I went to the dentist today. I went last week too, so it’s not like it’s a huge deal or anything, just something worth mentioning. I hate the dentist. Don’t get me wrong, my dentist is a good guy; I’ve been going to him for the better part of my dental life. But in the end, he freaks me out.

It all started 12 years ago. I was on my dad’s medical plan (100% coverage – oh yeah!), but I had recently become an ‘adult’ and could do what I ‘want’. Going to the dentist was not one of those things. Once I was off my dad’s plan, I was working full-time and eligible for benefits. I signed right up; I didn’t want to miss out on a good opportunity. I didn’t go to the dentist.

Eventually, I started getting headaches and my jaw kinda hurt and then I found myself clenching all the time just trying to relieve some of the pain. I decided to ‘check things out’ and started probing around the problem area with my tongue. It was not a good thing. I left that situation with a raw tongue and an increasing sense of panic. I literally had a gaping hole in my tooth. I decided it wasn’t too bad and I could live with it. I couldn’t. I went to the dentist.

Dentist: Oh, hi Heather, long time, how ya been?

Me: Oh. Good, thanks. How are you? *seems nonchalant but I was sweating in the chair at this point*

Dentist: Oh, good. How’s your Mom? Brother? Dad? (did I mention I’ve been seeing him forever?)

Me: Oh yeah, great. *still sweating*

Dentist: So, any problems?

Me: Yeah. I kinda got this bad tooth over here. *really sweating*

Dentist: Bad? What kind of bad?

Me: It hurts. (…and there’s a gaping hole…) *my heart rate is probably at dangerous levels*

Dentist: Let’s take a look.

… … …

Turns out he couldn’t fix it in the time I booked for my ‘cleaning’, so I had to go back the following week to get the ‘cavity’ filled. Yeah. Cavity. Things aren’t much better the second time around. But he is way more prepared to do some serious work, none of this boring routine cleaning stuff. He freezes me, waits. We talk about my family and how everyone is doing. He asked how frozen my face is. I tell him. He grabs the drill. He starts drilling. I scream a little, because, well, it hurt. Oh you felt that did ya? Uh-huh. Freezes me some more. Chat a bit more about my family. Grabs the drill. Drills. I scream a little more. Huh, still feel that do ya? Uh-huh. Freezes me some more. Chats. Grabs drill. Drills. I scream, even louder. I’m kinda getting tired of this. Oh, so you can feel that can you? YES! Okay. Well, onto Plan B. I’m not sure what plan B is, but if the freezing isn’t going to work, I’m really not looking forward to this.

He says when a ‘cavity’ doesn’t take freezing it means it needs a root canal. That does not sound good. He freezes my entire face. Drills. No pain. *whew* He pulls out the pipe cleaners and starts digging the root (nerve? soul?) out of my tooth. Fills it in. But… he didn’t have enough time to do the entire root canal (because he spent the better part of the 45 min appointment freezing and refreezing) so I have to come back next week. Dammit. Well, at least the pipe cleaning is done.

Or so I thought. The next week he opens it right up again and grabs the pipe cleaners. Oh no. Now I know I shouldn’t feel it, but I do… it’s a weird pain/sensation and I almost thought that I didn’t actually feel it. Maybe purely psycological. But I did and it was gross. Anyway… he pipe cleans the hell out of it and fills it back up. All done. But…. the tooth is really unstable, I’m going to need some posts put in to stabilize it. Uh-oh. Posts? Must not be as bad as it sounds. He tells me that a lot of plans won’t cover it because it’s considered ‘major dental work’ *the sweat starts*. And I should probably have them put in soon. Next week. Dammit.

I go in. I’m literally sweating bullets. I’m freaked right out. I have no idea what this ‘major dental post putting in’ work is all about, but I’m pretty sure it’s going to suck. The hygienist is trying to calm me down. She’s telling the dentist that maybe we should wait a few minutes (I think she was concerned about my dangerously high heart rate). He knows me (that will take awhile… no time!). Nah, it’s okay, sweetheart (that’s what he calls me), this won’t be bad at all. Are you sure?!?!? Yes. Okay…. Somewhat relieved. But not really.

The posts are installed in like 5.5 minutes. No pain (except for the needles). It was pretty awesome. Well, as awesome as a dentist appointment can be. He says he’s not sure how long the tooth will hold up, I probably will need a crown within the year. How much? $1000. Ouch. Yeah, I’ll get right on that.

That was in 2001. Since then I’ve kept pretty good care of my teeth (really trying to avoid the root canal)… I see him at least once a year. He’ll take a look in my mouth and say uh-oh. *sweat* What? I don’t know what to do about this. You don’t!?!?! *really sweat* No… … … there’s nothing wrong here, how am I supposed to pay my mortgage? *whew* Always the joker.

This story is only about 1/2 done. I think I’ll call this story part 1 of 2. I wanna keep you in suspense!