5 reasons why you hate going to the dentist

25% of Americans avoid the dentist because of fear

Ever hear that expression “it’s better than a trip to the dentist?”  I sure have, and there is good reason why people compare unpleasant and uncomfortable situations to their biannual visit to the local DDS.  Come to think of it, I am not sure I have ever met someone who enjoys going to the dentist*

* except maybe this lady

…so sit down, open wide, as I spit up 5 reasons why going to the dentist… well… bites.

1. A party for the senses

Going to the dentist is a sensory experience (in the same way that going over Niagara Falls is a rafting experience).  From the moment you are called back from the lobby your sense of sight, smell, sound, touch, and taste are totally unprepared for what the dentist has in store for them.  Imagine this…

You SEE that guy uncomfortably holding his mouth open.  Ugh, poor guy!  Really… why are his eyes so wide?  How did his jaw do that?  That must hurt – uh doesn’t that look like it hurts!?  You actually feel really bad for that poor guy and then you realize the dentist will soon have his hand wristwatch deep in your mouth too.  Great.

It sure SMELLS like a dentist office, but what is that smell exactly?  Well it’s the smell of Acrylic monomer, Formo-creasol, Metacresylacetate, and Eugenol… but to you it’s just the odor of everything that is about the happen inside your mouth.

You HEAR the drill drilling some cavity ridden tooth, the suctioning liquid.  With your heightened senses it sounds like a scene from 1996 horror film “The Dentist”

– except this is the 2012 horror film “The Dentist,”

and its starring you,

and it is not a film.

By the time you sit down in the chair you do NOT want to be TOUCHED.  You subconsciously want to protect your sacred mouth with closed smiles and a locked up jaw, until your grownup reasoning tells you to suck it up… but not literally. You open wide and what do you feel?  Metal instruments poking around your mouth, saliva starting to gather and then gritty tooth polish generously spread across all your soon-to-be pearly whites.

It TASTES like fakey bubblegum, or not-so-minty mint, which is kinda a mild reprieve – much better than the taste of a rubber gloved hand.  Finally, you finish off with delightfully steely taste of your own blood because you haven’t flossed in 3 months.

Well, at least he's happy...

2. One-sided conversations

Did you know you can probably open your mouth about 50°?  It’s not pleasant holding your mouth open that wide for too long (unless you are a python and you are eating a goat) but hey- that’s what we have to do at the dentist.  And as you sit there as a living portrait of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream!” the dental hygienist will gladly talk to your gaping mouth about anything From the weather, to whether you heard who the new celebrities on Dancing With the Stars will be this season – in you they have a captive audience.  You feel obligated to hold up one end of this conversation, while also attempting not to drown in your own saliva.  Most likely your responses are comprised of grunts, and if you are anything like me you are trying to use inflection in your responsive grunts to pretend you really care (after all, right now they have the upper hand and you gotta be polite).  I don’t know if dental hygienists are just really talkative people, or if they have been trained in the art form of “calming” patients, but it just makes the experience even more awkward as they continually violate the personal space of your personal space.

3. Drooly McDroolerson

Our bodies have defense mechanisms against drowning.  Whether in the pool, or in a pool of your own spit.  At the dentist there is that intense moment where you desperately close the back of your throat waiting for the suction thingy.   It’s stressful – you might actually slip up and swallow your own dental work tasting saliva, which seems unimaginably disgusting.  So you gotta focus.  Relax and focus… but of course, you overcompensate and now drool is leaking from the corner of your mouth.  Oh, and here comes helpful hygienist dab dab-ing your chin with your big-boy dentist bib. She’ll probably even make an embarrassing comment (that you will have to grunt to).  You know, this never would’ve happened if she had focused less on that one-sided conversation she was rocking out and focused more on giving you the suction thingy so you didn’t have to worry about drowning in the first place!

4. Metal scraping tooth

Just think that thought in your head and imagine that feeling.

I know, right?

5. “Do you floss?”

So towards the end of every visit, when freedom is so close you can taste it, and when you are finally feeling good about your clean dental bill of health… you get that question: “do you floss?”  Nearly all Americans brush their teeth. However, studies have found that only 25% of Americans report flossing on a daily basis.  And of those, 99% are lying.  Even if you have been flossing your feeble efforts pale in comparison to the ninja flossing techniques of the hygienist.  No matter how you respond the flossing lecture and lesson will now commence leaving you completely dominated by a mere strand of waxy string aggressively tugged around each and every tooth.

and always follow-up with brushing

 In closing… (your mouth)

Just remember you probably aren’t the only person who has cringed at this post.  You are not the only sensory-overloaded-grunting-drooler-who-doesn’t-floss-as-much-as-you-should.  Chew over that thought next time you get your dental reminder postcard in the mail – that there are others that feel your pain.*

again... *except maybe this lady

Now go brush your teeth, you know you want to.

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