Friday, October 05, 2007

A Visit to the Dentist


It's that time again, the dreaded visit to the dentist. If you're like me (and 90% of the population), you know that sense of foreboding a visit to the dentist's office evokes. I have to mentally prepare myself hours before the visit. Most of the pain is probably psychological, just in my head. I remember an incident when I was younger and I needed to get a molar extracted. I was crying the whole time I was in the chair, internally cringing and awaiting the 'torture' to follow. I had my eyes shut the whole time, sobbing in the chair. After a few minutes the dentist asked why I was still crying, if I was feeling any pain. I opened my eyes, bewildered and confused. Why was he asking me these questions? Ah, it turns out that he had already pulled the tooth. In my hysteria, I didn't realize that the procedure was done. I didn't even feel it! I felt like an idiot sitting there and crying. Well, 15 years later, I still hate going to the dentist.

I got into a conversation with my dental hygienist about the fear of dentists. She told me that there's a whole psychology behind it. They even offer it as a class to dental students! Most of it has to do with the pain (whether actual or imagined doesn't make a difference) and other times it has to do with the sound of the grinding and the drilling. Interestingly, some people fear the dentist because of the 'invasion of their space'. This was a weird concept for me to grasp. I understand space intrusion but not in the context of medicine (or dentistry in this case). I mean, I have to go to a gynecologist every about space intrusion. But in any case, some people feel that their personal space is violated when the dentist is prodding and poking around in their mouth. Well, I guess to each his own. I personally don't like the instruments. They're intimidating! If you don't believe me, see below....


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