I hate going to the dentist. I know a lot of people share that sentiment, but I’m perhaps more serious than that.
In a way that makes me much more empathetic toward my friends who have panic disorders and suffer from paranoia, I’m a complete wreck at the dentist. It’s not the pain, or the vibration, or the tiny little shards of tooth making their way down my throat– it is only the fact that I’m at the dentist. I’m happy to know the doc and the assistant, and to visit their lovely office. I make small talk before they tilt my chair back, and do my best to do so after the visit when my lips feel like footballs. But when they are getting underway, I feel like I’m drowning in panic. The anxiety is intense; all I want to do is bolt out of there so that I can cry in my car.
I try to tell myself that there must be some rational explanation– some childhood trauma, or (more likely) the fateful visit 3 years ago when another dentist and his partner tag-teamed a huge molar, prying and chiseling and arguing with one another while I tried not to gag on the chunks of the tooth. But I think it’s just pure anxiety over nothing too terribly rational or explicable. Which is humbling, to say the least.
Today was filling 4 cavities, and next time will be a cleaning and a consult about the implant to replace my missing molar. Can’t wait.
(HT: This twosome, whose vocals combined with a rich cauldron of roots rock to keep my head together for those two hours this morning.)
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