Dental Phobia

It's a real phobia, people, don't laugh with your perfectly white and flossed teeth. Lots and lots of Web sites dedicate themselves to helping people overcome dental phobia, but the problem is that they are all implicitly trying to get you to VISIT the dentist.

I used to work at Northwestern University Dental School as a slave to 2 of the Deans there before they closed the school to spend money on something like football. The dental students were, on the whole, very nice and smart. For practice, they worked on indigent patients who had no health insurance and could not afford dental care on their own. Here is a horror story about a patient. If you suffer from dentaphobiaousness, do not read on.

Students did routine cleaning as well as more involved techniques like extractions and root canals. They were assigned certain stations to work in, sort of like cubicles with their own machines and equipment. One of the students forgot to clean the machine between appointments and when he tried to spray water into his patient's mouth, blood from the previous client flooded into the second patient's mouth. They had to do an AIDS test and everything. What would that be like to be lying backwards in a chair and feel something warm and coppery rush into your throat and realize it was blood and then worse, it wasn't yours?

But I've always feared dentists, in part because the tap water we used to drink when we lived in Illinois didn't have fluoride and my teeth were effected by it. I think I had like 6 cavities when I was eight years old. As an adult, I've only had one filling, a cheap one that fell out last year (still haven't been to the dentist to have it replaced), but I'm always afraid I"ll go and she or he will say, It's over. We're going to have to take them all out. They'll give me George Washington wooden dentures that clack together when I talk.

One of the first days we were in Mexico, I bit down on a piece of steak and a piece of my back tooth came off. Later in the trip, I ate a piece of toffee and the rest of the filling for that broken tooth also fell out. I'm lucky that it didn't expose a nerve. Now I just have a hole in my head. Every time I chew on that side, the food get stuck in there like paste. I can't stop touching the hole with the tip of my tongue. Okay, so I finally made an appointment for Thursday. Dr. Henry. I probably shouldn't tell him I have a cat with the same name. I did mention to him that I'm scared of dentists. He didn't seem to mind. As a profession, dentists have high suicide rates, but apparently not as high as vets as you can tell from
this recent BBC news article.


Karin said…
I hope your tooth is okay after eating a fairly elaborate meal last night.

Men with beards claim the food that gets stuck in them is meant to be eaten later as a snack. You could say the same about the hole in your tooth.