December 3, 2004 spout

Another Reason To Hate The Dentist

Most of the worst experiences of my childhood involve the dentist. I have an active gag reflex and a general aversion to sitting still for long periods with nothing to do but let somebody poke my soft innards with a metal stick, so the dentist chair has never been a good fit for me. Today, I got another reason to hate the dentist.

Because Beaverton does not fluoridate their water and because he’s a nine-year old boy, my youngest son Tom had 4 cavities to deal with today. He was nonchalant about the whole thing for the first hour alone in the chair while I waiting in the sitting room, never expressing concern or doubt about the experience to come, which made me believe that everything was going to be just fine. Even when he started crying a bit, I was able to maintain my seat, knowing that he leaned toward the dramatic. However, when he started screaming, that’s when all 6′5″ and 280 pounds of me barged through the door between the waiting area and the rending rooms, not stopping to ask the women milling around reception if that was OK and conscious but uncaring that the expression on my face stilled them to silence.

When I got back to the room where Tom was being impaled, the dentist was busy telling him that little girls cried less than he did. She further went on to tell him that he wasn’t feeling pain” at all but only pressure,” a sentiment she had to repeat several times while she asked the nurse to give her the extra gauze to staunch the profuse bleeding. I have to say that it was difficult to simultaneously comfort my son while expressing my displeasure at the dentist for both the potential physical and verified mental torture she was using on him. Probably it wasn’t easy for her to concentrate on her dentistry in a completely focused manner while I loomed over her, but that’s what you get for making my son cry for 30 minutes.

Anyway, at the end, as she informed me that she worked with children all the time and had two of her own (implying that the pain was somehow my son’s fault, I’m guessing), she also reached for the referral pad for another dentist to fill the other two cavities, saving me the trouble of asking.

I hate the dentist.

P.S. After a McDonald’s toy and chicken sandwich (eaten carefully from the un-decimated side of his mouth), Tom seems unaffected. However, I’m sure that the whole sordid experience will come roaring back to him in the future unless they’ve replaced the dentist with nanites and computer programs (or sledge hammers and chisels, which would be equally humane)…