On Going to the Dentist (Or: If I Didn’t Love Chewing So Much I’d Have All My Teeth Removed So I Never Had to See a Dentist Again. Stupid Chewing.)

Divorce? Big move? Death? New job? Often these are cited as the most stressful life-changing moments. I beg to disagree.

I should’ve known when the new dentist asked me to don safety goggles that this was not going to be the same old rodeo.

Traveling back and forth from Oklahoma to Arizona means I have missed a lot of dentist appointments in the past two years. Okay. All of them. Stop judging. I hate the dentist. I hate getting my teeth cleaned. I hate everything about it. I have canceled more dentist appointments then I’ve ever made by inventing excuses. Like I go to my grandma’s funeral at least once every two years.

The Husband, freak of nature, loves the dentist. He goes three times a year. Sometimes I wonder how we stay married.

No wonder then that he skipped through the door the other day sing-songing that the dentist down the street from us in Arizona was having a new patient special. He had already made me an appointment and I was caught off guard and out of excuses. Where’s a big fat fever blister when you need one?581351A3-C525-4A8E-993B-8DF4ECA7DAAD.jpeg

My relationship with my old dentist, Dr. Chastain, dates back more than 20 years. It was not always a happy marriage. I, through fault of genetics, am not easily numbed. Dr. Chastain, through fault of believing I am normal, has hurt me. I threatened to leave him for a sleep dentist if he couldn’t make it better. I know he wanted to quit me but then he figured out how to numb me. The last time I had dental work done and things went smoothly, we both had a smoke afterwards.

Anyway, I hate all dentists, even Dr. Chastain. But they say the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know…

There I was in safety goggles, plaque-water spewing all over the room and me. The actual dentist was cleaning my teeth. There was another girl there with a sucky stick (who warned me too late that I shouldn’t close my lips around the “big hose” and that was the last time I ever saw those tonsils). And hello? Everyone knows the hygienist is “good cop” and the dentist is “bad cop”! If the dentist is also the hygienist then I have the whole friggin’ corrupted police department up in my mouth.4D4F31D4-12AC-4710-A950-3D323AB575BC.jpegI was scolded for using too stiff a toothbrush and then she recommended braces for me because my teeth are getting crowded as I age. AS I AGE? I hate her more than I ever hated Dr. Chastain and I’ve hated him hard. She said I needed to have a filling replaced and I started to hyperventilate. When she said they don’t offer laughing gas for a filling replacement I hightailed it out of there.


Dr. Stephen Chastain of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, I hate you but I need a filling replaced. So fill up 3 numbing needles (because we both know the first two won’t take), set those noise-canceling headphones to smooth-jazz and turn the nitrous oxide gas nozzle wide open. Because you’re the devil I know and you can’t quit me.


  1. I’m giving you extra points today for the best title I ever, ever, ever, ever read. Anywhere. Unquestioningly. And you would have gotten lots of points for the post even if was untitled. Goggles? Hygienist impersonating dentist? No gas? I’m with you. Dentists are evil. And one of my best friends is a dentist. Poor guy.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Great post. What is it about dentists, and especially dental hygienists? They must learn how to scold in dental hygienist school. Starting on day 1. I’ve changed dentists several times thinking it must just be this one dentist or hygienist, but it’s not. It’s all of them! Maybe it’s that they can boss you around when you can’t talk back. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Oh, bless your baby heart, and suffering mouth. I HATE to send this word from geezerland, since I am so, so with you on dental resistance. But Alison dolling, biting the bullet (ouch, sorry) and doing the dental care thing now could spare you an experience such as mine (two full years in the torture chairs) a few decades down the road. I did spend those years writing one of my finer books, “Cooking for the Dentally Impaired.” My agent laughed (and declined to seek a publisher,) but I still have the manuscript if you need a few pages.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Oh, my goodness! A book you say? Maybe I could write your forward? I will try to be more diligent henceforth but a little Xanax wouldn’t hurt when my six months is up and it’s time again for penance. Your agent must be fired at once.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Funny, I feel exactly the same way about doing my taxes… and actually they are very similar things. Now I’m wondering if they offer gas at my tax place.. And would you believe that Dr Chastain is now MY Dentist?? Yep!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. LOL! And oh dear! I think we all fear the dentist, but the fear of losing my teeth has always prevailed and I kept my dentist appointments zealously for many years; in fact, it’s only been in the last 7 months since we’ve been on the road that I haven’t made any and I was only thinking about it yesterday, as I usually have my annual check-up in March.
    Jokes apart, please have whatever needs doing done! I’ll have you know that, prior to my husband’s radiotherapy treatment last year, they had to remove any teeth that were not healthy, that turning out to be 10! He had to have them all removed at the same time and when I went to pick him up and saw his swollen face looking like a hamster, my knees buckled and I struggled to hold back the tears in front of him. I had to sit down and couldn’t look at him. He was in pain for many days afterwards, 3 different types of medication round the clock, gums bleeding on the pillows, which I threw away when bleeding stopped, and now he has hardly any teeth left. Now that he has recovered from the horrors of Cancer treatment, he is thinking about having new teeth fitted. DO NOT NEGLECT YOUR TEETH, WHATEVER YOU DO! Good luck!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Your poor husband! My dad did not take care of his teeth and had few when he died. My mom takes great care of hers and at 90 has all her own teeth. I saw the difference in their quality of life so I get it. I will drag myself in every 6 months but I might really change to sleep dentistry. I’m well beyond the normal fear of dentist. Nice to see your name in my notifications!


  6. Weeelll dear, you have all the makings of being the new Erma Bombeck! That was hilarious. I just had two teeth prepped for crowns (last week) and bearing the temps until the new crowns come in (they briefly wore blisters on the side of my tongue). I think there’s a leak (I feel the sting of cold drinks) but don’t want to go back. I’m one of those that faithfully goes and watches, mirror in hand at everything my dentist is doing. Of course, he knows I used to be a dental assistant, so he’s on his best behaviour as I watch every move. I bet dentists hate patients like me.
    Your observations are correct. It is fact: People who keep their teeth do live longer, so take care of those pearly whites, not to mention the gums that hold them. I believe smoking increases the need for stronger medication. It takes more to numb you. I noticed a difference when I quit. But there’s also the fact that the number of injections depends on where they are working, more is required for the upper quadrants because of how the nerve endings are situated. Yeah, yeah, I know TMI. 😦 Despite my history, I still find dentist visits challenging, especially when there’s work to be done. Great read!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I don’t actually smoke so…whew. Dodged that bullet. I have a crown on the bottom back tooth and an implant where my bottom right tooth used to be (some noise about bruxism blah blah blah). Those were the two where I almost divorced my dentist. I will promise to keep my appointments from now on regardless of my angst. Good luck with your ongoing treatment. I bet there is a leak…

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Alison, thank you for this, it made me laugh so much, sorry! I am sitting in the airport in Paris and I think the people next to me think I have been administered the laughing gas you were deprived of!
    I do lean towards your husband in terms of the dentist, anyone who lets me just sit back in a big chair for an hour has my attention but I also recall the pain!
    Well done you for up and running! Hope the ex- dentist is warming up the seat for you!!! 😂😂🤗🤗

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh, it was just awful! I sat next to the wife of a dentist at lunch today! It’s like a haunting. I have loved seeing all your pics of Paris sous la neige. I miss it so much. Great hearing from you, as always!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. A truly great post! Everyone can relate! 🙂 Laughing gas makes me think of that very amusing dentist scene in The Pink Panther Strikes Back between Peter Sellers as Clouseau disguised as a dentist and Herbert Lom as the Deputy Chief Inspector. 🙂 If you’ve not seen it you must! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

      1. So glad you got to watch – it’s a classic. There are scenes in that film that crack me up: “it’s not my dog.” “That was a priceless Steinway’ – “Not anymore.” Etc. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m there with you on the numbing. It usually takes me at least three go rounds (and my son, too), and a half hour passes, and the dentist comes back all pissy bc she can’t numb me. I did leave that dentist for an Indian woman now who has a wonderful bedside manner and remembers my family’s names, but when she goes after a filling, it’s like she’s mud-wrestling a pig, and then it’s sore for weeks afterwards. And yes, getting older means replacing those silver ones. It stinks. What are these noise-canceling headphones you speak of? I don’t get those!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Oh, yes, you should ask for the headphones. It deadens the whirring sound of that awful drill. Get back with me if you find a good bedside manner dentist who is also gentle and doesn’t do the pig wrestling thing!?

      Liked by 1 person

  10. My dentist and hygentist always ask questions that require more than a one word answer, before jamming their hands and a plethora of equipment in my mouth. By time that comes out, I’ve forgotten the response. Or I’ll come up with something witty, which based on “timing”, is no longer funny when I am able to speak. So to throw it back at them, I have them explain the all of the goofy medical /dental terms they use.

    Great Post.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Oh, no!! I am sorry to hear this, Alison. I once had an overwhelming number of teeth repairs and ended up becoming a user of Care Credit Card, which does have 48 and 60 month payment plans. I used this for my cataract surgery. . . Good luck, dear. ❤️

        Liked by 1 person

      1. No gas, and headphones only for the root canals. For the crowns, I just sat there as tense as can be and prayed it would be over soon. I hate my teeth, and apparently they aren’t so very fond of me either!

        Liked by 1 person

  11. I go every 6 months, but this week is the third time in about 10 days and each trip is a three hour drive, there and back. I keep breaking teeth on nuts in muesli and on stones in fruit that is supposed to be pitted. My West of Scotland diet and soft water as a kid didn’t help me. It is costing me a fortune! But my dentist is The World’s Nicest Man.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Ah, no! Three times? I would need Xanax for sure. I have an appointment with my Doctor Chastain on Thursday to get that blaster filling replaced. I’m trying to be cool. Not working.

      Liked by 1 person

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