Tuesday, 19 July 2011

In the end, killed off by kindness

Going to the dentist is piss easy, isn't it? I can't believe I spent the last nine months fretting about it.

Fretting is an understatement. There were times when anticipating childbirth had less fear riding on it than the thought of what could happen to me in thirty minutes lying in a dental chair.

And it's not a fair comparison. Childbirth? I almost looked forward to it. There were comforts to be had, thanks to modern technology and chemical cocktailery. There were excitements ahead! I would be able to drop as many drugs as medically possible and my brain would freewheel while my body went numb. Ideal. No way was I at all interested in experiencing the ecstasy of childbirth thank you very much. Nor proving my female credentials with my bodily yielding of joy and pain. Nor winning any motherhood glory from the off with the enormous size of my ripped apart doodah to show in comparison at the new mother weeping circle. Nope. Thanks anyway for suggesting that, ye glorious natural motherhooders with the water bathing and the ylang ylang oils. You can forget about persuading me to cook and eat my own placenta as well.

But the dentist! THE DENTIST.

Anticipating the dentist is the stuff of terror.

For a start, they are still ripping teeth out medieval style by means of iron pincers and in dungeons with blood-spattered walls lit by flaming torches, of this I am sure. And even if they have got electricity in those surgeries, and the equipment has changed a bit, you don't know who those people are! They look normal, sure. They have a head, legs and arms and stuff. But what if the dentist I get is a crazed psychotic killer dressed up as a dentist? What if they have nurtured an angry festering grudge all their lives and are now so bursting with pent up fury they can no longer sublimate their pain into dental drills and antiseptic mouthwash? What if they suddenly want revenge? Or maybe they just have some sort of mental breakdown and forget what they are doing and disembowel me by accident?

Even if the dentist is strangely normal, what about the rest of the experience? They rip out teeth! What if they get the wrong tooth? The numbing injection will fail! The drill slip and pierce my cheek! I will swallow the mouth-hoovery-end by accident! I will surely choke to death!

I have thought of every horrible scenario involving dentistry and I can say, after the type of sleep where you keep one eye open, any one of those outcomes is perfectly possible in your thirty minutes with the dentist.

Except the one where the dentist is a lovely lady who is so calming and soothing, that within ten seconds she can be my mum, except she is younger than me, which is a bit weird, and she is also Eastern European and pronounces tooth as toos, which makes me want to smile and give her a cuddle in a strange over-protective impulse. I could go on, praising her genuine concern and quiet unhurried manner and the simple kindness which made her take time and even hold my hand.

So not at all terrified. And no thrashing about with funny muffled screaming like the time when the other dentist with the big arms actually sank back in his chair with a profound sad sigh and suggested, that at the next appointment, maybe then I would feel better about opening my mouth.

Nothing like that at all. Not even any pain thanks to the remarkable advances they have made with electricity. I will merely see her again in a year's time and she will say in that very gentle, concerned voice, How ees ze toos? and I will smile and think, Why did I ever worry?


Clare said...

Aww, she sounds lovely. My dentist is very stern and never smiles and tells me off for eating too much sugar when I KNOW it is all those babies leaching calcium from my teeth. Not my fault, see?

Gweipo said...

Poor you, that's one thing that I have to say as a generalisation but british and dutch dentists are monsters! Don't expose your kids to them. Let them go to nice HK dentists! Then they'll never get your phobias.