Dental Chair Confessions

Leslie, you may want to stop reading now. Okay, so I haven’t been to the dentist in quite a while. So long in fact, that I could not remember my last dentist’s name, only that he ran off with one of his dental assistants, leaving his lovely wife and young children and scandalizing the town. Anyway, the reasons I haven’t been to the dentist are: 1. I’m a big chicken; 2. I hate going to the dentist (see #1); 3. I have a very sensitive gag reflex since I had Matthew, and that makes it difficult to have dental work done.

But I decided to find a local dentist and have my teeth checked out. I went in bright and early this morning and immediately confessed to the dentist all my dental sins. They just came pouring out: I don’t floss regularly. I drink lots of carbonated, caffeinated beverages. I haven’t been to a dentist in a long time. She looked at me reassuringly and told me it would be alright. This was not as reassuring as I would have liked due to the face shield she was wearing at the time. What’s the deal with the facial equipment? I felt like she was preparing to go into a haz-mat situation. Surely, it can’t be that bad!

I don’t know what it is about a dental chair, but I have no problem confessing dental transgressions and promising to do better. Maybe it’s because I know the dentist will take one look in my mouth and know if I lie about flossing. After all, she sees teeth everyday and you just can’t hide tartar buildup and cavities. So she’d know immediately if I lied. Therefore, I must confess. (Or maybe it’s because the hygienist is making notes in my file and I imagine that it’s stuff like ‘terrible brushing technique’ or ‘really needs a dental intervention’ or ‘expect dentures by next year’ and that makes me nervous. What’s she writing in my file anyway?)

Since I hadn’t been to the dentist in quite a while, I had to do panoramic x-rays. This dentist did bite wing panoramic x-rays, which just about killed me with the sensitive gag reflex. I was miserable even before the first picture. The hygienist then told me to hold out my hand and she put a tiny amount of salt on my palm and told me to put the salt on my tongue; it would help the gag reflex. What do you know – she was right. I was able to get through the rest of the bite wing x-rays with little discomfort. Amazing. She said it had something to do with the taste buds – I’m not quite sure how it works, but it did.

Fortunately, my teeth were in pretty good shape and I had no major problems. I even got a compliment on my brushing technique. I have a new resolve to floss daily so that next time when I sit in the dentist’s chair, I don’t have to make as many dental confessions.

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One Response

  1. Melissa,

    Don’t feel bad. I see patients with your same fears and situation daily. Everyone comes in scared, ashamed, embarassed you name it, but whatever shape your mouth is in we’ve seen 100 times worse. Some hygienists thrive off making the patient feel terrible about the way they take care of their mouth. We don’t do that. Instead we try educate the patient when needed. I have a little confession to make—I don’t floss everyday either. I try, but when I was pregnant I was so sick that brushing my teeth sent me over the edge, therefore I pretty much gave up on flossing. Since Grant was born I am trying to get back into the habit.

    As for the face shield, you would wear one to if you new what I knew!

    I am glad your appointment went well. We can’t wait to see you guys!

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