Some of you may know this about me: I hate the dentist.
Okay, that’s not exactly right. I don’t hate hate the dentist. For the most part, I like going to get cleanings done. But a check up could very easily lead to something more serious than a cleaning. Thus, any trip to the dentist is filled with some anxiety.
In June or July, once I got on new insurance that has some dental coverage, I decided to go to the dentist. I got a recommendation from one of my friends in the office for a guy in just south of Dupont. Okay, so Dupont is a little of the way for my Capitol Hill existence. Also troubling to me and adding to my stress levels, was the proximity of the dentist’s office to my old office. Because the last thing I need on a jaunt to the dentist is a run in with my former boss.
But I fully subscribe to the whole Be True To Your Teeth Or They’ll Be False To You thing (seriously, my mother must have said that to me before and after each dentist appointment as a child, as well as the days and weeks leading up to a visit. And no, this did not soothe my concerns. But it did make me realize that I never wanted to have the dental drama my mother had to endure.) And after not seeing a dentist for two and a half years, I needed a cleaning desperately.
So I went.
First appointment was great. Got a cleaning. The hygienist was nice and understood, without me saying anything, that I needed her to, you know, talk about anything in order to distract me. Which she did. And I appreciated it.
Then the doctor came in. I mention the real reason why I’m there.
Okay, so I know I just laid down some My Mother Always Said bullshit and talked about my need for a cleaning. But the true reason why I made the appointment was that I had a tiny chip in two of my front-view teeth. They were annoying, and I worried that without intervention, the chips could turn into cracks, which would turn into the need for root canal, which would turn into tears. Plus, let’s face it – I’m vein. It was noticeable, even if just to me. And not cute at all.
Anyway, i explain this to the doctor. He says that it’s an easy fix but that he doesn’t have time to deal with it right now. Make another appointment and we’ll deal with it then. “Oh,” he continues, “and we can deal with this tooth that needs to have the filling replaced.”
Okay, this is exactly the thing that I did not want to hear. It’s the phrase that I have successfully avoided for like 15-plus years or something. I was crestfallen. And already anxious. But the dentist had me right where he wanted me. I wanted to have those chips dealt with. And he wouldn’t deal with that unless and until I dealt with the filling replacement.
Damn you, vanity!
I head out to the front desk to pay, and the very sweet receptionist asks me if I want to make the appointment for the filling.
“What?! Now?! Um, no. I can’t do that. I can’t do that now. I can’t deal with this now.”
She smiled and said that was fine. She would just send me a postcard when my next cleaning was and told me that I could call any time to make an appointment for the filling.
I left. I felt okay about the place, the dentist, and the overall experience. But I was SO not ready to even consider making another appointment. I figured, I’d lived with the two busted teeth for this long. What was another several years anyway?
Until September. Something about September sparked me into action. Maybe it was that my busted teeth grazed up against each other one too many times, sending shivers down my spine and a sickness straight to my stomach. What ever it was, I made an appointment.
How bad could it be, really? I mean, they seemed nice. And I AM a grown up after all, right? I can handle it.
Or can I?…