I hate going to the dentist. Now, I know that no one really wakes up and says "yea, I have a dentist appointment today" but my dislike of going to the dentist is deeper than that. As a young child I had a dental hygienist who was from Germany. I remember her [now I am pretty sure that my memory is faulty as we magnify our fears] as a very large and imposing woman. She would yell at you with her German accent and I am sure on more than one occasion she brought me to tears. You would often hear the formidable "you're not flossing" as you passed the exam room where she was working on some unsuspecting
victim patient. As an adult, I had a conversation with my father about her, thinking that my childhood fears might be unjust. My normally stoic father commented, she was pretty harsh when cleaning your teeth.** I was terrified of her and whether due to poor childhood dental hygiene, too much sugar, or bad genes, I cannot say, but I often had cavities and had to return for subsequent visits after my cleanings. It seems I had fillings in most of my baby molars and quite a few of the permanent ones as well. So, my trips to the dentist have been many. I have always been afraid of needles and often have to be given extra shots of Novocain as I can still feel the drilling.
When I was in college I tried to remain faithful to my twice a year cleanings because I have always hoped that prevention would avoid more trips with Novocain and drilling (the truly traumatic part of dentistry). Before heading out to Costa Rica for 5 or more months I stopped by my mother's dentist to have a check up. He decided that my wisdom teeth (or at least one of them) was impacted and should come out before the trip. He referred me to an oral surgeon. Because of the short window in which the surgery needed to be completed, there was no time to meet his or have a consult before he was to do the procedure. The office where this oral surgeon worked was undergoing massive renovations and as I waited in the outer chambers of the office, loud clanging and banging could be heard from other parts of the building. Next thing I know, the surgeon comes out with a monkey wrench in hand and introduces himself. To hear him tell it, my eyes became as big as saucers and I never actually looked at him, only at the wrench until he had sense to explain that this was not part of his surgical kit.
So, I went for my 6 month cleaning last month and saw a new dentist (while I have fired my share of dentists over the years, this new dentist comes to me by way of retirement -- luckily, I get to keep the wonderful hygienist associated with the practice. One of the pluses of the dentist who had retired was that he felt that whatever made the visit easier for me made it easier for him and was quite free with the Nitrous Oxide, the new guy a little less so but he is coming around.) The new dentist felt that several of my teeth that had been "watches" needed to be taken care of. He had a few silver amalgam fillings he wanted to replace and a crown he thought I needed as one of my molars had cracked. That is three additional appointments that I have had over the past month. I won't go into any of the details (like when the dentist walked out in disgust because my gag reflex is so keen that I had ruined the first mold for the crown) since they are all still a little too fresh. However, I did a bit of self medicating. I bought some sock yarn (kind of a lot considering how little yarn I have purchased lately). There is some Socks that Rock, a sock of the month club (or two), a Celtic sock kit, Regia silk and some trekking. I will take pictures and post them tomorrow to share my new acquisitions. I will spare you the picture of my new crown.
**As an aside, I was telling my current hygienist about my "apprehensive" nature as a dental patient and mentioned this chapter of my childhood dentistry at a practice (although my dentist has long since retired) that still exists in town. She said that she works at that practice once a week and the German hygienist is still there. One of her favorite stories is when she was passing an exam room and over heard the following exchange.
Hygienist hands patient a tissue.
Male Patient: What is this for?
Hygienist: Spit or tears, vhatever!
Apparently after more than 30 some odd years (and I don't remember her as a young woman) she has yet to develop a softer "bed side" manner.