Going To The Dentist.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that most people don’t want to go to the dentist. It is also true there is nothing worse than toothache, so there are occasions when you may be glad to visit. Another mystery is why anyone would want to BE a dentist, but that’s for another blog (perhaps a blogging dentist.)

Dental tales abound among three groups of people; those who never go to the dentist, those who will travel miles to visit the one and only dentist they trust in the whole world and those who change dentists as often as their clothes. The last group doesn’t always reflect on the dentist; how many of us put off going for a check up, then are too embarrassed to face our dentist; you can’t fake it for he will look up his records…

‘Sorry I missed my last check up.’

‘It’s actually eight years since you were last here…’

So we seek out a new dentist who must go through the whole procedure – dictating to his assistant in a strange language.

4 upper missing, 6 right lower decay, front left 7 amalgam, back lower 15 gold crown…

Just put this sharp piece of plastic in your mouth so we can take an XRay…  and the other side, open even wider for this extra large piece of plastic. Okay, that’s all for today

Sigh of relief.

Make an appointment for next week for three fillings and a three hour appointment in a fortnight to remove those four teeth…

I knew someone who would ring round dentists asking ‘Do you knock people out?’

The answer is usually No as dentists do not want to be responsible for a patient dying under general anaesthetic.



My frequent attendance at dentists as a child was through no fault of my parents, except genetically. I was not allowed to have ice lollies, only ice cream, sweets carefully rationed. It was the orthodontist I had to visit at nine years old. At the time it was thought it was necessary to act quickly before it was too late, but nowadays plenty of adults have their teeth straightened and braces are an accessory.

I had teeth too large and too many to fit in my mouth; nearly a dozen first and second teeth had to be removed to give the remaining teeth room to grow straight. In those days cocaine was something injected into your gum at the dentist, the local anaesthetic. There was also gas, general anaesthetic. I sampled both, how it was decided I don’t know; I recall gas required the dentist to have a doctor present. The first time I was to have gas I walked into the room and was horrified to see a huge tank with a large skull and cross bones on. My first sensation on waking up was feeling the dentist was trying to yank my mouth open.

In between all this I wore a single wire on my teeth, a removable plate. Visits to the orthodontist were to tighten the wire, a cause for aching mouth during the night, but probably not as sore as after tooth extraction.


Why do we have such fear of dentists?  People unlucky with ill health or accident have surely endured much worse suffering. Perhaps it is because it is our head, an intrusion into the part of our body we need for speaking and more vitally, breathing. We can’t talk or protest. I’ve had three caesareans and two carpal tunnel operations awake; lying helpless in the dentist’s chair is definitely more daunting.

But don’t be scared, it’s not really that bad. A handy hint; the older the building, the narrower the wooden staircase, the higher up the winding stairs you go, the better the dentist.  My current dentist is in an edgy part of town, a nice young man at the very top of the building, unlike my previous dentist he discusses everything with you first. I had a tooth out on Monday, it’s not fun having the first needle go in, but better than the alternative! Luckily he asked if I could still feel anything – YES – so he gave me a third shot.

Tell us your best – or worst dental story.




19 thoughts on “Going To The Dentist.

  1. I had gas at the dentist’s as a young child [but there was no doctor there]. I can still remember the sweet, cloying smell as the rubber mask went over my face and the strange sensation on waking two minutes later that I’d slept for hours and had long dreams.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m fortunate! My husband has worked for many years in the dental industry so I have a lot of inside knowledge which removes the fear. I see an excellent hygienist once a year, visit my dentist (a personal friend) once a year and use the latest toothpaste which is the only one approved by the Oral Health Foundation for remineralisation and sensitivity relief. Check it out here http://www.biomin.co.uk along with all the supportive research.

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  3. I am in the middle of a series of dental appointments, root canal plus crown and had to make a decision about which crown to have. As they all cost hundreds of pounds and the tooth is at the back I chose the cheapest.
    When I was a child I had buck teeth and had to wear a brace but I wasn’t really afraid until I had a toothache when I was at my parent’s house and had to go to an unfamiliar dentist. I hated having the injections and, like an idiot, when he asked if I wanted one I said no. I have never had such pain and have been a nervous wreck every time I hear a drill since then and that was probably fifty years ago.
    My present dentist is very sweet and caring but I still hate to go. The best thing is the relief when I come away.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Once, when I was a full-time journalist, I went for a cleaning in the middle of the day. I settled into the chair, sighed and said something about it being the best part of my day. The dentist, who knew me fairly well, said, “That’s pathetic.”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I am lucky that genetically I have very good teeth. (In terms of decay at least, certainly not aesthetically.) As a child I had very little treatment required which was just as well since our dentist did not believe in administering injections. I’m convinced that’s where I acquired my terror of the whining drill. I had gas to remove teeth. Not pleasant. As an adult I had a back tooth removed (maybe the last wisdom tooth) with just injections. It was horrendous. The tooth shattered, the bone broke… I shudder to think about it. The dentist was kindness itself – didn’t stop it hurting though! I should have had braces as a child but they were too costly (as I recall though I doubt the accuracy of that memory now). Also at that time there was huge stigma about braces. I’m glad that’s gone now. It would be nice to have some positive memories of dental treatment! 😄

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my goodness Sandra, I didn’t know bone could be broken as well. After the dentist had removed my gold crown on Monday and said the tooth must come out he said ‘I might not be able to get it all out’ – what! Luckily he did.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Yikes, I hate dentists! I’ve never had braces, even though I probably should have – I wish I had, now, but when they were offered I didn’t want my parents to have to pay for them just for aesthetic purposes as my teeth weren’t causing huge problems at the time. I’ve had nightmare dentists, and when I was a kid there was one most people in the town went to and I doubt he even had a dental licence. He struggled locating the staircase in the falling-down building, so I’d hardly trust him in your mouth with metal instruments. 2 years ago I had a filling that resulted in a giant abscess that I was told was my imagination, but I couldn’t open my mouth for 3 weeks. That was a quick way to weight loss! I’m glad this dentist gave you a third shot. I don’t envy the tooth extraction. I wonder how many people actually have positive memories of dentists from when they were a child..? Must be quite rare.
    Caz xx

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Childhood dental horror story, but I finally found a dentist I trusted not long after I arrived here in Canada … turned out I had to have extensive work done and was so thankful to be on Mrs Widds extended health care, because it would’ve cost thousands of dollars. Earlier this year I had a back tooth extracted and he actually took a hammer and chisel (dentist sized) to it!

    Liked by 1 person

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