When I was around ten years old I received my first root canal. I didn’t understand what they were talking about, but I did understand getting stabbed in the mouth with a needle. Like me, many people have had dentists pull maneuvers like this. These actions, which dentists might not think of as harmful or even mentally traumatizing can influence your thoughts on dentists for the rest of your life.
It is important to remember that dentists are in fact here to help you, and that you can help these dental sessions go by more smoothly for everyone involved by listening to the dentists advice. I like to think of it as a machine, like a car. You change the oil, check the tires, and wash it regularly. If you do not do the proper maintenance your car falls apart, just like your mouth.
The most horrifying experiences I had with the dentist began after I joined the military. Up to that point I had not received regular dental care, and did not understand the vast amount of problems that would begin to unfold. The first thing they told me was that I was getting three teeth pulled. Please keep in mind that this was during basic training. Many of the pillows were stained with the blood of former recruits who had their teeth pulled in a previous cycle. We were also told that if we missed enough days thanks to being sick we would have to start all over again from training day one.
They didn’t try to pull the wool over my eyes this time. Three teeth were coming out of my head that day, and it was going to hurt. I would also be out of commission for five days afterward on pain medication. I was split on the situation, but a free chance to stop training for five days sounded wonderful. While it wouldn’t be free of yelling and madness, those five days could give me a chance to recover more fully.
Military dentists don’t wait for anything. They just start hacking away as soon as they think they’ve got you sedated. Next time you visit a civilian dentist and you think he’s hurting you on purpose just remember that they aren’t wearing a Navy uniform, and you’ll be fine.