Anxiety and Going to the Dentist

Embarrassing Moments

anxiety and going to the dentist

Every so often we embarrass ourselves in a bone-head way. You have to embrace the moment and hope everyone around will forget about it. Soon.

I arrive at the dentist’s office, my heart races and my knuckles clench the steering wheel.

“Just a couple of cavities,” I tell myself, “A little drilling, a little filling and I’ll be on my way.”

Going to the dentist is like when your PE teacher in high school announced swimming was the next event.  Sheer dread floods my veins.

I flossed my teeth for a week before my appointment. The dentist won’t notice I neglected to floss the past six months.

I smile a toothy smile into the rear-view mirror and double-check my work.  Teeth…fine, breath…fine…the last check…debris in my nose.  The hygienist has a front row seat to my gaping nostrils. I push my nose up like a snout, all clear. I roll out of the car and reluctantly enter the dentist’s office.

“Hi…Tracy?” asks the receptionist behind the sea green desk.

“Yes.” I look at her, this is my chance to run.

“Just have a seat over there and I will let them know you are here,” she states. How can she be so calm while working in a dentist’s office with a drill going all day?  The shrill of the drill, ‘wheeeeee, ah, wheeeeee’ shoots me through the anxiety ceiling. I choose a seat by the door just in case I need to flee at the last minute.

“Tracy? You ready?” asks the dental hygienist in her blue smock. Her smile is perfect and white.

“Sure,” I answer.  Who is ever ready to be laid on their back in a chair with blood rushing to their head and a drill in their mouth?  The drill could hit a nerve a send me flying into the ceiling with the posters of fish and landscapes.

I sink down in the cushy leather chair and my feet fall sideways.  The usual posters; fish and landscapes cover the ceiling.  She hands me sunglasses to shield me from the bright orange light.  It is then I feel a wave of dread roll over my body; I forgot to pluck my chin hairs.  The stubs are illuminated in the orange light, blonde and a couple black.

After a lovely shot of a numbing agent, a new pink bib and a quick look to the exit sign, the work begins. Two heads bob above me and all I see is white masks, and two fish peeking out behind my dentists head. The dentist works quickly as my mouth is being sprayed, sucked, and drilled.

“Wheeeee….aahhh…wheeeee!” shrills the drill.  I look to the fish on the ceiling for help; but they don’t move. I am worried about my chin hairs…out there in the open…for everyone to see. The drill squeal splits my ear drum and for awhile I forget about my chin hairs.

They finish and I am handed a goodie bag filled with floss, toothpaste and a bright pink toothbrush.  A peace offering.

“Can we make an appointment for your next visit?  6 months?” asks a calm receptionist by the sea green desk.

I stare at her and pause; I don’t want to come back here, goodie bag or not. Then I visualize my teeth falling out when I am old because I wouldn’t go to the dentist.  “Shhur,” I answer while dribbling spit. I get back into my car, feeling much more relaxed and victorious.

I’ll go home and pluck my chin hairs.


About Tracy Heins 142 Articles
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