Sink your teeth into why I’m afraid of dentists

I have to say goodbye to an old friend today. It’s not that I even really care all that much, but this old friend has been attached to me for nearly my whole life.

We’ve bonded, I guess you could say, but there have been times when he’s been nothing but a pain. And when he broke in half recently, he was definitely no longer my friend.

In fact, he made me go to the dentist, which, let’s face it, isn’t at the top of my list of happy things to do.

Stupid molar. He’s getting yanked today, and it serves him right.

“What are you doing today?” someone asked, and as a dark cloud descended on my world, I simply mumbled: “Crentist.”

“Crentist” is what the Rotten Kids and I refer to as the Tooth Doctor, on account of in an old episode of one of our favourite TV shows, The Office, Dwight Schrute tried to get out of something by making up an excuse on the spot that he had a dentist’s appointment.

Jim Halpert immediately said, “Oh, yeah, and what’s the name of the dentist?”

Dwight, caught off guard, sputtered and said, “Um, Crentist.”

OK, so you kind of had to be there, but it was truly funny at the time, and now, whenever any of us are faced with a dreaded trip to the dentist, we call him or her “the Crentist,” and it temporarily makes the anticipation amusing instead of petrifying.

But let me back up here by saying that our family has eventually found very good crentists, who use excellent medication and up-to-date, modern tools with which to attack your mouth.

At least I am pretty sure they are nice, modern tools, but I can’t say for sure, since I keep my eyes slammed shut from the time I leave the car in the dental parking lot.

In fact, one former dentist used to say, “Now close your eyes nice and tight,” when she was ready to inject the freezing. And the Rotten Kid, the daughter one, after many trips to the dentist over the years, snuck a peek and immediately regretted it.

She expected a small device that gave that “little poke” in the gums, and what she saw in the hand of the otherwise reasonable lady dentist was a wicked needle-like weapon the size of an Olympic javelin, and which obviously came from the dungeons of the Spanish Inquisition. She has never trusted another crentist.

I must clarify, however, that I have a totally excellent tooth plumber now, who seems to be very well trained, in that he has very good dental medication, and if he’s reading this, he’s also a handsome and stellar human being who wouldn’t hurt a fly, or yours truly.

So I’m hoping for the best this afternoon when he mutilates my molar.

My own dentophobia that I am alluding to (and yes, dentophobia is the fear of dentists, I’m really not kidding this time — I looked it up) is born from past experiences as a little kid when licensed saliva suckers were apparently trained in all kinds of medieval and modern torture, including waterboarding.

This led to a lifetime of avoiding the ouch-master, which admittedly didn’t do much for the health, or lack of it, regarding my old pearly whites. Which aren’t so white, and aren’t so plentiful anymore either.

So one more molar will be MIA today and I’m pretty nervous.

Harley Hay is a Red Deer writer and filmmaker. His column appears Saturdays.

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