When I was a kid I didn’t hate going to the dentist. It was usually just fine. Until I had to get a retainer.
Actually, even then I didn’t really mind because I always wanted to be like my older sister. But I grew to hate my retainer, and when they told me they wanted to put braces on me as well as the retainer I said no.
I’m not sure if that’s when I stopped seeing that dentist, but that time did come. For a time I just stopped going, until I was 18 and I had a big, painful cavity that I could not ignore any more. That is when I went to an emergency dentist near my house who used her entire body weight to pull what turned out to be a baby tooth that had never fallen out. It was a horrible experience. She lectured me. It was painful. I’ve never forgotten.
And then my mother told me that she had found a new dentist. A woman she quite liked, and I should try her out too.
I like that dentist. I went to visit her regularly until I moved away for school, and when I came back she had retired and handed her practice over to a man who froze my jaw to fill a cavity and then walked away and left me sitting there for more than 30 minutes.
Seriously. I sat there staring at the ceiling and trying to figure out if I could just storm out, and whether I would be able to enunciate enough to explain the problem. I never wanted to go back to him, but I also ran out of insurance so I couldn’t go back either way.
When I was pregnant – and employed with dental coverage – I realized it was really time to go back. I waited until after birth, since I was scared that I would need treatment and would then have to weigh my options. I asked Facebook and Twitter for recommendations and made an appointment.
It’s been 7 years, 9 fillings, 5 root canals, 3 wisdom teeth removed and 2 crowns, and I love my dentist. She is kind, funny, gentle. She’s from Cape Breton for God’s sake. She is matter-of-fact about the treatments I need and very cautious when it comes to pain management.
She is such a good dentist that even my sister, who hates dentists more than I do, sees her on a regular basis and likes her. And now my kid gets to see her too, and likes her. My kid doesn’t stress about going to the dentist at all.
And a funny thing has happened since I started seeing a dentist I like. I have listened to her advice, I have gone for my regular cleanings and check-ups. I have started flossing like I have been told to for decades. The result of all of this? Clean check-ups. I had no cavities 6 months ago, no cavities today.
It’s almost as though the experts were right all along.
And with that, I share this classic. Gets me every time.