Are you afraid of the dentist?

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I’ll admit, I’m absolutely terrified of the dentist. When I was four years old I had many teeth pulled without being properly numbed. I was a sickly child so all the medicine I consumed rotted my baby teeth so they had to come out. I don’t remember much, but it was dark and there were pink and blue lights everywhere. Maybe that’s what trauma looks like to a 4-year-old. I remember every subsequent dental visit my mother bought me a toy afterward.

My moms took me for one last cleaning in 1991 (never got that toy) and I didn’t go again until 2008. Yes, 17 years! It wasn’t a good experience when I went back. Not that my teeth were in bad shape, but the dentist I went to was an old man who was a dentist in the Army. It felt like he took out each individual tooth, cleaned it, and put it back into the socket. The last time I went was 2011, I had two cleanings, first time I had no cavity creeps. On the second visit 6 months later they said I had 7 cavities. So I’m guessing they rubbed something on my teeth to make them rot. I haven’t been back and my teeth are still fine.

I take my kids to the dentist every 6 months for a cleaning, but these kids have it easy. Their dentist has video games in the waiting area, super cool themed office and TV screens in the ceiling so they can watch DVDs while they get dental work done. When I was a kid, we just sat in a white room in a metal chair while some old man with super minty breath yanked on our teeth for 30 minutes. As a bonus, we had to sit still with a mouth guard full of goop that tasted like sauerkraut water.