When I was a kid, I was not bothered by the skeletons in my closet nor the monsters under my bed. I didn’t have creepy neighbours either.
Although I did have a fear of horror movies where scary clowns kidnap children and eat them (I still do now and as an adult, I hate / despise / abhor / detest clowns!). I don’t like attending funerals either because I remember attending one for my grandmother on my mother’s side and at a glance of the pasty-white still body in the coffin, I couldn’t sleep that night.
But there was one thing that freaked me out more than any monster…
And it was …
There was nothing my parents could do to alleviate my fears, not even to bribe me with ice cream after a traumatic session at the clinic. Even as an adult now, I still don’t relish the thought of going to the dentist. Not even for the basic cleaning or regular check-up. I didn’t like the intrusion that ensued when you take your place at the chair and open your mouth for the probing to begin. I didn’t like the pain that occurred when the dentist found something lacking in your mouth. It could be a cavity, a chipped tooth or that one of your milk teeth is shaking and it’s time for it to come off.
That was my worst nightmare ever!
But that’s not the whole deal. Here, I’ll give you a little back story to why I confirmed my resentment of seeing the dentist.
In my teens, I was advised to get braces fixed up because of a few crooked teeth. I never thought that the alignment of your chompers was such a big deal in leaving an impression with others. Braces was indeed one of the memories I chose to forget as I got older because of the bitter taste it left on my tongue. It was a few years of pain and torture, of ulcers and cuts on tongues, of difficulties in eating and the inability to brush properly because of the ridiculous stubs glued to your teeth! As a result, there were bits and bobs of morsels probably stuck somewhere in the depths of my mouth out of reach of my toothbrush or toothpicks. Even using dental floss was a chore because each time I brought it closer to the gaps of my teeth, the braces’ wire would snap the thread in two! Ooh, the frustration of maintaining the health and cleanliness of my teeth was driving me up the wall!
Naturally, that’s what happens when you have braces. However, the straw that broke the camel’s back was the orthodontist whom I had to see throughout my years with braces. He wasn’t a nice man. He wasn’t a gentle man. He wasn’t a pleasant man. Nosirree! Not one bit. Not at all. He was judgmental, often passing snide remarks about the practice of his patients when it came to cleaning their teeth. Let’s just say it was a very unpleasant experience and he was often rough when it came to the handling of braces and the oral probing of his patients. I was relieved when a different orthodontist took over from him but by then, I had lost all hope that a dentist can ever be nice.
A few years back, I had a root canal done on one of the back molars. Needless to say, it was yet another harrowing experience with yet another dental surgeon who was not gentle with his ways. His methods included yanking and pulling at your teeth without so much of a thread of care of how much pain his patient was in. It was horrible. Horrible and terrible.
And then a couple of days ago, I had an appointment with the dentist for a root canal. Yes, it was another one but this time, however, it was with a dentist and a surgeon who were both nice and gentle and soft-spoken, very much unlike the dentists during my childhood days. So maybe, just maybe there is a dentist out there who isn’t a monster after all.