The Most Dreaded Place on Earth…

I’m off to my least favorite place this morning. A place so dreaded that I would rather visit the gynecologist.  That’s right, I am off to the dentist. Ugh.

Image by Grant Cochrane via http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/
Image by Grant Cochrane via freedigitalphotos.net

A bit over five years ago, I had an essay due for a creative writing class. I had been struggling with several ideas, but didn’t have anything I was happy with.  On the morning it was due, I found myself with a dentist appointment, and the topic just clicked.  Just for fun, I thought I would share it here:

Dental Terror

I’ve always been told I have a high pain tolerance.  This was reinforced when, at sixteen, I was walking less than twenty-four hours after knee surgery – sans painkillers.  I made it through the entire recovery without taking a single one of those happy little narcotics, which shocked my doctors and physical therapists.  On the other hand, there is one place that I just can’t handle any type of pain – my mouth.

When I have the slightest toothache, I reach for the heaviest painkiller I have.  I just can’t handle any discomfort in my mouth.  For some reason, my mouth is just extremely sensitive to pain.  The high tolerance for pain in other areas of my body is made up for in that one location.

I have met other people with similar issues, and they seem to have their dentist on speed dial.  The slightest pain and they are in the dentist’s creepy chair to get it taken care of.  I, on the other hand, hate the dentist!!  I find that the dentist causes the worst mouth pain.  They have scary little instruments, and I am never sure exactly what they are doing.  All I know is that I always leave there and my mouth aches for days to follow.

I dread going to the dentist to the point where I think I make myself sick.  I have this tendency to end up too sick to show up at the appointments.  Now, I am not sure if this is truly psychosomatic, or if it is time of year.  I have bad allergies, and have always ended up with colds most of September through March or April, with 3-5 sinus infections in that time frame.  Since my dentist appointments are typically in September and March, maybe it is just a coincidence.  But those appointments do seem to keep getting pushed back – sometimes more than once.

I was told in high school I need to get my wisdom teeth out, as they were pushing my other teeth forward and there wasn’t going to be enough room for them to come all the way in.  I knew this could eventually cause me pain, but if I got my wisdom teeth removed, I was guaranteed pain – and lots of it (or so I thought).  Further, if the dentist could instill such a fear in me, just imagine what an oral surgeon could do!  So I procrastinated, and procrastinated, then procrastinated some more.  Every six months, I was reminded that they needed to come out, and every six months I would ignore the advice, until, fifteen years later, the pain started.  And it got worse.  And worse.  And worse.

I finally broke down, made an appointment, and got the consultation for my wisdom tooth removal.  The oral surgeon seemed really nice, and he swore it was going to be easy, it shouldn’t cause too much pain; he even promised some of those nice little narcotics I had turned down all those years ago for my knee surgery.  So I made an appointment for May, after the worst of my allergy season.  Guess what happened… I got sick and had to reschedule!  (Diagnosed pneumonia this time – if that was psychosomatic, I have some amazing powers!)

So, I had two more months of dreading this appointment.  Finally, the big day came, and I actually had the extraction done, fifteen years, or half of my lifetime later.  And, shockingly enough, it really wasn’t that bad!  It certainly was better than the pain I had been experiencing with them in.  Of course, that didn’t stop me from filling that little narcotic prescription on the way home, just in case.  But again, I didn’t need them.

I went to my first scheduled dentist appointment after the removal without any rescheduling.  I was so proud I had finally gotten it done.  My dentist was shocked!  The visit was really not that bad.  I thought I had finally kicked the fear of the dentist.  If only I would have gotten my wisdom teeth removed earlier, maybe I could have saved myself years of dread.

Or so I thought.  I woke up this morning, six months after my last dentist appointment, and time to go again.  And I have a fever, cough, sore throat, and headache.  Guess I better go call the dentist and reschedule…

Of course, I made the mistake of letting my husband read this after I got great feedback from my professor. (I think my professor agreed with me: dentist = scary.)  Now, I can’t get away with those last-minute cancellations.  Instead, I made sure to schedule myself for a haircut and manicure this afternoon–my treat for being a big girl and keeping my appointment.

(Did anyone else notice that I managed to cancel enough appointments to move my scheduled appointment from September to December. How sad is that?)

What about you? Do you dread the dentist? Have another dreaded task you will do anything to get out of? Any funny stories of the lengths you will go to get out of it? Please share! 🙂

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Susi Borath finds time to write between minor league baseball games, creating new cookie recipes, trying out new Pinterest-inspired crafts, and juggling more laundry than any two people should be able to produce. You can find more about her at http://susiborath.com or follow @susiborath on Twitter.

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