I made my semi-annual pilgrimage to the dentist yesterday, which I didn’t mind at all. But it wasn’t always so.
There was a point in my adult life during which I didn’t go to the dentist for SEVENTEEN YEARS! Why? Because I was scared. The last time I had gone to the dentist he hurt me, and fear kept me away for all those years.
During that time I would get the occasional bacterial infection from food that got lodged between my molars. It was a little painful, but I’d tough it our for a few days, taking Tylenol and not eating much.
But this one time, seventeen years later, I got an infection that was so bad, I figured there was nothing the dentist could do that was any worse than what I was going through.
So my wife (the Drakette) called her dentist, who happened to be a friend of ours and our son’s former assistant Scoutmaster. It was in the evening, and he said he’d open his office right then so he could see me. Terrified, I accompanied my wife to his office. He poked around a bit, as I expected he would, and then he said the words I dreaded hearing: “I’m going to numb you up a bit.” Oh, God, no! I thought. He’s going to give me a shot of Novocaine! With a NEEDLE!!! Aaugh!!
First he had me bite down gently on a stick which I assume had a mild numbing agent on it. Then, it was time. Time for the needle. God, even the word “needle” makes me break out in a cold sweat. But then the dentist did something I thought was odd. He started massaging my cheek. And he kept on doing that. And I didn’t even feel the needle go in. Not so much as a pin-prick!
IT WAS A REVELATION! AND A MIRACLE! He wasn’t hurting me!
As it turned out, my gums needed a LOT of work. Over the course of the next year I had the roots of all of my teeth scraped out, which is some pretty serious stuff. I had three wisdom teeth extracted, one at a time. And at no time did my new dentist ever hurt me. He got my whole mouth healthy again, and now I don’t mind seeing him at all.
Funny thing, though. After those seventeen years, I didn’t have a single cavity!