. . . is going to the dentist. It’s not my dentist’s fault. I love my dentist. He’s a great guy. He works very hard to keep me from having panic attacks whenever I have to have something done. He gives me laughing gas when I get fillings. Dr. T is wonderful and I recommend him to everyone.
I just really, really dislike having work done on my teeth. I hate the sound of the tools scraping against my teeth. I hate the feel of the hygenist’s fingers in my mouth. It’s just yucky and I don’t like it. Yes, I’m a big baby about it and I will be the first to admit it. But I manage to keep my composure and get through the twice yearly cleanings.
The problem all stems from the fact that we didn’t go to the dentist much when we were kids. That was back in the day before dental insurance and since there were six of us kids, Mom and Dad’s philosophy was "if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it." We usually only went to the dentist if there was something wrong with our teeth. So that would explain why I associate a trip to the dentist with pain. When I got my first job out of college, it came with dental insurance. Hubby talked me into going to a dentist for a routine cleaning. The dentist I went to is NOT the dentist I see now. I swear that guy saw dollar signs the minute I walked in the door. I have a slight overbite and the scary dentist wanted to do all kinds of corrective work on the overbite. Stuff like break my jaw, move it forward, and wire it shut so the jaw would align properly. Then he wanted to put braces on me to make sure all the teeth were straight and pretty. I was 22 years at the time. There was no way I was going to let some sick man do that to me. I left that office and never went back.
After hearing what the scary dentist wanted to do, Hubby found another dentist. The dentist he found was Dr. T. Hubby has some inherited dental problems and Dr. T worked very hard to get Hubby’s problems under control and help Hubby keep the majority of his natural teeth. Hubby always came home from a visit with Dr. T telling me that I should go and that Dr. T was different and wouldn’t want to hurt me. I was always impressed with the fact that Dr. T would call the house to check on Hubby whenever Hubby had a serious dental procedure done. So, I finally decided to go see for myself if Dr. T was really that wonderful. I told him upfront that I was a big baby and I was scared to death to be sitting in that chair. Dr. T explained that he felt the same way as a kid and that’s why he became a dentist, so that he could keep other kids (and adults!) from avoiding dental care because of fear.
He did the exam, told me that my teeth were okay, but I was going to need some fillings and at some point we would have to remove my wisdom teeth. I asked about fixing the overbite. Dr. T said that he didn’t see a reason to fix the overbite unless I wanted it fixed. When I told him what the scary dentist had said, he laughed and said that there’s no reason to put me through that. The overbite wasn’t affecting my bite and there was no problem in leaving it alone. I could have hugged and kissed Dr. T right there . . . and I told him that. He promised me that we’d never do anything that I didn’t want to do. He just makes recommendations, it’s up to me to make the decision about the work that gets done.
Dr. T is wonderful. His staff is wonderful. He’s been my dentist now for 15 years. I never think twice about following his suggestions. Over the years, I’ve had my wisdom teeth pulled and had two root canals done, and never thought twice about the people that Dr. T recommended I see to have this work done. Like I said, I recommend Dr. T to EVERYONE!
But I still don’t like going for my twice yearly exams. I went today for my summer cleaning. They told me that I have to have two fillings and two crowns. The office manager at Dr. T’s office is doing the research to find out what my dental insurance will pay. I know that she’ll work with me on a payment plan if the insurance only pays part of the bill – she’s done it before. Dr. T is willing to wait for me to decide when I want to have the work done. I know the crowns are going to be expensive, but that’s not what’s got me dragging my feet. It’s the fact that they’re going to be working on my teeth. The only bright spot to the whole thing is that I’ll get laughing gas and lots of it.
They’re all so wonderful and I feel bad that I can’t get over my fear of the dentist. I wonder if it would be different if I had found Dr. T first and had never visited scary dentist.