Be The Filling.
In many ways, I'm an adult. I am married. I have a job. I am responsible (to a certain extent) and I make the bed without being asked. This makes me a grown up, I think.
However, I'm scared of the dentist, and the idea of going for something as simple as a routine cleaning makes me tremble like a child.
I have good reason, though. My family has good looking teeth, but they not the best, structurally. Our teeth are exceptionally sensitive, and we require more novocaine than your average dental patient. As a kid, I spent some time in the dentist's chair having cavities filled (so did my brother and sister) and I wore braces for three years in middle school. As an adult, I've had my share of weird little toofus problems - like grinding down my molars while I sleep and these pesky sensitive spots at the base of a few of my front teeth.
It's these sensitive spots that cause me the most trouble. About ten years ago, my dentist decided that he needed to cap the base of my sensitive teeth. "No, I don't want that," I thought. But becuse I was in Milgram Mode, I caved and let the dentist do his thing. He shaved off a bit of the very bottoms (near the gumline) of four of my teeth and put a ceramic filling over them. Sensitivity issues? Solved. But the procedure left me sore and bleeding for days.
And, three years later, one of the ceramic fillings popped off, exposing that vulnerable nervy area. I had a different dentist, and his repair included not using enough novocaine, accidentally drilling my lip, and earning many bloody cotton balls.
Two and a half years after that, this shoddy workmanship cracked off again. Another dentist took a literal stab at it, mangling my gums and leaving aching teeth and bruises on the side of my face. Bastard dentist.
So when this God forsaken filling popped off yet again Monday morning, I was filled with panic. "Oh, for crying out loud." The exposed spot wasn't so painful, but past experience told me that repairing it would be a nightmare.
Without letting my brain reach maximum nervousness, I called a new local dentist and made an appointment. "Tomorrow morning? Great, thank you." Pause. "Um, is Dr. B nice? I'm nervous."
The receptionist laughed. "She's very nice. We have plenty of nervous patients, and they all like her a lot."
"Awesome. See you at 8."
I showed up to the small practice, nerves of all kinds exposed, and Dr. B greeted me at the door.
"Hi, are you Kerri?"
"Yes. You knew it was me?"
She consulted my chart. "They said you were nervous. You look a little nervous." She smiled and closed the folder. "Nothing to worry about. This is going to be just fine."
Faithful Readers, let me tell you that I sent a thank you note to the dentist this morning because she was awesome. Aside from being this friendly looking woman with an easy smile, she took great pains to make sure I wasn't in any pain. She made sure I was novocained to the fullest extent so I wouldn't feel any discomfort at all. She told me what she was going to do before she did it, and she advised me to close my eyes when the instruments in play weren't the friendliest-looking. (I told you I was a big ol' baby.) She also had a DVD player mounted above the chair, and using headphones to listen, I watched two episodes of The Office while she fixed my tooth. I know this sounds melodramatic but I can't properly explain how scared of the dentist I am, and how much this particular experience didn't suck.
After it was over, she smiled at me. "I hope that wasn't too bad. Are you feeling okay?"
"It wathn't bad at aw. Fank you," I said, trying to look grown up, but it was hard with the drool and one side of my mouth completely uncooperative. I smiled a lopsided, pathetic smile, but I meant it. And when I got in the car, I called Chris.
"Chrith! The dentith wath awefum. It didn't huht at aww. I aweady scheduwed a cweaning."