Wednesday, December 20, 2006


This is the post where I admit one of my deepest secrets. Are you ready?

I am a dentophobe.

Lest you think I am creating a phobia that I alone suffer from (and that, therefore, the fear is utterly invalid) I provide you with this link:

If you are one of my brethren in the dentophobe category, then not only do I welcome you, but I invite you to pull up a chair. And I promise .... it does not recline, and no one will hand you sunglasses as the glaring light drops from overhead.

Yes, I am afraid of the dentist. Afraid of the actual person who performs the procedures, afraid of the place where the procedures take place, afraid of the little plastic-wrapped tray of pointy tools and, oh ... let's not even get into the procedures themselves.

Unfortunately for me, not only do I harbor an irrational fear of dentists, but I have awful teeth. Anyone who thinks that the Lord doesn't have a sense of humor is free to email me for details.

I inherited weak enamel from my father and bad gums from my mother. Couple that with a childhood literally drowning in Coke and Twinkies and you get the picture. I discovered healthy eating and meticulous oral care in college, but alas, the damage was done. I am now an adult woman with fillings in every single molar. Since I've got a full set, that comes up to 14 nuggets of silver leaching chemicals into my mouth and three porcelain bandaids doing who-knows-what to me in the name of arresting decay.

Yesterday I got to experience my second root canal. And while I happen to have a very good provider to perform such acts of horror on my mouth, I still approached the idea of having my root canal-ed with something akin to cold sweats and night terrors.

Enter my friendly, smiling dentist and his magical prescription pad. "You know," he said on Monday as he pronounced the sentence on my aching, swollen mouth, "there's no reason to put yourself through this. I can give you something to take the edge off."

Take the edge off? Oh, boy. Sign me up.

So yesterday morning I went in for a root canal looped on 5 mg of Valium. My understanding is that this is a very low does, which is appropriate because I don't tolerate most medications very well. I wasn't incoherent by any means, and I can't say I was relaxed when I slipped my headphones on and waited for the drilling to stop. But you know, it could have been much, much worse.

So I guess I'm a convert. "Sedation dentistry" is what they call it. Hey, I'm all for it. Three natural childbirths and I'd do it again in a heartbeat. One medicated root canal and ... well ... next time I'll probably ask for 10 mg.

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