So there I am, numb up to my eyebrows, two fillings getting removed, two fractured teeth being filled in (apparently a second one fractured between my cleaning and the appointment)… some bizarre torture device made of metal bands and plastic inhibiting my breathing by completely covering my mouth… They also put sunglasses on me for some reason. (#2 says, there is a filling compound and they use special light to make it set. That’s all I know. Please don’t tell us more in the comments.)
To my right, the dentist. To my left, the dental assistant. Staring down at me, a woman who was not introduced to me, but from the conversation I assume she is a dentist-in-training.
The dentist-in-training’s mom shows up, so the DIT leaves.
The dentist says to the assistant, how nice.
You know, my mom never was able to see the practice. I started in February, then my husband started in March, and we were going to have a grand opening that summer, but by May my mom had passed on.
Then the dentist and the dental assistant discussed heart disease and something ridiculous that’s related. Oh, sleep apnea. Doctors need to educate people more about these things. And the dentist asked the dental assistant if her mom had sleep apnea. The dental assistant said yes. Pause. Of course, she was also a smoker. Then they talk about all their siblings with heart disease, and their bad habits.
So the dentist starts up again. Yep, my mom died before getting to see the practice.
Of course, it was 20 years since I lost my dad.
And 35 years since my brother died.
And of course, now my husband [who is drilling on some precious-as-a-button little girl who had been the topic of previous conversation over in the next booth] is recovering from leukemia.
It seems like everybody dies. Everybody who has ever loved me dies.
Maybe I’m not supposed to be loved.
Dental assistant: Oh, I’m sure that’s not it.
Me (thinks): Going to my happy place…
I’d been on the fence about switching dentists. This one up-sells too much. But I’m pretty sure it is finally time to change. I’ve got a recommendation and in 6 months I’ll make the switch. I’m hoping for a dentist that will be quiet or talk about teeth while (s)he’s filling me in, if I need fillings at all, which I hope I don’t. Less death.
What’s the WEIRDEST thing that ever happened to you at the dentist (or similar situation)?
August 2, 2011 at 5:01 am
Haha! That’s a much weirder conversation than last time I was at the dentist.
Except last time I went, I needed two fillings, and was in the chair for 2 hours or so, and judging by the conversation, it was the dentist’s first day working for the dental practice, and the dental assistant had never worked in that particular room of the clinic before, so there was lots of confusion over which sorts of pain dullers and tools there were available in the room…
August 2, 2011 at 5:51 am
August 2, 2011 at 7:23 am
I remember getting a dental implant with only local anesthesia. It wasn’t necessarily horrible conversation, but I had a tough time listening to the play by play. Example: “Wow – that’s more blood than I expected… Suction, please…” and “his jaw bone looks a little uneven here, so we need to sand it down….”
None of it was bad, but I made the mistake of listening. And perhaps not getting enough anesthesia…
August 2, 2011 at 8:13 am
August 2, 2011 at 8:39 am
Oh dear. I don’t think I have any such stories (yet). My dentist is a mom twice over via IVF so we’ve got the whole infertility thing in common, and now we (happily) talk about kids. One of her assistants, who is a first-generation immigrant with older family he is caring for, did once tell me a rather long and brutal story about losing his home (foreclosure) and moving cross country and starting again and what a hassle it was but, while it may have been a bit TMI, it was at least a “good” story (relatively happy or at least, upbeat ending), heck, I asked, and he was talking to me (not someone else ‘around’ me).
August 2, 2011 at 8:41 am
Yeah, it’s kind of hard to talk when you’re getting fillings…
August 2, 2011 at 9:17 am
They used to say that Dentists had the highest suicide rate around for a while. When I asked my dentist about it, he told me that this was because a lot of dentists were actually med school flunkies…so despite their high pay, they felt like losers for not being good enough to be doctors. My dentist went to dental school straight off the bat, so he claims that he’s happy because he wanted to be a dentist from the get go.
August 2, 2011 at 9:22 am
Interesting… and a bit scary!
August 2, 2011 at 10:05 am
Well, it’s not MY story, and the dentist is the hero, but here goes: A dentist friend of mine volunteers at refugee clinics all over the world one month a year. Several years ago, he was in El Salvador doing his volunteer gig when the clinic was raided by local rebels–the guy with the biggest gun got very excited when he learned my friend was a dentist. Apparently he had been battling a toothache for weeks. At gunpoint, my friend filled the offending cavity, cleaned the guy’s teeth, and even gave him a free dental hygiene kit! Now THAT’S weird!
August 2, 2011 at 11:12 am
Yoicks! Well… at least it turned out well? Talk about nerve wracking!
August 2, 2011 at 12:26 pm
Not as weird as yours, but the first time I went to a dentist in the US, besides the regular check up, I got out with a prescription for Clonazepan because “you look tense”. That was my introduction to the prescription drug craziness of the US.
August 2, 2011 at 12:49 pm
I didn’t know dentists could even do that!
August 2, 2011 at 12:54 pm
In Argentiina, no MD except a psychiatrist can prescribe Ritalin or similar amphetamine-like prescription drugs. In the US, I do have a prescription for Adderall because of my ADD. I go to a psychiatrist basically just to get the prescription (I guess he can also see that I haven’t dropped 60 pounds taking it, but he doesn’t do much else). My General Practitioner doctor actually offered to write the prescription so I could skip the psychiatrist visit.
August 2, 2011 at 5:00 pm
Yeah, we’re all about the drugs up in here. (this country, I mean.)
August 2, 2011 at 6:59 pm
(1) It is statistically more difficult to get into dental school than medical school.
(2) Dentists are susceptible to suicide because they are susceptible to severe drug addition because they have f*cketonnes of extraordinarily powerful opiates, cocaine, nitrous oxide, and other abusable drugs in their offices.
(3) The behavior of your dentist and the assistant was *grossly* unprofessional.
(4) I know all this because I have several dentists in my family.
August 2, 2011 at 10:12 pm
And the dentists start EARLY. A dental hygienist I know said that when she went to dental hygiene school (a two-year program), dental students would come to parties carrying tanks of nitrous.
August 3, 2011 at 5:45 pm
I would take drugs, too, if I had to be a dentist. Or a hygienist, who often get stuck with the dirty work. Yick.
August 2, 2011 at 7:45 pm
They put the numbing liquid in (before the shot), it runs down my throat (because of how they practically tilt you on your head), and I can barely swallow. I tell the dental assistant about it. “No problem,” she chirps. “Yes, it is,” I say. I get up and leave the office. Oh, and yes, that conversation you heard was over the top.
August 3, 2011 at 11:10 am
good for you!
August 2, 2011 at 8:44 pm
Similar to Dr. Dad I think my most memorable experiences were when I was lightly medicated and aware of what was going on around me. I had Lasik done about 12 years ago and the place I went did the procedure without anesthetic. They gave me a Valium or something like that to relax me, but I was conscious the whole time. You have no nerves in your eye ball, so you really can’t feel them cutting into it. They give you the relaxation drugs mainly to keep you from freaking out. My memories of the procedure are as follows:
*The room was very, very cold. I think that had something to do with keeping the laser equipment from overheating, maybe.
* It was bizarre but sort of neat when they cut the flap in my cornea and then peeled it back like a hinged door. Things were fairly in focus, and then they were not.
* At one point I became aware of the smell of something burning. Then I realized, “Oh, that’s my eyeball.”
I think that tops my most recent experience at the periodontist when I was numbed up but conscious for all three of my gum grafts. During the first one, I was quite disturbed by the sound and pressure as the periodontist cut into the gum tissue at the back of my mouth and removed a bit. It sort of sounded like she was ripping the flesh. Gross. After that I learned to put on headphones and just listen to music.
August 3, 2011 at 11:12 am
The eye surgery sounds terrifying (hence the Valium, eh). And gum grafting… not fun.
August 2, 2011 at 10:47 pm
That sounds awful, but I think I can beat that. Back in my home city I started going to my father’s dentist at some point when I was in my early teens, switching over from the one I had when I was a kid. I had been seeing said dentist for about 10 years when he ASKED ME OUT for lunch. I was studying for my phd at the medical school, and he let me know that he taught nearby on wednesdays at the dental school, and oh, we should have lunch sometime? I said no, firmly, but It totally freaked me out. He never did anything like that again after I shut him down, but every time he put his hands in my mouth after that I felt mucho weird about it. I continued going to him unitl I moved because he was an excellent dentist, and I’ve actually not found one that good since. He gives the impression of being very socially awkward and a huge nerd, so I actually felt kinda sorry for him, although I know what he asked was inappropriate and unprofessional I did not consider it harrassment. I just kept yelling at my Mom on the phone “But he knows MY DAD!!!” In addition to the fact that he must me 10-15 years older than me (I was in my mid- 20s at the time) – Eww.
August 3, 2011 at 11:11 am
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