We’re in the hunt for a new dentist. Ours is a very nice man, but it gets to the point where nice isn’t enough and the general concensus is that it’s time to move on. The state of Stephanie’s teeth after $4,000.00 worth of braces is sort of the clincher. We’ve been at him and at him to repair the mess he created, and he has tried, but not hard enough. Richard and I have lost confidence in him through our own experiences, too, so enough.
We lucked out with our first dentist when we were newly arrived in the city, but sadly he retired soon after. He had an utterly wicked sense of humour and trust me, giggles soon banish one’s dentist phobia. After that we started to rely on recommendations from others for all things dental and medical, but have learned that we’re much better off finding such people on our own by happy accident. So, out came the yellow pages the other day and we started going through the ads. Most were pretty generic, so our hunt was based purely on location … until one ad leaped out from the generic masses. “Catering to cowards since 1971”. A dental clinic with a sense of humour … and an understanding attitude towards phobics. We are so there!
And about that phobia. It started with the small town dentist I was dragged to as a kid. Preventative dentistry was not high on the list of priorities, so we went when we needed to, period. And I needed to go a lot, having been cursed with “soft” molars. Said dentist didn’t believe in using freezing for fillings at all, and used it very sparingly for big jobs. So every visit involved at least discomfort, but most involved real pain. The granddaddy of them all was a root canal done when I was fourteen or so. He stuck a bit of freezing in and then got so busy yacking to my dad about local politics that he forgot about me. By the time he came back, the freezing was wearing off, but he proceeded with the job anyway. I’ve always had a fairly high tolerance for pain, but there are limits for anyone … and that went way beyond mine. The bastard refused to refreeze the tooth and ended up leaving the job half done as I was “making such a fuss.” Which led to an abscessed tooth eventually, which he refused to treat again, and on the story went, until I finally had the tooth yanked out when I was twenty-one or so … by a much kinder dentist. Eventually the phobia lessened greatly, thanks to kinder dentists, but an experience with a so-called “specialist” brought it back big-time a few years ago. It was a big molar that had to come out as it had been worked on so many times that it was beyond saving, and my regular dentist didn’t want to tackle it. Much pain, blood, and an infection later, the verdict was that the extraction had gone badly because I was “tense” once he got going at the job. Really? Swap places, pal, and let’s see how calm you are when you get the same treatment. Oh, and my jaw hasn’t been right since. My bite always was a bit off, thanks to getting bashed in the mouth by a door at school just as a couple of teeth were coming in at the age of nine or so. But now it’s really off, and getting worse, thanks to teeth shifting because of my chewing technique since. My last filling was done by Dr. Nice, on whom we have just turned our backs. He couldn’t get the freezing to take so I did the steeling myself bit and told him to just get on with it as he said that it would just be a tiny filling, and not deep into the tooth. Guess he didn’t read the x-ray properly.
So, I’m now a coward again who needs to be catered to, and hopefully the ad for the new place is indicative of what we’ll find there. I might need heavy sedation on the day, but I’ll get there!