Tuesday, July 25, 2006


Ouch! Could you please get your knee off of my chest?
Now, imagine this plain and simple plea emitting from a mouth stuffed full of cotton, fingers, implements and numbed to some degree by one, two, no, three shots of Novocain.


Thus, was one adventure to a dentist. This particular sadist was attempting to extract a wisdom tooth and I do believe part of my tongue, what was left of my gums while caving in my chest wall. Had my tonsils still been in position, I would have feared their safety.

This trip to the dentist was some 12 or 13 yeas ago. What I remember most, beyond the hours, yes, hours in the chair, excruciating pain, the knee to the chest and my horror at the ineptitude of this practitioner, what I remember most, is that this disaster caused me to miss my daughter's softball game where she hit the cycle. I remember so vividly because she guilt trips, ahem, reminds me every three or so years.

It was yet another trip to yet another dentist that had me missing a soccer game where she scored a hat trick. Try as I might to work my dentistry around her sporting events..

Needless-to-say, going to the dentist does fill me with a smidgen of dread. While there are no more sporting events to conflict with appointments, there is, you know, life. Besides, I just don't like the dentist.

Last week, I appear in the office of the most recent dental practitioner to have graced my roster of practitioners. I have had and dropped a few. Some because of chunky, clumsy fingers, (and before you jump all over me for the chunky, clumsy remark-I have chunky fingers too-but I'm not sticking them in people's mouths trying to fix stuff) some because the office staff is rude, the dentist is rude, the office is too cold, they move the office to where might as well be Siberia, or the dentists' breath is just ...Well, enough said.

This newest guy seemed ok. And oh, by the way, is it just here or is there glaring absence of women in dentistry? Anyway, the new guy, I've been to the office a few times and those appointments went pretty much according to plan. The office, in an older classic building, is convenient to my office. The one negative about the building is the older, creaking elevator. Riding to the tenth floor is an adventure which makes going to the dentist seem like a picnic-which, now that I think about it, might be a point. The staff is friendly and professional. The dentist, good-looking, if you like that sort of candy, took care to pop a mint before invading my facial space. So, all things considered, maybe I've found MY dentist, at last.

Well, last week I had an appointment for 1:00 p.m. I'd decided before-hand to take the afternoon off and made arrangements to have an early dinner with a dear but distant friend. I leave work at noon and walk the 13 or 14 blocks, arriving in the office suite at 12:45 even after the interminable wait for and ride in the elevator. I check in, after a brief wait, get ushered into a room, a chair and an apron. I then sit and watch the neighboring rooftop, a paint by numbers landscape and whatever daytime soap was currently playing on the television. I sat, rotating my head from focal point to focal point, willing myself not to nap, for the next hour and a half.

I am not a screamer. So, no screaming, but seething, yes, most definitely seething. I remove the apron, bid adieu to the neighboring rooftop, the paint by numbers landscape and the daytime soap. I exit the office, telling the receptionist to not bother sending me a reminder for the next appointment. Her "but the dentist will by right with you" was being drowned out by the clang, clang, clanging of the antiquated elevator.

Shit. The search begins, anew.


  1. Good luck.

    My dentist is about a 30-45 minute drive away. I tried for a few years to find someone closer to home but couldn't. Driving the extra miles is well worth it.

    How some of these people even get a license to practice is beyond me.

  2. Even a mild-mannered conformist such as myself would've walked out. You go girl!

  3. Female dentists are a rare species. I have never seen one either.

    Good luck with the search. I need to find one, too. I left a really good one in FL when I moved to MD.


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