I’m going to have to vent for a minute, since I still feel shaky and as though I’m going to be sick after just getting back from the dentist. For most people those visits probably aren’t pleasant, but they’re a necessary evil…unless you have a crippling phobia of Evil Bastards, I mean dentists.
Backtracking for history:
When I was a kid we lived in a small town in Northern California, where there was one dentist. On hindsight I think he was either a genuine sadist, completely incompetent, or (more likely) an alcoholic. If he remembered to give you Novocaine he shoved the needle halfway through your jawbone. If he had to drill a cavity, he wandered…into gums, tongues, once his own finger. I shit you not, my friends – this was one sorry excuse for a dental care professional and my sisters and I are all terrified of going to the dentist. I also have a terrible fear of needles which I attribute directly to him.
I learned to deal with it as an adult, mainly because I was then living in Los Angeles and had access to practices where they gave you valium and used sedation. Not fun, but I could do it.
And then I moved to the UK and it all fell apart. Here you’re treated like some whiny baby, a wussie who can’t handle a filling or two without painkillers. Always double-booking appointments, they rush you through everything and barely sterilise the hammers they use to bash you with. I admit to slightly exaggerating there. So, I’ve been going without since we moved here, which seemed like an entirely sensible plan until I was eating toffee and cracked a lower tooth loose from the bone. I’ve been living with said aching, wobbly tooth for what, four years? Not fun, and I need it taken care of now.
So, I explain everything to the dentists’ office near us which supposedly sees private patients as well as no-frills NHS ones. We don’t have much money but I would pay anything to just have a bit of nitrous. I’ve been sick since yesterday when I made the appointment. And I see…not the smiling, gentle dentist that I’d hoped for, but a very brusque lady who has no patience for people who are babies. She didn’t like me.
I asked about the private services that I’d been promised, I said I could do it but I needed something to help. She looked at me as though I had just admitted to voting Tory and being an avid foxhunter. In a flash I’m no longer a semi-redneck from California, but some elitist toff with my pointy nose in the air, sneering at NHS dentistry. Now she really hates me, and she’s starting to look a bit like Laurence Olivier in the movie Marathon Man. I don’t know if it’s safe or not, but I’ll say anything she wants at this point.
This is me
And so I left. And that was my day. And dentists suck. :(