Emily Little

An unpleasant experience

It seems as though everyone has some sort of apprehension about going to the dentist, whether merely being uncomfortable with the situation or having a full-blown irrational fear. I have never been one to get extremely nervous about going to the dentist, but I certainly do not look forward to it. Last Thursday, I went into my dentist's office for my regular, biannual cleaning. However, before the cleaning began, my dentist came in to examine my teeth. Everything seemed to be going just fine until I heard the dreaded words, "She has two cavities." My stomach immediately dropped. Never in my entire life had I had a cavity, let alone two at once. I tried my best to remain calm as I sat in the chair, but I was panicking on the inside. After the dentist left the room, my hygienist explained to me what was going to happen. The dentist would swab a numbing gel on the inside of my cheek, and then inject more numbing medicine so that I would not feel the drilling of the cavities. My hygienist explained to me that, thankfully, my cavities were very small, so it would be an easy procedure.
After managing to sit through my cleaning while remaining calm, I walked out into the waiting room where my mom was sitting. We set up an appointment for the fillings to be done the following week, and headed out the door. As soon as we got into the car, however, I became extremely upset. It was quite obvious that waiting an entire week for the procedure would cause me to get increasingly anxious as the days ticked by. The next day, my mom called the dentist's office and asked if there were any earlier appointments available. Just my luck, there was - the very next day, in fact. During the phone call, my mom also asked if I could bring my headphones and listen to music during the fillings, as I was worried about the sound of the drilling - I was happy to learn that I could. The next morning, I woke up and found that I had slept in until eleven. It was almost as if my brain was subconsciously trying to prevent the unpleasant event of the day by sleeping through it! Alas, my subconscious attempts to avert my trip to the dentist's office failed, and my mom and I headed to the appointment later that afternoon. Sitting in the waiting room, my nerves were through the roof. Although my hygienist told me what was going to happen, I still felt as though I was walking into the unknown. I had never had a cavity before, and was basically preparing myself to be traumatized. Finally, I heard my name called, and I was led to the room for the procedure. I put my headphones in, opened up my mouth and felt him put the numbing gel on the inside of my cheek. I squeezed the arms of the plastic covered chair, bracing myself for the needle. When the injections started, I surprised myself by handling them much better than expected. After my dentist finished, he told me he would be back in a few minutes after the numbness has taken affect. After sitting by myself for a few minutes, my mouth was sufficiently numb and my dentist returned. As he started drilling, I blared my music and squeezed my eyes shut. Although the procedure was certainly uncomfortable, it was over before I knew it. Of course I was relieved that the experience was over, but surprised to discover it was not near as awful as I thought it was going to be.