The Worst Pain at the Dentist

When I was in high school (or maybe college?) I had a wisdom tooth removed before the Novocain had fully set in. Until recently, I ranked it as the second worst pain in my entire life, when it dropped to third place to make room for… all of this. Otherwise, though, I usually find the dentist to be relaxing. Yeah, that steel hook hurts when it slips and jabs you in the gumline. Yeah, it’s not great to stretch your mouth that wide for that long. But it’s a good feeling to have those little plaque bits scraped free. That tink-tink sound and scraping… the cleaning of my teeth… it pushes a soothing button, like pressure-washing the driveway does.

Today, after the cleaning, my dentist came in to do the final inspection and she put her hand on my shoulder. “I just wanted to tell you that Rachel had nothing but good things to say about you on her last visit. She said you’re a good man, but it just didn’t work out.” Cue a cognitive distortion, and a massive grounding effort as I try not to lose my shit in the dentist’s chair.

So… that wisdom tooth… fourth place now. It’s also going to be hard to find a new dentist I like as much as this one.

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