Tuesday, January 2, 2018


Confession: I. HATE. THE. DENTIST.

No, I mean really hate it. As in DESPISE. ABHOR.

I think it's because I'm afraid.

I trace my fear of the dentist back to Dr. Johnson. We went to him when I was a little girl. He had a treasure basket with plaster of paris figurines that you could bring home and paint. I loved those. But to get to the treasure chest, you had to survive his antiseptic smelling hands. And the fact that he filled cavities without much novocaine. And it hurt. Like crazy.

After that was Dr. Moore. A pediatric dentist. Who made us chew these vile tasting pink tablets.

When I graduated from college, I pretty much vowed I was never going to the dentist again. And I didn't, for about five years. Then I got a toothache. And had to start again. And I actually found a dentist I loved.

Dr. Schindler was about my age. She had two dogs, bearded collies, that were trained therapy dogs and came with her to the office every day. She understood that I was terrified. For twenty-five years, we laughed about my white-knuckle experiences in her chair. We went through her experiences with breast cancer, marriage and divorce. And my adoption and life with the boys. Both of our aging parents.

And then she retired. Unexpectedly. Her mother's health was failing and she moved to Idaho.

I was devastated.

When it came time for my next appointment, I tried making an appointment with the person who had taken over her practice. And was so unimpressed with the person who answered the phone that I decided to find another dentist. I checked the neighborhood website and chose a dentist close to my house. The practice came highly rated and highly recommended.

And I hate it.

Today my appointment was at 7:30. I make the appointments early to get them over with. Get up. Brush my teeth. Go. And in an hour it's over.

Today I had a nice visit with the hygienist. She's from Saint Louis. Moved here two years ago.  Lives with her boyfriend who is also from Saint Louis, but who she met online after she moved to Denver. Went home for a week for Christmas. Drove so she could take her dog.

And then the dentist came in. She was very nice. Told me my teeth looked fine. But that I had a few old fillings and crowns that would need to be replaced soon. She wanted to make a plan.

I wanted to know if it was absolutely necessary.


And how much it would cost.

She didn't know.

She wanted me to come back so we could work up a plan.

I asked again if it was necessary.

She said no, that I could wait until something started to hurt, or until I had problems.

I told her that that was what I was going to do.

She looked a little surprised.

I don't think she is used to people waiting until they have problems.

I don't care.

I hate the dentist.

And I am not going back, until I absolutely have to.

1 comment:

Ramona said...

I love this post, but wish your former dentist hadn't moved away. She sounds awesome! Happy New Year, Carol, and here's to a year free of dental issues.