10.12.2011

Why I Hate Going To the Dentist

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 "I am your dentist, and I enjoy the career that I picked.  
I am your dentist.  I get off on the pain I inflict."  

Like millions of Americans, I don't like going to the dentist.  The feeling of dread I get at the mere thought of having my teeth cleaned can be traced back to two separate events that occurred fifteen years apart.

When I was six-years-old, I had six teeth pulled.  I was born with an extra permanent and baby upper left lateral incisor.  As a result, my teeth were askew to one side.  In an effort to prevent me from having to wear braces, my dentist recommended that I visit an oral surgeon and have the extra permanent tooth removed. 

I can still remember the chocolatey smell of the Nitrous Oxide as I lay in the surgeon's chair.  The procedure went smoothly as the doctor removed five baby teeth so that he could access the big one he was after.  

As he began to extract the permanent tooth, it became apparent to me that the Novocaine was wearing off. The tears streaming from my eyes clued the doctor in that something was wrong.  His response was to pat me on the hand and say, "Just a few minutes more and I'll be done," as he proceeded to yank out the tooth and sew my gums closed without any pain medication.  

If that wasn't enough to traumatize me, fast forward fifteen years.  

When my permanent teeth finally came in, they were nice and straight just as we had hoped.  The only flaw was that the upper left lateral incisor was a tiny half-tooth.  As a child, my dentist fashioned a temporary cap using some sort-of bonding agent.  After moving to Tennessee, I finally decided to have a permanent veneer put on my tooth.  One that would last me for the rest of my life. 

If any of you have ever had a crown, cap or veneer, you understand that the original tooth needs to be ground down in order to provide adequate room and create a perfect fit.  As my dentist was finishing the reducing process, once again the Novocaine began to wear off.  This time, no tears were shed.  It was the wild look in my eyes that clued the dentist in on my plight.

To my horror, my dentist said, "I hate to give you any more painkiller because I'm almost done.  Just give me another minute."  He then continued to shave away at my tooth while every nerve screamed out in pain. 

And so my fear of dentists was firmly sealed.

I'm not even taking into account having my wisdom teeth pulled which involved dry sockets, antibiotics and an allergic reaction to Codeine.  Good times...

Despite my fear, I tried to keep up with my twice-yearly dental appointments over the years.  Surprisingly, it wasn't the x-rays, the cleanings or that annoying little tool they use to pick at your teeth that further propelled my dislike of the dentist.  It was their constant badgering about endless unnecessary procedures.  

Every dentist I have visited in my adult life has tried to convince me that my teeth needed to be whitened until they glowed like a sheet of typing paper in the sun.  I always politely refuse their procedure, siting the fact that my teeth are not corn-like but nice and white.  

The dentists then try to tell me that I should consider putting veneers on all my front teeth to "improve my appearance."  Really?!  I know that my teeth aren't perfect, but I get regular compliments from people telling me what "gorgeous" teeth I have.

Since when did the practice of dentistry become more about pushing high priced procedures than about patient care?  I knew that I had had enough.

I'm ashamed to say that for eight years I didn't step foot in a dentist's office.  That is until yesterday.  

Stop back by tomorrow to hear all about my return to the dreaded dentist. 

5 comment(s). Leave yours!:

Joel said... Best Blogger Tips

That dentist looks mean! LOL! Well, going to the dentist for some people is too difficult but we all have to. Just to maintain our smiles. =)

Joel Jackson

Darrin Husak said... Best Blogger Tips

One too many visits to the dentist as a child can just be the root cause of fear. Sometimes, it takes one good experience with them to change that. Perhaps conversing with your dentist prior to a procedure can help loosen up the tension!

Patsy Dupre said... Best Blogger Tips

Opting to go for a veneer was an excellent choice, Amy. Hmmm... eight years is quite a long time. But it's a good thing nothing serious happened to your teeth or gums. Well, visiting the dentist can be a bit of challenge, but doing so can help us achieve excellent dental health.

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

I hate the needles. I hate the fact that dentists harass you into having procedures that aren't necessary. I hate no it all hygienists. I once had a hygienist talk my, soon to retire dentist, into redoing a filling because she claimed it leaked. He disagreed but relented. Should never have let him do it. Stupid hygienist.

Frank Jacobs said... Best Blogger Tips

A lot of these fears are more of perpetuated by media image and running perceptions & whatnot. The common thing in these is they're subjective, along with being more or less enculturation that is, of course, dependent on the person. We should lay these all to rest, though, as dental hygiene and well-being is central to our own personal growth, wellness and all that. Hope that trip wasn't such a doozy, and belied all these longtime stigmas and beliefs. :)

Frank @ Alpenglow Dental

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