I am looking for an alternative to going to the dentist. Maybe a Witch Doctor or a Monk who specializes in tooth healing. I will wait while you all gather the information I need… Please and thank you in advance.
I have had a toothache for about a month now, on and off. It’s like a nagging wife that won’t stop bitching about taking out the garbage (although, the garbage really does need to go out). It has been a fickle wench and it will allow me to go two or three days without issue and then BAM!!! I take a drink of ice cold water and a fierce pain shoots up my jaw. So I really should go see my dentist. But I really really don’t want too.
The dentist never bothered me as a kid. I guess it’s because I just assumed the dentist knew what he was doing and I never realized how dangerous all those sharp objects floating around in my mouth really were. I had full trust in the dentist and I just went with it. I also always got a cool sticker and a bag full of free shit that ended up getting buried in a drawer somewhere. Then I grew up into an adult and all of a sudden, I was very aware of just how sharp those tools were. It isn’t just that though; going to the dentist as an adult just carries so much angst.
For me, a routine cleaning almost always ends with some kind of bad news or silent judgment from my dentist.. And the dental hygienist.. And the front desk staff.
The routine cleaning isn’t so bad. I mean, there is someone who is literally power washing the inside of my mouth. They go in and scrub away all the nasty stuff my toothbrush misses. When finished, my mouth feels like it just won first place at a cleaning contest. But during this cleaning, the hygienist stops midway through flossing and says, “Your gums are so sensitive. You haven’t been flossing. You know, Rebecca, you really should be flossing every day and after each meal. It is the only way to achieve perfect oral health.” Of course I gasp in mock horror and defend myself…
“Of course I floss. I don’t floss after every meal, but I floss once a day!” This is complete bullshit. In fact, before I go in for my routine cleaning, I brush my teeth for twenty minutes going over every single part of every single tooth. I then, frantically, floss for another twenty minutes hoping to somehow make up for a years’ worth of total neglect. To be fair, I floss when I have a popcorn kernel stuck in between two teeth, and I floss when I feel like I owe it to myself to be a better person. So I probably floss at least a dozen times a year. This is a win in my book.
After the cleaning, it is off to see the judge and juror of your dental health. Unless you first need x-rays taken. Don’t even get me started on x-rays. Don’t tell me to sit still and not move a muscle when this plastic piece from hell is slashing the inside of my mouth for thirty seconds! By the time x-rays are over, the roof of my mouth and the virgin-like skin under my tongue look like I have been chewing on shards of glass.
So my dentist is a nice guy… He has tiny hands so that’s a plus. But once I am in his chair, I know it is game on. I listen as he calmly, yet sternly, lectures me on waiting so long in between visits and not taking my flossing seriously. I nod and shake my head to show how ashamed I am of myself. The last visit ended in a root canal which was terrifying to say the least. Like I said, the sharp objects that are moving a million miles per hour inside my mouth send horrific images of butchery through my mind. And of course he is talking to me and asking me questions. Why? Why do they ask questions when my mouth is propped open and their hands are inside my mouth?? All I can do is awkwardly nod or shake my head but then I am told to hold still…
Uuuugghhhh. So then there is the hygienist with the little suction tube that is supposed to suck up any access fluid/saliva so that I don’t choke to death while the dentist is sawing/chipping away at my gum. And I swear she never does a good enough job. I think her hand might get tired but IDGAF about her hand!! This is my LIFE lady! You control whether or not I drown today so get it together!
Which leads me to the biggest reason I hate going to the dentist. I suffer from what’s called laryngeal spasms. Basically, my entire throat closes up and constricts so that I have ZERO air flow coming in. I have no control over these spasms and all I can do is wait for them to pass and let me tell you that it is the longest 60 seconds (sometimes longer) of my life. The thing about these spasms is that they are usually triggered by some real dumb shit. Like if I take a sip of water too fast, my larynx decides today is not my day and closes up on me. Or if I’m laughing and inhale too quickly, my larynx is all “Fuck you” and it closes. Because clearly, I can’t have a good time with friends. One time, I sneezed in the shower and accidentally took in a drop of water so my larynx gut punched me and had me stumbling out of the shower stark naked, tearing my way into the bedroom, grasping at my very confused husband, all while my dog barked in sheer terror while I slowly slipped from reality.
So while I am in the dentist’s chair, and the chair has been lifted to a position that has me almost literally upside down, I am incredibly vulnerable. And my life literally depends on the dental hygienist making sure that no fluid drips down the back of my throat since I can’t swallow. When I mention these spasms before each visit and explain how severe they actually are, I get the head nod and a belittling coddle from the hygienist who tells me it will all be alright.
Needless to say, while my dentist is being all Chatty Cathy and making small talk with me and the hygienist, my eyes are all panicky as I look from him to her and from her to him the entire time they are in my mouth.
And when the dental hygienists hand gets a little lax on that suction tube, I tap her arm and give her my most serious death glare.
When I am all finished, I get a nice pat on the shoulder, a reminder to floss more, and a gigantic bill at the front desk. I inevitably always leave my dentist feeling violated and numb (in more ways than one) and more than slightly resentful.
Soooo… About that Witch Doctor… Because my tooth really hurts.