Freak Out in the Dentist’s Chair


This morning I had the blessed joy of getting fitted for not one, but TWO crowns. A double coronation. One tooth has been a candidate for a crown for years, but hasn’t caused any problems, so the dentist said not to worry about it. But a few weeks ago, a big piece broke from a neighboring tooth. It requires a crown to repair, and it made sense to just do both of them.

The thing I hate–and let me stress, “hate” is an accurate word, is “dread”–is that insidious rubber dam they put into your mouth. I guess it makes a dentist’s life easier. But it triggers all of my claustrophobic impulses. All of them. They are legion.

My dentist apparently noticed my white-knuckle grip on the chair as he prepared to insert the loathsome thing. He said he would work quickly.

I told I would try not to freak out, but couldn’t guarantee anything. The words “freak out” caught his attention. He said he thought he could do the necessary procedure without the rubber dam…and he did, just fine.

All that to say: dear patient, we have options. And no dentist wants to see a patient freak out.

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