Teeth and trust

Written by hootenannie on August 9th, 2010

My cavities are spreading like kudzu in Alabama – this we’ve discussed.

Last week, I went back for round 2 with the dentist – a dentist, I might mention, whose last name rhymes with “feral.”  Actually, that’s how you pronounce it, too – “feral.”  Spelled a bit differently, but enough to put me on edge, right?

To her credit, this woman is wonderful, and lauded by D.D.S. folk nationwide.  Highly acclaimed.  Passionate about what she does, eager to always be learning more about her field, pushing back the horizons of dentistry one mouth at a time.  I trust her – maybe not with my life (after all, we just met), but definitely with my teeth.

Still though.  Feral.  Give this woman a drill, and BAM.  Terror, struck in my heart like a rattlesnake bite.

So when I climbed into The Chair last Thursday, I was already quaking in my cowgirl boots.  I hate hate hate a million times hate going to the dentist – especially when it involves cavities.

Be cool, I told myself.  It’s just the dentist.  People go every day.  You will live.

YOU WILL LIVE.  [James Earl Jones said that one.]

But as this woman drilled nothing short of a network of prairie dog tunnels in my molars, I was so stressed out that I couldn’t stop shaking.  My hands, my legs – everything was shaking.  When my teeth started chattering, she had to stop – and as soon as I realized that I was so out of control that the dentist could no longer do her job, I started to cry.


Sneaking from the corners of my eyes, rolling out from behind the awesome dentist sunglasses and into my ears.

The assistant patted my shoulder, and then patted my head, and then began full on stroking my hair.  GAH!  How horrifying is it that I needed PHYSICAL REASSURANCE that I was okay – and it was pathetically obvious??

“Are you okay?” she gently asked.

“Yeah,” I sniffled.  “I’m a grown-ass lady.”

I told the dental assistant that I’m a grown-ass lady.  With tears running down my cheeks.

Then the dentist herself stepped in.  She spoke comforting, reassuring words, and then asked if I thought I could trust them.

It’s hard to trust someone who has the potential to hurt you.

But I think that’s the point, right?  Trust doesn’t mean a thing if the other person is completely safe.

It’s scary.  But it doesn’t mean that it’s not worth doing.

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