I’ve come to develop what I like to call late-onset dental anxiety. I spent countless hours at the dentist as a kid between my regular check-ups and my monthly orthodontic appointments, and not once did I ever have fear or distress. But now? I genuinely cannot think of a worse way to spend an hour (or two) that I’m also paying for. No offense to my dentist and hygienist friends, I respect and appreciate what you do, honestly. It’s just that, it’s like you’re equipped with a bunch of tiny torture weapons and I’m required twice a year to sit in your chamber while you both make my entire mouth bleed and waterboard me at the same time. And yet, I have no secrets to share.
Today my one-hour dentist appointment to get rid of one cavity and add a filling turned into two hours and three fillings, (which I’d like to point out was not actually my fault, but due to a faulty filling that led to cavity and decay. Cool cool cool cool.)
Needless to say, while being basically restrained in the chair for two hours, a lot of thoughts went through my mind.
*Sits in dental chair and hygienist offers laughing gas to calm my nerves*
Sign me up, sister.
Alright, let’s do this.
I hope the laughing gas kicks in before the needle goes in my gums.
There it is. Heyyy, nitrous oxide.
Ouch that pinches a little.
Okay, I can no longer feel the left side of my face.
Great, she just started and now I have to pee.
This is literally the worst sound in the world. And the worst taste. And the worst smell. And feeling. And sight. No wonder I hate the dentist so much. It engages all five senses in the worst possible way.
I can’t feel my tongue.
Don’t cough. Don’t cough. Don’t cough. Don’t cough.
Did she just say she has to add another filling?
Oh gosh, I really have to pee.
Okay, I’ve been in this chair for at least an hour, right?
Is that drool running down your neck? Cute, Hayley.
I wonder how much longer this is going to take.
I really. Really. REALLY have to pee.
She said to wave my hand if I was uncomfortable. Does that include bladder discomfort?
This hygienist has good eyelashes.
Okay, surely it’s been like three hours now.
Why did I drink coffee this morning?!
The laughing gas contraption on my face is now blocking one of my nostrils.
Focus on breathing through one nostril.
This has to be almost over, right?
I wonder if anyone over the age of five has ever peed in a dental chair before.
Remember how your pediatric dentist had TVs in the ceilings?
Why is that not a thing for adults? This would be much more enjoyable if I were distracted by Friday Night Lights.
And if I got to pick out a prize when I’m done.
My glasses are going to need a thorough cleaning.
I’m not sure my jaw will ever close again.
She’s got about 10 seconds to finish or my bladder is dunzo.
Dunzo. There’s a Laguna Beach throwback I haven’t thought of in a while.
Oh, thank you, Jesus.
Anyone else? Here’s to flossing every day and brushing with fluoride toothpaste so I never have to do this again.
-by Hayley Peck Westwood
My Life, Elevated