My Dentist Didn't Make Me Cry (I Did That Myself)


This morning, I cried at the dentist's. Holy teeth, blogreader, of all the embarrassing things to happen! And I hadn't even opened my mouth yet!

I don't know what's up with me and dentists at the moment. I mean, I've never once looked forward to a dental appointment - not even when I was young enough to get stickers afterwards - but I've never found them in the least bit scary.

And I really like my current dentist. Of all the many dentists I've seen in my life, I'd go so far as to say she's my favourite. Largely because she once complimented me on my (dinosaur) T-shirt.

But, over the last couple of years, I've started to feel really anxious about check ups.

In fact, I'm pretty sure it's since I became a parent, which is odd because I quite happily took Matilda to her first dentist appointment last week, snapped a couple of pictures of her sitting on the fancy chair and let her carry the tiny mirror around with her for several hours afterwards. What I did not do was book our appointments for the same time or take her along with me to mine; I didn't want her picking up on my anxiety.

So. Back to today.

There I was, sitting on the chair, being asked unusually specific questions about my flossing technique while the dental nurse handed me an alarmingly large pair of safety goggles, when tears started pouring down my cheeks.

The horror on all three faces!

"You can tell us to stop at any time!" they both assured me.

"It's fine! I don't know what's wrong with me today!" And, betraying the sisterhood: "Hormones...?

And then I sat there, gripping my own fingers as tightly as I could, while they scaled and polished and smeared some horrible sticky banana-flavoured coating onto my teeth, all the while lavishing me with the sort of praise usually saved for the labour ward. It didn't even hurt. Not once. Not a bit. It's just a bit odd having people prodding around in your orifices, isn't it?

They gave me a free toothbrush, too, and a lesson in how to use it.

Writing this, I've figured out what the problem is, though: at the dentist, people tell me I'm doing things wrong. I'm brushing too thoroughly, not flossing thoroughly enough and falling for the enormous con which is mouthwash. And, while I used to deal with that sort of helpful criticism well enough (smile, nod, go home and sulkily eat the sweetest thing I could find), wading through all of the do-the-wrong-thing-and-you'll-raise-a-psychopathic-pushover parenting advice has left my resilience a bit... rotten... I don't have the reserves of confidence left to handle the phrase "swollen gums". I MUST BE A FAILURE AT EVERYTHING. Good grief.

So there I was: tear-stained face at the dentist.

Tear-stained face paying £10.70 at the reception desk.

Hopefully less tear-stained face, walking home via the shops (to buy the sweetest thing I could find. Which I wasn't allowed to eat for half an hour because of the horrible sticky banana-flavoured coating on my teeth).

(Hopefully not-tear-stained-at-all-face by the time somebody stopped me to ask if I was who she thought I was (me; I was) and to say that she enjoys my blog. I was surprised and unfocused (too busy wondering if my face was splodgy or my teeth were yellow) so all I managed to learn was her name and that she was heading to the dentist, too, so I wanted to say: hello back! And that you really cheered me up after my mortifying dental experience - I hope yours went a little more smoothly! Drop me a line and tell me more about yourself, if you like)

Anybody got any embarrassing sobbing-in-public stories of their own to share? Please?!

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