As I reclined in the cushioned, comfy chair this afternoon at Toluca Lake Dentistry, I felt irritated. I'd planned on enjoying a 40 minute nap whilst the hygienist cleaned my teeth.
Instead, the lovely (and gentle) Joyce was in a chatty mood. She asked the usual barrage of questions, barely audible through the surgical mask and the perspex face grill that seems to be the standard uniform these days.
How times have changed.
Thirty-five years ago I had such a dreadful experience at the school dentist that scarred me for life. The silver gray van would park in the school playground and we'd be dragged in one by one for a check up. It was where I first experienced the horror of gas. It was also where I first bit the dentist (who I swear had the alchoholic tremors as he went for my tooth with pliers) and where I also got a slap for my trouble. You couldn't get away with that today (the slap - not the bite).
But it started my long terror of going to The Dentist. An appointment, even scheduled months ahead would give me sleepless nights. I'd spend hours throwing up in the loo beforehand. In the end I point blank refused to go. Until I moved to California - the land of the Perfect White Teeth.
Weeks after moving to Los Angeles I was plagued by a brain numbing toothache and surrendered. I asked my colleagues at New Line Cinema if there was a special dental surgery that specialized in weedy people who were scared. And so, my life long love of Dr. Don, Joyce and Toluca Lake Dentistry began.
For my first appointment—just a check-up, no visible tools—I was dosed up with Valium and just felt sleepy. Obviously there was a lot of work to be done but it was all painfree. I didn't even mind the injections of Novocaine. Now I am happy to say that I rarely need dental work and when this afternoon, as I left the surgery and was told I didn't need to come back for 6 months for a cleaning, I felt ... well ... sad.
Is there something wrong with me?