Thursday, January 15, 2009

Dentist dilemma


OK, I’ll admit it, when it comes to going to the dentist I am a shameless chicken.
I just do not like to visit anyone who will be using power tools on the inside of my mouth.
My lack of enthusiasm for dentists started when I was a kid and had a dentist we nicknamed ‘The Butcher.’ The funny part about that is a friend of mine, whom I did not meet until I was 17, had the same dentist and he too called the masked mad man ‘The Butcher.’
The problem was the man was quite rough and for a tiny little cavity, it seemed like he drilled half of your face off.
I expected to walk out of the room of doom and look in a mirror and see that half of my face was not frozen, it was actually missing.
The feeling of having frozen lips is a special kind of treat as well. You could have a two-foot long drool rope hanging off your face and not know it.
If there were a wind outside, the slobber slinky would be flapping like a loose string.
I had regular cleanings when I was a kid, which were not as bad as getting a cavity filled, but was still just slightly more fun that hitting your kneecap with a hammer.
The dental assistant would scrape and poke and dig around with those stainless steel torture devices that masqueraded as dental tools, all the while preaching the virtues of brushing daily.
At the end of the session was the lovely and, might I add, tasty fluoride soak where you had to bite down on those rubber mouthpieces filled with jelly fluoride.
“What flavour would you like? We have bubble gum, cherry, mint…..”
“Hmmm, seeing as how they all taste the same and odds are I will be barfing like a hungry dog by the time I get home, it doesn’t really matter, now does it.”
Of course, once the cleaning was done your gums were so sore you lost four pounds because you could not eat for 36 hours.
“See you in six months.”
“Yeah, and I’ll see you in he……”
Having a sweet tooth since I was old enough to know was sweets were, meant I got to know my dentist quite well over the years.
Being a big strong adult, I am no longer afraid of the people in white. OK, not afraid might be a bit of a stretch.
How about mature enough not to run out of the building crying and hiding in some nearby bushes until they stop looking for me.
Getting a cavity filled is psychologically more demanding than the actual filling itself, especially when you consider I have a really good dentist and it is the most painless dental work I have ever had done.
Did I mention I am the king of poultry when it comes to seeing a dentist?
It’s not his fault, but some memories die hard and every time I walk into that office and smell that dentist smell that can be found only at a tooth health-care facility, I am transported back to being a little kid in a big chair where the drill looked like it could grind its way through the earth’s core.
But I am all grown up now, so I take it like a man – a scardey cat man who would rather give CPR to a warthog than go to a dentist, no matter how good he is.
My dentist is a good guy and a really good dentist, but like every other dentist I have ever been to he will occasionally try to make small talk when there is two meters or rubber dam, three pounds of metal, a drill, a shop-vac and a miniature blow dryer in my mouth.
I think dentists do this more for their own amusement than for the benefit of the patient.
Dentist: “So how was your summer?”
Quaking patient with enough equipment in his mouth to build a small space shuttle: “Ug-ughm-mghn.”
Dentist: “Really, that’s very interesting.”
It’s just a little game dentists play.
I am sure when the day is over they sit back and have a laugh at trying to make people talk with all that gear in their mouth.
Finally the job is done, the tooth is good as new and I get to go home.
“Don’t eat or drink anything for the next couple of hours.”
“Dude, I couldn’t eat if I wanted to because I can’t feel half of my face.”
That one section of lip that is number than a politician’s brain will not allow food consumption because it always betrays its master and lets food dribble down the front of the shirt.
I guess one solution to my dental woes is to simply not go to a dentist anymore, but then I would have to cook all my food into a paste because you can’t gum a steak into submission.

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