Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Just call me Lily. Lily-of-the-Valley-of-Dental-Death-and-Despair

It's taken more than five long months to cycle the family through their allotted turns at our new dentist office.  Introductions, exams, cleanings and the extras multiplied by eight people is a lot of scheduling and taxiing.  My job is to take care of most of the leg work, and yesterday it was finally my turn.
I purposely waited to be the last in line for dental services because:

-I wanted to observe the ins and outs of the new practice
-I wanted to be familiar with the charges and billing practices
-It's my job to make sure my family gets on a regular dental cleaning schedule
-I wanted to be good and sure that I was confident of how to get there
-I was using my family members as the guinea pigs
-For every cavity he found in a family member, I was confident that he'd find five more in my mouth because that's just my dental karma
-I have issues with going to the dentist

About that last one... I know I've mentioned my aversion to going to the dentist here before.  It's a thing I have.  Honestly, I can't trace it back to any one traumatic incident.  I grew up with a mother who took us to the dentist religiously twice every year for cleanings.  Dozens of times she has said to me "I want to have my own teeth in my mouth when I die."  Teeth are important to her, and despite whether money, insurance or convenience was ever an issue, the importance of taking care of your teeth has been ingrained into my soul.  I can't recall ever having an experience in the chair that scarred me from that point going forward.  Maybe there was one, and I'm also blessed with my dad's inability to remember the details.  Whatever the case, there I was in the office of my new dentist, looking at a large computer display of my personal information and health history.  As he asked me questions, I felt my face flushing and the corners of my eyes started to leak.  The harder I tried to fight it, the faster the drops fell, and the more embarrassed I felt, which just exacerbated an already super-awkward moment.  Seriously?!?  Crying in the OFFICE of the dentist?!? In my head, I was kicking myself in the shins.  "You're not even in the dentist chair!! Pull it together!"  I wanted to whip out my happy face and shout "April Fools!" except I was not exactly in control of my emotions.  It would probably have come out like a heinous witchy-shriek intermingled with throaty gurgles and snotty nose-sniffing sounding something like "You're all FOOLS!" followed up by a quick call to some men in white lab coats escorting me quietly out the back door.
The kindly dentist fetched me a glass of water and gave me a few minutes to compose myself before we walked to the actual chair where the nice hygienist sat.  I couldn't look her in the eyes.  I knew mine were all red and puffy.  Sheesh.  I muscled through the exam and every time I felt complete composure he would ask me if I was doing alright, which was apparently code for "open the floodgates" and I would feel a few more drops slide sideways down my cheeks and into my ears.  (As if lying prostrate in a chair with two sets of hands over face weren't already bad enough... have you ever had salt water pooling in your ears?)
I drove home completely drained and thought to myself  "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?"
On the bright side, I'm pretty sure my new dentist thinks I'm a delicate flower and will treat me with the utmost care and concern every time I visit his office.


ellen said...

I have one brother that would run down the street when it was time to go to the dentist. You are a brave gal. At least you didn't pee your pants like someone else did yesterday.

LL said...

Just laughing and crying over here....
You know my mouth history. :(
I was in the dentist twice this week. And sat in my home asking for a blessing through tears as my whole family sat and watched.
If I die with ANY teeth in my mouth, I will feel blessed.
I'm so sorry, I honestly feel your pain.
And the whole "are you ok?" question, ALWAYS opens the flood gates when I'm weak.

The Mormon Monk said...

Thanks for making your pain my gain. Love, brother.

Darleen said...

Oh Jen, you made me laugh and cry! I feel your pain with respect to dentists! I broke half of a molar a couple months ago (completely gone) and it took me over 3 weeks to go to the dentist because I was so afraid of what they'd say. I even tried to convince myself that I could just survive with half a molar as long as I was not in severe pain. Is it just an age thing? I seriously don't remember being as afraid of dentists 30 years ago! Thanks for sharing!

Jo Jo said...

Hah! Molars are the pits! I wanted to know if you were cavity free? And your friends all make me smile ;-)

shirlgirl said...

Holy cow! I can't believe you are that traumatized to go to the dentist. Fortunately I've never had that problem, and I've had some serious teeth situations--breaking them in a fall, bone graft, implants, etc. Even going to the dentist for all of that I was pretty much o.k. I think you need to have someone drive you and they give you a sedative before you get worked on. You must have had a traumatic experience which you don't remember to cause all this angst for you. So sorry, Jen.
Sending love and hugs. Aunt Shirley

Janssen said...

This post just makes me totally love you.