My fear of dentists began when I was about 4 or 5. I was playing with Jessica that day and she had to go to the dentist to get a tooth pulled. So Lore took both of us along for the ride. I was impressed by the massive building and was rather excited when we walked into the room where my cousin was about to get operated on—there were tons of stuffed animals in the corner, a TV in the other corner (probably playing a show like Barney, which my mom never let me watch), and overall, the room was bright and cheerful.
Jessica sat in the cool chair in the middle of the room and the dentist began his work. I was still a bit transfixed by the coolness of the room when Jessica started screaming. I looked over, and watched, horrified, as the dentist yanked a tooth out of Jessica's mouth and Lore did all that she could to comfort Jessica. I stood frozen in my corner and watched as tears pooled from Jessica's eyes and trailed down her cheeks.
From that day on, my worst fear was getting one of my teeth pulled.
A few years after that terrifying experience, I went to my own dentist for the first time. I had heard all sorts of horror stories from my friends—how you can't swallow while you are being operated on, how you have to keep your mouth wide open for an hour, how you have to put a fluoride denture thing in your mouth that tastes disgusting, and worse of all, how it hurts.
I remember walking in and seeing all of these gruesome pictures of teeth. And the children that were smiling with their dentists didn't look happy—they looked tortured. So with my overactive imagination, my first dental procedure was just as bad as I thought it would be. I was afraid to swallow for hours afterward because I was afraid of being poisoned. I didn't want my picture to be taken because I knew that they would be able to find me again—and then they would put me up in the wall of tortured children who were forced to be silent about their pain so that the evil dentists wouldn't lose their jobs.
It was many years after that that we started going to the dentist regularly. My childish fears hadn't entirely diminished. It didn't help that the dentist we had was "thorough," as she phrased it. I would go home with 20 new sores in my mouth every time I went in for my 6-month checkup. The sign on the door that said "Painless Dentist" reminded me of the pictures of tortured children on that wall—it was only there to appease the parents. But we children knew what really went on at the dentist's office.
Getting a cavity filled is always fun, too. Having several people sitting above you with masks on as they exchange iron hooks and put strange things in your mouth must be a dentist's cruel idea of entertainment. When I was suffocating under their fun today, I actually smelled the smoke that Bill Cosby jokes about. And the water sucker thing really did try to suck up my face a couple of times.
I will admit that my current dentist is actually very nice and very gentle, but one good dentist doesn't make up for all of the evil ones out there—the ones that trade tools with the mechanics at the local tire shop. No, I'm pretty sure there is still a league of evil dentists out there to get us all.
It's a good thing I was born with perfect teeth and the worst thing that ever happened to me was that I had to get my wisdom teeth taken out—and who knows what happened during that time. Dentists probably put you under so that you can't hear their maniacal laughter as they test out the tools they got from Satan.
But on a brighter note, 6 more months until I have to face the devil's apprentice again.