For some obscure reason I am mortified of dentists, the very thought of sitting in the dentist’s chair makes me break out in a cold sweat. Maybe it was the dentist in Calcutta we were dragged to for check ups, I don’t know. When I think back to Dr. Chang’s (we would call him that, he was Chinese) dingy clinic I don’t know whether I want to laugh or cry. His chair was one of the old manual ones you have to crank up. Images of everything else are rather obscure but that chair was turned into a toy everytime we had to go there. My brother and I would take turns to raise the chair and lower it. Even back in the 80′s it seemed like something out of a horror movie. He was also known for having removed the wrong teeth. Luckily I have never had any major dental hassles so I could safely avoid going to dentists.
A few weeks back my husband had an inflamed gum and it turned out that he had an impacted wisdom tooth. Since we were at the dentist I decided to get my teeth checked. I thought I had mouth ulcers but it turned out that I had crooked wisdom teeth that were lacerating my cheeks. I was told they had to go and not only that but the lower ones had to go as well. The thought of an extraction damn near killed me. My mind was screaming a deafening “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” My head was saying it was the right thing to do and my mouth decided to tell the doctor that I would wait a few weeks.
The days flew by, everytime I ate I got new cuts in my cheek and finally when I woke up on Sunday morning my gum had inflamed. I was in immense pain, I could barely open my mouth and it was time to make an appointment for an extraction. Without anytime to get myself mentally prepared for this I was a little hyper. Monday morning began as usual with me heading out for my Karate class. I returned home and started preparing for what I assumed would be a painful experience. I grew more and more nervous with every passing second. It was then time to leave. The pain was quite excruciating and I knew that the right thing to do was to get that tooth out.
We arrived at the clinic. My husband was all praises for Dr. Sandeep Guliya’s finesse at extractions. I must admit I was still skeptical at this point not forgetting the nervousness, the fear, I was a mental wreck for something as infinitesimal as an extraction. Poor me! The moment of truth had arrived and I was trying to make myself comfortable on the dentist’s chair. I felt as though there were a million butterflies in my stomach that were trying to break free. The procedure was explained to me. The odds of things going wrong were blatantly laid out. My mind was whirling with what-ifs.
I got my first shot of local anesthesia (not something I was new to… but that CHAIR!) and I waited for it to kick in. When Dr. Sandeep started the procedure I could feel the pain a bit but that was mind over matter or as my husband puts it “my love to defy science”. Lucky me I got some more anesthesia and I couldn’t feel a thing. The procedure began and ended and I was clueless.
My husband walked in and he and the doctor had a discussion while I sat there thinking I still had to get my tooth extracted. Finally the two men broke into laughter and said it was over. A wave of relief swept over me. It was not as painful as my mind perceived it to be, in fact it was not painful at all. The only pain were the abrasions in my cheek from before the tooth came out. So basically all the energy I spent in fear was completely wasted. I will now be able to eat without anymore discomfort of getting cut and the best part is I will know what to expect the next time and I found a “painless” dentist!