Before I introduce you to our guest author today let me tell you a fact about me – I am an undergraduate dentist (you can scream in terror and run around the room now). And that’s why when Rich contacted me with this post idea, I jumped aboard because I was intrigued and wanted a good laugh. So it’s giving me ironic pleasure to introduce our guest author, Richard Keane to all of you today. Continue Rich…
Nobody enjoys going to the dentist. It’s as simple as that. If you actually like spending time at the dentist then you either A) fancy the dentist or B) need your head checking.
Just think about it! As soon as you walk into the room and see the scary ‘instruments’ it looks like you’re about to be tortured rather than fixed up. How can anyone enjoy that?
There are many reasons why so many of us hate the dentist, but here are 5 to get you going:-
1. The Waiting Room
Firstly, the waiting room is a hub of pure fear and anxiety, which can be sensed as soon as you walk through the door. There are people displaying various stages of dread; those who have arrived too early and are now regretting it, those who are late and flustered, and those who have gone green at the prospect of their name being called out by the dental nurse.
The doors are paper-thin, which means that you can hear every little yelp and the eerie noise of the drill, which definitely sounds like something from the Saw movies.
There is nothing that makes the waiting room awful. Most are generic, fairly plain rooms kitted out with a few chairs, magazines that span the last decade and, if you’re lucky, a television. But the act of just being in the waiting room is enough.
The air of anticipation and nervousness the sight of patients walking timidly to the reception desk to pay, one side of their mouth slightly drooped and filled with cotton wool to prevent public drooling. The only thing worse than the waiting room is the appointment time you’re given, especially if they’re evil enough to give you ‘two-thirty’ (get it!).
2. The Chair
This may sound a little ridiculous but the dental chair is a problem for me. It’s not the chair itself, so much. Although getting on, wriggling up and then being greeted with an impossibly bright light isn’t ideal. It’s more the experience of lying there, completely helpless while you pray with every fibre of your being that your dentist will say everything is ok and that you can sleep easy for the next six months.
The act of keeping your mouth open for so long in one go is also unpleasant, especially if like me, you can’t stand the feel of metal in your mouth and have to fight the constant urge to swallow.
Another thing I hate about the chair is being able to see right inside the dentist’s mouth (before they put their mask on of course). They have the audacity to lecture you about having a filling yet they may as well be a robot with the amount of metal they’ve got in there!
Like many, I struggle with gagging. I’m sensitive to unpleasant smells and even brushing my teeth sometimes prompts an unexpected reflex. Going to the dentist is a nightmare for anyone with a sensitive gag reflex.
You try your best not to swallow but you’re constantly thinking about swallowing and worrying that you may choke any second, while also not wanting to disturb the dentist at a crucial moment causing him to slip and drill through your eyeball.
Luckily, my dentist thinks he’s a bit of a joker and can see me pulling the most attractive faces of sheer ‘struggle’. So he asks me if I’d like to take a break. There was a couple of times when he made me laugh during treatment, don’t know how that was supposed to be helpful but it stopped me from gagging, I guess.
4. Fearing the Worst
One of the most dreadful things about going to the dentist is the unshakeable fear of being told that you have to go back to have a filling or something even more terrible, like a root canal.
The actual check-up isn’t that bad, but the underlying sense of dread that precedes it is awful. Throughout it you’re thinking ‘Does my breath smell okay?’ or ‘I shouldn’t have eaten that stuffed mushroom last night, darn you mum for putting that extra garlic in!’
After an exam, you start questioning whether you’ve done enough in terms of brushing and cursing yourself for not flossing every day. While you lie there, you try to determine how the check is going and worry that a concerned sigh may escape from your dentist’s lips at any time, before they utter the frightful news that ‘you’ll have to come back’.
In contrast, one of the best things about going to the dentist is the amazing sense of relief when your dentist says that everything is ok and you don’t have to come back for at least another 6 months.
5. Injections and Numbness
Injections aren’t my favourite thing and I happen to think that injections in your mouth are somehow much worse than those in your arm. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad of the shot once treatment commences, but the after-effects of anaesthetic are truly terrible.
You feel like you’ve been punched in the side of the face all of a sudden and you can feel yourself start dribble but are powerless to stop it in time. When you grab a drink and miss your mouth, especially in front of your friends, well you know how embarrassing it is.
The numbness also seems to last forever, especially if you’ve made the error of arranging to do something, rather than retreating to the comfort and privacy of your own home to dribble in peace.
Going to the dentist isn’t the best day out, by any stretch of the imagination, but when I’m sitting in the waiting room, giant-like species of butterfly are doing somersaults in my stomach. My heart beating like a hyperactive drum, I comfort myself with the thought that sitting in a chair for 10 minutes is much better than looking in the mirror and being greeted with the sight of rotten, brown teeth.
About the Author:-
The author, Rich, hopes you got a kick out of this and that it brings to the fore some unpleasant memories of your own dental experiences! You can join him and the guys at http://www.braces.org.uk/ for dentistry that isn’t a kick in the teeth, and I hope you got the two-thirty joke because it took me a few times to make sense out of it when I first heard it!