Hello everyone and welcome back to a much lighter post than the recent ones 🙂
Who loves going to the dentist? Come on, show some hands… anyone? Bueller? Bueller?…
I am a dentophobe, or as Kramer once put it – an anti-dentite. I can’t help it. I have a fear of dentists. It’s without competition, my greatest fear in life (well, among fears related to me physically).
Just to clue you into some partial background information that may help me qualify as quite an expert on the topic:
- My first root canal treatment was before the age of 10.
- I’ve had more than 4 teeth pulled before the age of 20.
- I’ve had fillings on almost every tooth in my mouth.
- I have a reconstructed tooth (done twice).
- I’ve had two sessions under full anesthesia, treated 10+ cavities at a time.
- I’ve had braces and retainers.
- I’ve had a wisdom tooth pulled out from inside the gum.
- I’ve had root canal treatments and caps.
In other words, my mouth is kind of Jurassic Park for dentist. When I go to a new dentist and open my mouth I can detect the “Wow!” moment.
Now you must be horrified. “How bad exactly is this guy’s oral hygiene???”
To my defense I’ll say that I take care of my teeth as well as any. I did not need any treatment (other than the occasional clean) for the last 24 years. So yes, I was a bit sloppy as a kid, but my teeth are just that way…
With that in mind, I hope you can appreciate that, though phobia is an irrational fear, I do have a long experience, most of it as a young kid. The sound of the drill used to make my skin crawl and for the life of me, even as a 42 year old I can’t stand the thought of the needle….
So, last Tuesday I went to the dentist for the first time in (as mentioned before) over 20 years for something other than cosmetics. I started replacing mercury laden fillings with the healthier option (Read: less deadly one). I recommend this maintenance to anyone, but that’s besides today’s discussion. The point I’m making is that for the first time in forever, I had to go to the dentist, have a needle stuck in my gum and the drill opening up a tooth… <Cue suspenseful music>
Now, you may or may not remember that I’ve been diagnosed (if you could call it that) with IBS. Guess what is THE BIGGEST trigger for an IBS flare up? Yup, and yup. Fear and anxiety. So needless to say (which is the stupidest expression ever), the night before and the morning of the appointment, in addition to be scared, I must have a stomach ache for shits and giggles.
On the verge of nervous breakdown, I still had to find the motivation to drive myself all the way to the clinic and so I found myself on that dreadful chair, like a condemned convict awaiting his execution… thinking to myself that they might as well tie my arms to the chair so I won’t knock the dentist’s hand in panic, causing pain to myself (Oh, the contradictions of a dentophobe…).
Before the needle goes in, I take a couple (or a hundred) deep breaths and in it goes, to the chorus of unnecessary oohs and aahs from yours truly. and once that’s done, the level of pressure reduced. Not eliminated mind you, but less severe.
You see, my number one priority at the dentist’s is (much like life in general) – no pain. And if, as a result there’s no gain then so be it!
From that point on, my only concern is “Let the numbing last long enough”.
Or so I thought…
I was actually surprisingly calm through the ordeal, until… the dentist switched from one drill (that high pitch, high-speed) to what can only be described by imagining an oil drill slowly turning in my tooth. For a short moment, he has awakened the demons. It threw me back in time and space, about 35 years I’d guess as I saw myself, a little boy, with eyes open wide and heart speeding, my dad looking at me from the corner of my eye.
It didn’t hurt of course. It just vibrated. But all I wanted to say was “Mommy!”
And then it was done.
A little bit of stuffing and I was free to go. A look at the cellphone showed me that in record time, the dentist dug out 3 pretty big (one huge) poisonous fillings, replaced them with a clean and human friendly ones and had me on my way.
I told you my number one priority was no pain. Check. My other priority is that the drilling and otherwise, treatment wouldn’t last forever. Also check. Professionally and personally speaking, Dr. Rosenheck was way ahead of any dentist I’ve ever been to, so what can I say? I guess that one could have a non traumatic visit to the dentist.
If you need a GOOD dentist and live in the area –
Jay L. Rosenheck, DDS, PC
1000 Peachtree Industrial Blvd. Suite 10
Suwanee, GA 30024
Phone: (770) 614-4666
If I recommend a dentist, you know it’s worth it!