Wednesday, March 15, 2006

you'll be a dentist...

I think my dentist has marked me as a wuss.

I just had a caviry filled. The dentist who did the work is great; Happy, calm, friendly.

So she set me up in the chair and gave me a topical swap to numb me up for the novacaine shot. I asked her to wait like a minute, because the last time I had a cavity filled, they shot me up right after applying the topical, and it hurt like Hell. So she agreed, and even daubed a little more of the topical stuff before she started. OK.

She starts to drill, and things are going fine. Apparently, though, this cavity of mine was way back on the far end of my last tooth, and it was hard for the dentist to get to it. So she pulls back on my cheek a little harder, and says, “You’re doing fine.”

I’m doing fine?

I wasn’t aware I was doing anything. But OK, maybe she was talking more to herself than me. Like I said, she’s wicked nice and good at what she does.

So she keeps working, and I hear drill bits grinding to a stop on the tooth. Which is awful, but what are you going to do? I didn’t feel anything, although I could smell the burning tooth and sense the vibration come to an abrupt stop. “You’re doing great.”

Wait, what?

Then I start to realize: She thinks I’m freaking out. But I wasn’t, and I know I wasn’t. I wasn’t grimacing, I didn’t say anything, or pull away. So why does she think I’m about to break down in the chair?

I start to wrack my brain as she continues to work. She’s tugging hard at my cheek, because if she doesn’t, she says, she’ll cut the cheek. She took her hands out of my mouth and I say, “I appreciate that,” trying to use a little humor to let her know I’m all good.

She gives off a little (forced) laugh and said “You’re doing a great” again.

She starts to work again, and I realize, it has to be because of the form I filled out last year when I started with this dentist. It had a question about whether you feel anxious about seeing a dentist, and I checked “a little.” I wanted to be honest, because I don't entirely like the idea of someone poking around my mouth with needles and drills. But maybe everyone lies on that form, and tries to play themselves off as cooler than they are. So to the dentist, "No" means "A little" and "A little" means "Hell yeah I'm scared."

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