, you need a different dentist. 15 years ago, before Dr. Awesome-dentist I hated the dentist, experienced PTSD as a result of visits. Then I found her. An amazing dentist with an amazing staff.Willing to work with me to get me over my fears, teaching me how to take better care of my teeth (I though i knew but I didn’t), patient, and very gentle, she completely transformed the dental experience I had a root canal earlier this year and it was NOTHIN’! -over before I could sit down in the chair, painless, almost enjoyable. The 6-month check-up I had last week was actually fun. So, start your search now so that in 6 months you can have a lower stress visit, If there’s no one in Maine that can improve your experience, it might be worth the plane flight to you think your insurance will cover the tickets?

  10. jrosenberry1 says:

    Ever since getting my cancer diagnosis in 2004 I have had a terrible case of White Coat Phobia. When I see a White Coat I get a terrible case of brain-turning-into-jello-itis, sweaty palms, heart palpitations, and nose-numbness. (No kidding: my nose goes numb. Go figure.) So you’re not alone! My oncologist got tired of seeing me cry every time I visited and one day he said he was going to throw his hat into the room first to see if it was safe to enter! He seems cranky when you first meet him but he’s a real sweetie … and a real life-saver too. The visits are still difficult, though I don’t cry anymore. Maybe The Girl Who Keeps You Sane would be willing to give ME pep talks? (The oncologist might be willing to pay!)

  11. akneis says:

    The dentist tops my list. I decided to take some power back over the dentist when I asked that they no longer floss my teeth. The less time they’re in my mouth, the less time I’m in that chair!

  12. barbaram says:

    Who would want a job that involved mucking about in filthy mouths all day? that’s dodgy for a start.(I suppose it could be the incredible financial return, of course.) I have been terrified of dentists for nearly 70 years and view them with great suspicion. I am thrilled to report that once I bit a dentist’s hand. He assured me that the hypnosis he had done on me had worked. I kept saying it hadn’t, but he insisted and moved in. I bit! He stopped. The receptionist (who was also the Woman Who Shared His Bed) rushed in and yelled at him. It was great.
    Seriously, though, for the last 30 or so years I have nothing done with-out an intra-venous sedative. I save up a few procedures and have them all done in one hit. Luckily, I actually go right off to sleep and wake up when everything is done. As a bonus, I wake up with that lovely ‘druggy’ feeling that removes all inhibitions and allows me to swear like a trooper without shame. I take the opportunity to give the dentist a few home truths and complain loudly about his fees.
    I still have that feeling of empty dread when I arrive at the surgery, though.

  13. naomimgruer says:

    I have a friend who fear the dentist because she wasn’t given anesthesia when a tooth was removed. That’ll do it!

  14. grbxxenormyn says:

    i once visited 2 different dentists for an abscess that developed due to a tooth that had been removed a few years prior. before taking their x-rays, i pointed to where the tooth had been. even showed them the hole it left in my jaw. after the x-rays, they both came back and said there was never a tooth there. i told them both they were nuts; as i was the one who sat in the chair for about 90 minutes while the dentist who removed it used some type of explosive. no kidding; i saw smoke coming out of my mouth at one time. even had to call a time-out to let my jaw rest for a few minutes.

  15. fnfkathy says:

    I have been sick for months! ALl because of an infected tooth I did not know I had. WHY? Because of all the very same reasons…childhood barbarian that called himself a dentist, perfectly healthy pulled teeth and so on…by the time I got there, they told me they have had people die of such infections because they waited and they didn’t believe I felt nothing all along! Wa?

    After 20 days of heavy duty antibiotics and all the lovely side effects, a root canal and two unearthings of uncontrollable infection I’m all good…until the next appointment. I am so excited I think I’ll poke my eye out…

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