Head like a hole...

I was an odd child. I actually enjoyed going to the dentist. In fact, I never once had a problem with the dentist or the checkups or the smells or the sounds that come with a dentist's office.

Until last night.

It's been a year since I've been to the dentist simply because I wasn't able to get an appointment scheduled considering how much I work and how restrictive my dentist's availability is as well.

I left work and went to the gym for a quick workout. Then I showered and drove to the dentist's office. I guess I should've considered it a (bad) sign when, as I chewed on a piece of gum to freshen my breath a bit, I bit through my tongue.

When I got there, a new dental hygenist introduced herself to me and showed me to the chair. I sat down and she went to work cleaning my teeth. Of course, like any dentist or hygenist, she tried making small talk with me about where I came from, what I do for a living, and what the Bears' chances were in the Super Bowl. And, like any patient, I mumbled what little I could through my pried-open mouth that had a mirror and scraper sticking in it.

The first of my in-office pain came as she scraped down into my gums. For some reason, my gums were incredibly sensitive this week and every little nudge with that stupid prongy scraper thingie resulted in an intense wave of bone-grinding agony. Then she found the really sensitive spot. And she kept cleaning and scraping and cleaning and scraping over and over and over and over again all in that one spot. MOVE ON ALREADY!!!

When the hygenist finally did as I willed her to do, the dentist came in and told me what I knew was coming... I have a cavity in a spot that already has a filling. She would need a second appointment the day before the Super Bowl to pluck out the old filling and replace it.

Oh yay.

I haven't had a cavity in more than a decade. Bummed out is a bit of an understatement. I always thought I took decent care of my teeth. I brush regularly. I floss nearly once a day. Heck, there was a five-year span that I didn't visit a dentist because I could never find one I liked. When I finally did go back, my mouth was in great shape. Not a thing wrong with it. So what made this one year such an act of oral regression? I was ticked. And I'm sure my demeanor wasn't exactly helped by the fact that I had discovered the dental hygenist equivalent of Nurse Ratchet.

Okay, maybe that was a bit mean. She was a nice woman. But, seriously, enough is enough.

That spot in my gums still hurts this morning from her incessant poking and scraping.

If there's one upside, it's that licking my wounds is an easy task.

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g-man

Bummer dude. I can relate, had a similar experience when I was in the army. I was told I had to return for even more cleaning (since it had been several years since I had been to a dentist, while no cavities, my teeth were a mess). I was in such pain from the hygienist nazi woman, there was no way I was going back. I had to fake a deployment in order to skip the appointment.

Bre

When I was little the dentist's office was like a soap opera. His wife was the original receptionist until they had kids... and then when she was out of the office he had a tawdry affair with they hygenist, divorced his wife (well technically she divorced him for being a cheater), married the hygenist, had some more kids, and now has a new hygenist. I'm tempted to schedule extra cleanings just so I don't miss out if history repeats itself.

ms. sizzle

sometimes our teeth fail us regardless of how much we brush, floss and care for them. maybe it's genetics or age?

i HATED the dentist as a kid. HATED. we have a very mean hygenist who would make my sister and i cry and then when we cried she'd tell us to "stop crying!" in this mean voice. she was evil and should not have been working with people.

why DO they talk to us when they are clearly aware that their fingers are IN our mouths!?

Nat

I feel for you. I went back to the dentist after a three year absence and had two cavities. I was mortified. Luckily, after she saw the tears as she was cleaning a particularly sensitive spot, she offered a local anesthetic. Not sure why that happens. It's like all of a sudden your teeth start to go...

Old age sucks. :P

francesdanger

Geez, I feel lucky. I cracked a tooth last year and they gave me lots of anesthetic and a free t-shirt. Sorry you visit was your own personal Marathon Man!

Elaine

I swear dental hygenists find that ONE sweet (actually sour) spot where it hurts and just go to town on it. I gotta tell you though, flouride is the key to no cavitities. I started using a flouride toothpaste right after using my normal toothpaste and I haven't had a cavity in four years. All about the flouride man.

Erin

I hate going to the dentist or any doctor's appointment concerning my teeth, always have. Getting my first retainer in second grade, and having an orthodontist with a particular fondness for a tool that was very much like a ball peen hammer on a rubber band that he'd twang into my teeth probably didn't help much. I haven't yet gone to any dentist in California in the five years I've lived here since college, but my mom schedules dentist appointments for me in Sugar Land whenever I go home to visit, which results in really fun stuff like hour plus cleanings on Christmas Eve. My aunt found a dentist that would give her laughing gas for even just a cleaning... I need to find me a nice doctor like that.

diane

I feel your pain--literally. I also skipped going to the dentist for a couple years because I went my whole life without a cavity. Then I went to a new dentist finally, and BAM! SIX CAVITIES! Grrrrr. She didn't even have nitrous in her office. I had to convince her to write me a prescription for Valium before filling them. I was miserable.
I liked the dentist as a kid though, too. He let us pick goodies out of the "treasure chest" if we were well behaved (and I always was). :)

kapgar

g-man, wait til that Dental AWOL order comes through.

Bre, that would make me go back. That sort of thing happened in the church I went to as a teenager. Oh ho ho. It was fun.

sizzle, yeah, whatever happened to bedside demeanor. Or chairside in this case.

Nat, mmmm... anesthetic. I wish.

frances, I've never heard of dentists giving out T-shirts. I'm jealous.

Elaine, they're magnets for those sour spots. I do use fluoride toothpaste.

Erin, a ball peen hammer? What kind of dentist did you go to? Sugar Land, TX? Our current fire chief used to work there.

diane, I loved the toy treasure chest as a kid. And I had such a miserable time this run through, that I almost pilfered the sticker rack. There was a pretty cool Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sticker I wanted.

Dagny

I feel your pain. I have been avoiding going to the dentist lately because I know the visit will be filled with nothing but bad news. Of course, my dentist has the philosophy of that one should not feel pain anymore because they've made enough advances.

kapgar

Dagny, I don't think enough advances could ever be made to eliminate dentist-induced pain... EVER.

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