Are you terrified of the annual visit to the den of the dentist? Do your knees shake when you set eyes on the dreaded dental chair? Do you go white with fright when you see the light glinting off the wicked instruments lined on the side table, ready to poke and prod in your delicate oral cavity?
I think any person who regularly visits a dentist will answer affirmatively to the above questions. But why is the very sight of a dentist so traumatic to some people? I will delve into the details in a few.
My parents have always held the policy that visits to the dentist’s clinic is only necessary if you need an extraction. The result of which was that I had to endure through two hours of hell when I went for my very first dentist appointment.
Well, it wasn’t really a dentist who did my very first scaling but my cousin in the third year of undergraduate dentistry. I had volunteered since I always wanted to get my teeth scaled, which is the process of removal of extra hard calcified oral debris and bacterial depositions. And because I wanted to help her out with her humongous task of scaling twenty patients before the month end (when you have to call your patients to you rather than get them from the dental clinic directly, you will understand how difficult it is to actually fulfill such a seemingly easy task).
And that’s when I finally understood why people usually try to postpone their appointments to the dentist. It is daunting. One look at the dental chair with a whole array of sharp weapons, oops instruments, laid out next to it can make the stoutest heart quiver in dread and have guinea piggish nightmares.
My cousin scaled my teeth very well, besides the fact that she had to soak up seven cotton balls with the blood from my punctured gums along the way. Okay, don’t get scared, I was just pulling your leg.
Scaling was pretty scary at first since I didn’t know anything about it and my cousin had fairly warned me beforehand that since my teeth had too much calculus (calcified depositions) I would have a lot of bleeding and pain while she did it. But once she actually started it wasn’t that painful or scary. I think because the instruments were like toothpicks, sharp metallic extra scary toothpicks, the pain from the puncture wounds was fleeting before the wound clotted up on its own.
So after my initial adrenaline got burned off I was pretty much sleepy as she scraped away at my teeth. I actually had to force myself to stay awake so that I could keep my mouth open wide for her to work at ease.
But scaling was fun too. I learnt a lot from my various questions to my cousin and also from observing her interact with her teachers. Hell if I repeat the same mistakes in my own third year, which weren’t many, only three. And at times it got funny when she actually had to struggle to dislodge a bit of calculus from between my teeth. Those times I wondered if she was scaling or prying off my tooth.
So overall my first scaling was a memorable experience and I am proud to say that even after seven blood-soaked cotton balls (okay, I lied, she did bleed me a lot) I am still willing to go for it again in another six months’ time. Hail the iron hearted maiden. Yeah, I get your point; I should take a microphone and shout out my greatness to the crowd. Narcissistic bitch!
So the next time someone you know is afraid to tread near the dentist’s doorsteps just relate this tale and ask them to be brave. Because although the instruments are scary, the pain inflicted by them is not worth mentioning (unless you have extra sensitivity, which is not the case for the general crowd).
And remember, in dental treatments the end result satisfaction always overshadows initial discomfort.
Have a great toothy smile day!