I just got back from the dentist. I hadn't been there for over a year, and was pleasantly surprised this past Tuesday to hear that I didn't have any cavities. However, I had two fillings that needed to be replaced, and we scheduled the appointment for today.
I have a long history with nerve-wracking dentist visits. Family lore has it that when I was around 6, I asked Dr. Rossi if he would shut the door so my mom in the waiting room wouldn't hear me cry. He was sort of the "let's see if we can do this without Novocaine", but not always; I remember that I got poked plenty.
It seemed like I usually had cavities when I'd go to the dentist, but I suppose I have fewer teeth than there were visits, so that can't be true. When I was a freshman in college, I was persuaded to be the state boards patient of someone working in Dr. Rossi's office. I agreed because I would get several fillings done for free, and she was a good dentist.
After that, the anxiety sort of snowballed. I remember one visit where I actually (and involuntarily) kicked the dentist's elbow because he hit a nerve while drilling. Then the nice dentist at the health center at school introduced me to the benefits of gas and Valium.
I have to get a ride home, but that combination works really well. I still get a little nervous, but by and large I'm just there. I'm able to be still, think about other things and get through it.
On the up side, my teeth are straight and I don't have any signs of gum disease. And hopefully future trips to the dentist will entail only the replacement of work already done, like the fillings I had replaced today. And one more up shot - one is a white filling - it's like I got a new tooth!