It’s official. I am a magnet for crazy people.

I recently went to a new dentist for a routine cleaning and checkup, and it was beyond bizarre, even for me.

I should tell you, first of all, that I have a great deal of anxiety when it comes to dental work. And by “great deal of anxiety” I mean Cuckoo for Coco Puffs. I get super sweaty just thinking about it. The smells, the sounds, the vibration of the drill…it all makes me want to curl into the fetal position and die a quick death.

Sometimes before I go to the dentist I drink a little. I once asked my neighbor/BFF Tammy to drive me to the dentist and back. She did it. No questions asked. Although I think she suspected I was up to something when I showed up at her house with Margarita salt in my hair.

If I’m going to have major work done, the dentist will prescribe me some Valium. Me likee. Sadly, it’s always just enough to survive one appointment: 2 little pills.

The last dentist I went to gave me a bum crown. Then for three frickin’ years every time I went back for a check up and told her “I can’t chew with the right side of my mouth,” she’d say, “Well sometimes it takes crowns a while to settle down.”

Three years. No chew. Don’t get me started. Too late. Now the left side of my jaw is strong enough to crack walnuts and the right side can’t even hold a straw. That’s effed up. Time for a new dentist.

So I started asking around and my friend Monica who is borderline obsessive when it comes to her health told me she LOVED her dentist. She had to have a root canal once and it was such a great experience that she baked the dentist and his staff brownies the next day.

Hand to God. Who does that? Monica, that’s who.

Sold! I wanted THAT guy. No more Dr. Bad Crown for me!

So I made the appointment and headed to town to meet Dr. Sweet Tooth.

It started normally enough…new patient forms, musak version of Chicago’s Greatest Hits piping in from somewhere above, that weird dentist office smell in the air.

Soon I was fully reclined in the coldest room I’ve ever experienced. My nervous sweat was forming into pit-cicles and every hair on my body was sticking straight up.

The hygienist appears and says, “Oh, are you cold? Would you like a blanket?”

“Yes please!” I chatter.

“I just want to go over your info with you….it says here that you are not currently taking any medications. Is that correct?”

Now remember, I’m nervous. And you know what happens when I get nervous? Verbal diarrhea, bad jokes, and TMI.

So I swallow and very calmly state, “Yes, that’s correct, I’m drug-free. Got anything you can share?”

“Really?” (She laughs nervously) “What are you looking for?”

“Oh whatever! I’m easy! Valium? Nitrous oxide? Got any anti-depressants?” I’m obviously kidding. Obviously! (Kinda.)

“Actually I do!  I’m on Lexapro.” my hygienist stage whispers unapologetically, and a little too close for my liking. “I had a really hard time getting pregnant and I think it really messed with my hormones, and then one day, I’m at the gyno, and wham-bam, I just start crying! The next thing I know, she’s handing me all kinds of free samples!  But nothing I’ve tried seems to work, so maybe I should see a psychiatrist. Is that what you do? See a psychiatrist? That’s a really good idea. You know, I’m starting to think that my gyno is probably just handing out whatever the drug reps have recently dropped off and that she doesn’t really know what any of the meds actually do. Do you know what I mean? I have a good friend who’s a nurse and she thinks I’m bipolar, but really highly functioning.  One of the meds I tried made me so crazy I didn’t sleep for 6 days!  But by the seventh day I was so tired that I couldn’t take it anymore, so I went off it.  Now I’m on Lexapro, but I don’t think it is working.

At this point, my spider senses are tingling and telling me to get the hell out of there. But I’m reclined and covered with a blanket, and the TV positioned above my head is scrolling a can’t-look-away-story about a toddler who was eaten by a pack of wild dogs. Or maybe it’s about a toddler and a package of recalled hot dogs. Damn Fox News. It’s scrolling so fast! Who can tell?!

So naturally, this is when Heidi Hygienist reaches into a drawer and pulls out a very sharp metal instrument, supposedly for scraping. And I am lying there thinking, do I really want a supposedly-highly-functioning-improperly-medicated-sleep-deprived-bipolar-person-with-hormone-problems hacking away in my mouth with a sharp tool? No, I do not. But what can I do? I am frozen with fear and icy cold sweat.

She is scraping away and asking me if I drink coffee or red wine. (“Yessh,” I incoherently whimper).  But it doesn’t end there…as she’s working, she stops periodically and just blurts things out like, “GOD!  I feel so stupid!  Of course a gyno doesn’t know anything about brain chemistry!”  (scrape, scrape, scrape) And, “Do you have depression and anxiety? I do! I get so mad sometimes I just feel like I’m going to explode.”  (And she makes this crazy wide-eyed-rage-face like I do when I catch my four year old coloring the carpet with my new lipstick).  I am scared for my teeth and my life.

Eons later, the dentist finally appears.  He greets me quickly and peers into my mouth. Less than two minutes later he leaves and informs the hygienist that he needs me to come back for a longer appointment so he can do some diagnostics.  Looks like a root canal is in my near future.

But definitely not at that place.

Maybe my bad crown isn’t so bad after all.

brushing between meals,


© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris.