Dentists, aka I am not the enemy

I’m going to have to vent for a minute, since I still feel shaky and as though I’m going to be sick after just getting back from the dentist. For most people those visits probably aren’t pleasant, but they’re a necessary evil…unless you have a crippling phobia of Evil Bastards, I mean dentists.

Backtracking for history:

When I was a kid we lived in a small town in Northern California, where there was one dentist. On hindsight I think he was either a genuine sadist, completely incompetent, or (more likely) an alcoholic. If he remembered to give you Novocaine he shoved the needle halfway through your jawbone. If he had to drill a cavity, he wandered…into gums, tongues, once his own finger. I shit you not, my friends – this was one sorry excuse for a dental care professional and my sisters and I are all terrified of going to the dentist. I also have a terrible fear of needles which I attribute directly to him.

I learned to deal with it as an adult, mainly because I was then living in Los Angeles and had access to practices where they gave you valium and used sedation. Not fun, but I could do it.

And then I moved to the UK and it all fell apart. Here you’re treated like some whiny baby, a wussie who can’t handle a filling or two without painkillers. Always double-booking appointments, they rush you through everything and barely sterilise the hammers they use to bash you with. I admit to slightly exaggerating there. So, I’ve been going without since we moved here, which seemed like an entirely sensible plan until I was eating toffee and cracked a lower tooth loose from the bone. I’ve been living with said aching, wobbly tooth for what, four years? Not fun, and I need it taken care of now.

So, I explain everything to the dentists’ office near us which supposedly sees private patients as well as no-frills NHS ones. We don’t have much money but I would pay anything to just have a bit of nitrous. I’ve been sick since yesterday when I made the appointment. And I see…not the smiling, gentle dentist that I’d hoped for, but a very brusque lady who has no patience for people who are babies. She didn’t like me.

I asked about the private services that I’d been promised, I said I could do it but I needed something to help. She looked at me as though I had just admitted to voting Tory and being an avid foxhunter. In a flash I’m no longer a semi-redneck from California, but some elitist toff with my pointy nose in the air, sneering at NHS dentistry. Now she really hates me, and she’s starting to look a bit like Laurence Olivier in the movie Marathon Man. I don’t know if it’s safe or not, but I’ll say anything she wants at this point.

This is me


And so I left. And that was my day. And dentists suck. :(

5 thoughts on “Dentists, aka I am not the enemy”

  1. I am so sorry, Ravven. I understand. I do. I hope you find relief. And I thank you for your humorous wordsmithing. You made me snort and giggle over something I normally would not. You’re definitely a writer–in addition to an incedible artist.

  2. Oh, Ravven! You poor thing! You have definitely had a bad experience here and hopefully a one-off. I also have a phobia of dentists (I’ll spare you the gruesome details as to why) but all the dentists I’ve had since have been lovely. I tell them I’m a wimp and hate going to the dentist and they are very nice about it. I’m surprised that they wouldn’t offer you private treatment – usually they’re quite keen when you mention paying more money! Find another dentist!

    Louise x

  3. Thank you Louise and Tamara – hey, you have to laugh, right? I have another appointment with a different dentist tomorrow, who does see private patients and can hopefully help without getting all sanctimonious on me. Failing that, I’ll go to London or wherever rich people who insist on being babied go, lah-di-dah! :D

  4. Pingback: Dentists, Part Two « - Ravven's Glass

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