I completely understand why people are hesitant to go to the dentist. When you’re lying on the rigid recliner with the white hot spotlight in your face and they ask if you floss regularly, you feel compelled to confess your sins because it looks and feels a bit like an interrogation torture room, complete with cutting tools and truth serum gasses. If you’re lucky, you’re only there for a cleaning. Sounds innocent enough. Well it’s not. There’s scraping involved with sharp metal objects into the most sensitive parts of your gums that bleed with barely any prodding. There’s flossing, but it feels more like a violent thrashing into your already abused gumline that is now begging you to just please go home where it’s safe. There’s disgusting flavored tooth paste that comes from God knows where. They give you weird options to choose from, anywhere from bacon flavored to wild berries that taste absolutely nothing like berries. It’s more like wild poison berries past their due date that gets left in your mouth until they decide when you can spit it out. That’s another fun part of the “visit,” which is the playful term they use to tone down the torment procedure. After they turn on a strange vacuum hooked to a funnel cup, they ask you to dribble out the horrid toothpaste that is making your mouth water – and not in a good way. At home you can rinse your mouth out no problem, because you’re standing upright and gravity is your friend. But, when you’re lying down and trying to sit up from your recliner, getting rid of the toothpaste into the vacuum doesn’t go so well. Suddenly you feel like hiding and apologizing to the poor nice hygienist who just witnessed that fiasco. But all of that doesn’t compare to when you have a cavity or something wrong. The cup vacuum gets replaced with a smaller, more vicious vacuum that gets left in your mouth to pull the inside of your cheek to China. I used to get fillings before novocaine days, and that felt like someone was driving a pick axe into my soul. Suddenly you notice involuntary tears coming out of your eyes. I’m not sure if I prefer novocaine though because who wants a needle the size of Ohio plunging into your gum line that frankly didn’t deserve to be violated so ruthlessly. I thought novocaine was supposed to prevent pain? Novacaine also makes my heart flutter and stomach do flip flops, so I always feel like without the use of my lips once the numbness kicks in, I won’t be able to articulate that they need to call 911 for me…nobody will be able to understand me. When they ask you if you’re numb, you respond like a zombie without being able to use your lips to form actual words. You sound like the teacher from the Peanuts cartoon. If you really have problems beyond a filling, wear a crucifix, say the rosary for yourself and get someone to drive you to the appointment because you will not be in a good state of mind leaving there; you might wind up 100 miles out of town with no recollection of how you got there. In spite of all that, I’m very thankful for dentists and hygienists for all that they do to keep us healthy, because I’m not brave enough to do their jobs!
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