Let me go on the record by saying that I do not like dentists.
I said it.
No offense if you are one. Or are married to one. Or are dating one. Or are stalking one. But they happen to scare the dickens out of me.
I guess it doesn’t help that I gave a gag reflex. So as soon as they start messing around with my molars I’m starting to heave and then they have to remove their latex covered fingers from my mouth and wait until I calm down.
“You okay?” they’ll always ask as I practically convulse in the leaned back seat.
DO I LOOK OKAY?
This is what I always want to snap. But then I glance at the sinister tools that are spread out on the tray and think against it. “I just…have a gag reflex…”
I also have panic attacks when I see a dentist. Yes, the breathing into the paper bag kind. This is why I need to be knocked out when I see the dentist. And actually, I think they appreciate it too. They’re probably all, “Praise flossing, she’s out. I don’t have to worry about her gagging every two seconds.”
The good news was that when I saw the dentist on Monday, it wasn’t for me.
It was for my kids.
“Remember what you say when the dentist asks about flossing,” I said to Tommy as we parked in front of the dentist’s office.
“That I do it every night,” Tommy said and gave me a wide grin.
Okay, telling a kid to lie is wrong. But if you don’t then the dentist gives you a lengthy lecture on the importance of flossing. And then they’ll show you how to floss as if you weren’t quite sure what to do with the waxy string. It’s annoying. And, you know, Tommy wasn’t exactly lying. He does floss at least twice per week. Granted he usually leaves the floss between his teeth and pretends he’s growing string from his mouth. But still.
We headed into the office and I nearly passed out from the dentist smell. Still, I had to pretend like I loved the dentist because I don’t want my kids being afraid of them. So I plastered a smile on my face as I filled out the paperwork and pretended like I was at Target.
“Do you think you have a cavity?” I heard Tommy saying to another little boy in the play area.
I looked up from my papers with a start.
“Because if you do, they give you a shot,” Tommy continued.
The little boy’s mother glanced up from her cell phone. She had long nails and I was worried that she’d claw Tommy. So I went, “Tommy. Come here!”
He came over. “Yes?”
“Tommy, you can’t go around saying the s-word,” I explained. “It scares people.”
Tommy frowned. “S-word?” He cocked his head to the side. He obviously had no idea what I was talking about.
“Shot,” I whispered but the frightened little boy heard and gasped. He buried his face into his Long Nailed Mother’s waist. She scowled at me and I swear, waved a sharp nail in my direction as a warning.
“I was being honest,” Tommy said, confused.
“Yes, I know. But in this situation, we don’t talk about it. Okay?”
Tommy shrugged. “Okay.”
We were called back a few minutes later. Tommy was led back into a bigger room while Natalie and I were ushered into a smaller one for smaller kids.
“I don’t YIKE this,” Natalie told me as we settled down in the chair.
“It’s okay. Remember what we talked about? The dentist is going to look at your teeth,” I said as cheerfully as I could muster. I was starting to feel faint from looking at the dentist chair and the gigantic light that rests overhead.
“Are you going to be brave?” I asked Natalie.
“Yes,” Natalie said but then as soon as the dentist walked in, she burst into tears.
“NO THANKS!” she bellowed, practically climbing up to the top of my head. “NO THANKS!” Her knee knocked me in the cheek. I imagine we must’ve looked a sight: Natalie practically on my head and me trying desperately to get her off.
“Hi Natalie,” the dentist said, glancing at her chart.
Great. That was my ear. It immediately started ringing.
“Can I just look at your pretty teeth?” the dentist continued. He was acting as though nothing was amiss. A nearly three-year-old wasn’t on top of its mother’s head. Lalala.
“Natalie,” I said as she tugged on my ponytail. “Natalie, you have to let the nice dentist check your teeth.” I managed to grab her leg and pull her down. A part of me wanted to say, “I understand COMPLETELY, sweetheart. Dentists are evil and scary and they have sharp THINGS that they want to put in your mouth!”
The dentist managed to pry her mouth open. Natalie only bit him once.
Her teeth were good. No cavities.
“See? All done,” the dentist said.
Natalie gave him an evil look.
“Would you like to pick out a toy for being….would you like to pick out a toy?” the dentist said kindly. I know he was about to say, “for being good,” but after being bit and screamed at, it really wasn’t the case.
Natalie swiped a plastic fish from the bin. “Thanks,” she said. “Bye bye,” she added pointedly.
Then we had to walk back to where Tommy was.
More good news.
No cavities. But as the dentist always tells me, Tommy’s mouth is delayed so he loses his baby teeth later. He’s only lost ONE so far and he’s eight. And the dentist always says, “You better start saving, he’ll definitely need braces.” He says this jokingly, which I find to be sick and cruel because HELLO? Has he seen the cost of braces? Does he know how much I like to shop? Well, probably not. But still, joking about saving lots of money is not an appropriate subject matter.
“And do you floss?” the dentist said before Tommy got off the chair.
I shot Tommy a Look.
“Yup,” Tommy said, nodding.
“Good job. Flossing is important, you know,” the dentist said.
“Mommy doesn’t floss,” Tommy said sweetly. It was his turn to toss me a Look. Only his read, that’s what you get for having me lie. And I shot him a look back that said, technically it wasn’t a lie, you do floss a few times a week!
“Mommy,” the dentist said, wagging his finger reproachfully at me. “Don’t you know the importance of flossing?” And then he proceeded to tell me.
So you see?
I don’t like dentists.