You’ll find that life is still worthwhile if you just smile, Nat King Cole.

I’ve spent pretty much all of my life going to dentists who make me feel uncomfortable.

Dentist #1: My childhood dentist who died. He was a good guy, but I had to stop seeing him because he died. (Continuing our relationship would have been creepy. Illegal, even.)

Dentist #2: The dentist who set up an appointment for a check-up, and then talked me into letting him sedate me and remove two wisdom teeth. When I woke up, he asked if I had a driver. When I said, “No. This was originally scheduled as a check-up.”, he said, “Well, be REALLY careful on your way home.” (I should not have been driving. I realized that when I was about halfway home. This will tell you how loopy I was: I drove past my apartment and straight to McDonald’s, where I tried to order a vanilla shake with my mouth full of bloody gauze. I ended up having to pull up to the window to place my order, and I’m sure I rattled the drive-thru employee with my bloody gauze, swollen face, and inability to speak.)

Dentist #3: The guy in Nashville who told me that he had a friend who could remove six of my teeth and then slap some braces on me to help me lose my migraines forever. That was fine (I had the teeth removed and I had the braces, but I continued to get migraines. Damnit to hell!) until he said, “But be aware that you’re not going to have those pretty fat lips when your braces come off.” Dear Lord, Nashville dentist. Pretty fat lips?!

Dentist #4: The guy who was recommended by a friend and I really really liked him, but he retired less than two months after seeing me for the first time. Argh!

Dentist #5 and #6: The married couple who took over #4’s practice. They were nice enough (although their political opinions are vastly different than mine. Please know that they made their opinions VERY well known, and they assumed I agreed with them. I’ve learned to act like I’m cool with whatever you’re saying if you’re holding a drill and pointing it at my mouth.), but they were highly impatient if you raised your hand because you were feeling pain and needed a break. The final straw came around when #6 didn’t wait until I was numb before he started drilling, and when I raised my hand and said, “I’m not numb.” he slammed the drill down and yelled for the receptionist to schedule more time for me. He then told the assistant that he really didn’t have time for this. And then, because my teeth aren’t the only things that are sensitive, a lonely tear ran out of my eye and dripped off of my ear and I know he saw it, but he remained all cold and weird. And that’s when I started apologizing over and over again. (I KNOW everyone occasionally (or often, even) has a bad day, but I don’t need your bad day to make MY day bad!)

Dentist #7: I used a Groupon. Need I say more? Actually, I do need to say more. This experience was so terrible that after the appointment, I sat in my car outside of a family-owned deli (and a cat clinic) and cried for nearly 15 minutes before I drove home. (I AM EMOTIONAL SOMETIMES!)

Dentist #8: Feeling desperate, I returned to #6. Still the same nice guy with very little patience. (When I asked about whitening, he said, “Why don’t you go to Walgreens and get yourself some strips? You’ll quickly learn that they don’t work and that your teeth just change colors as you age.” OUR PERSONALITIES ARE VERY DIFFERENT, NO-NONSENSE DENTIST!)

Dentist #9: Jeff’s boss’s boss recommended this dentist, and I’m very pleased to say that he will be my Forever Dentist. Broadway artwork on the walls. Vacation photography slideshows in the exam rooms. Hygienists who listen and compliment my hair. An office manager who is super friendly and kind.

Anyway, I went to #9 yesterday morning, and as soon as I walked in the door, the office manager said, “I have something to tell you.”

Me: What is it?

Office Manager (I’m not providing her real name because: Anonymity!): Are you a blogger?

Me (very reluctantly, because I don’t really identify myself as a blogger): Yes.

Office Manger: My daughter in New York knows your blog.

From there, we had a five minute conversation about a website that watches nannies and reports negligent behavior, parenting blogs with questionable commenters, and what it’s like to grow up in the city as opposed to the suburbs. I then went back and had my teeth cleaned and checked out, and was given the Free to Fly for six months. No yelling. No tears. No sedation, no driving drunk, and best of all? No Slingblade-esque comments about my mouth.

Anyway, Yes. It always makes my day when someone else brings up my website. It’s rare, but smiley. Like “I’ve finally found a nice dentist” smiley.

Enjoy the rest of your Wednesday.

NaBloPoMo is tough. Let me know if you need/want anything from me. ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

16 thoughts on “You’ll find that life is still worthwhile if you just smile, Nat King Cole.”

  1. You make me smile! Thank you. I’m glad you found a dentist you like. Mine died a few years ago and I’ve also been struggling also to find one I like. I’m still looking.

  2. I do enjoy your stories! I am very sorry for your dentist troubles, I recently had an old crown replaced very happy with the results. I hope the new dentist continues to work out!!

  3. …although, now that I think of it, my dentist, number four, I think, and a pediatric dentist who specializes in “care for the apprehensive” is a big fan of my blog.

  4. We have had three dentists that died. First one died in a fishing accident. Number two died of a heart attack at 52. Third dentist died of a brain tumor , he was in his forties. When we moved 60 miles south to Olympia from Seattle we found our current dentist. I told him not to die on us. So far so good after 17 years, he is great.

  5. I had a blind date with a dentist once. He brought his mother.

    Too weird for even mid 1980s me.

    So, I married another pharmacist.

  6. If you’re looking for ideas for posts, I would love to see more photos of your new house. And yard. If that’s not too weird. I have new house envy as I can’t move until this summer and I reaaaalllllyyy want to move.

  7. Lordy, that’s a dental saga I hope never to see again! I sincerely hope #9 is the answer for you for a very long time.

    I’ve only had two dentists in my life — one we started using for our family in the 1970s, when my older kid was a teenager, and then that dentist retired and turned the practice over to his son. The younger doc was going to retire, but since he got a divorce he’s decided to keep working (I presume because of finances).

    Sometimes I feel like a bad person for being glad he got a divorce. But I don’t want to have to find another dentist at my age.

  8. I’ve had a similar saga with dentists and endodontists, so I feel your pain! I was “fired” by three pediatric dentists before I found one that worked for my kids, but then THAT went downhill, too. I’d love to hear more about being vegan/vegetarian and feeding your family who may not share your diet.

  9. Second to the more photos of the new place. Don’t worry if there is still stuff sitting around or you are not happy with a certain room. These are the *before* photos :-)

    I evaluate a dentist on how willing s/he is to give me nitrous. Pain = NO!

  10. I love that Forever Dentist’s Office Manager’s Daughter in New York is likely going to read this and will be all smiles about it — as will Forever Dentist’s Office Manager, no doubt!

    Smiles for all. Isn’t that what good dentistry is all about?

    But bad dentists? Gah! I had a really excellent pediatric dentist when I was young, so have always mostly enjoyed the comfy chairs and positive experiences…until my wonderful local dentist’s retirement about 10 years ago forced a string of “trying someone new” (which yes, involved a Groupon at one point — never again on THAT!)

    Crossed Experimental Dentist #3 off the list when he inquired as to whether I might be interested in teeth whitening (What? I thought that was a Hollywood thing/not good for your enamel) When I demurred, he turned to his assistant and loudly requested that she “Make a note that Mrs. McNeill does not care to do anything about those yellow teeth!” (Aieeeeee!!!)

    ((And yes, you bet of course I went straight to the mirror and then to the drugstore. Those strips do work (((at least sort of))) but so does extra-whitening toothpaste…and cutting back on tea/coffee. Sigh.))

    After that I went with “Pretty Good Dentist Who Moved His Practice 40 Miles Away” for a while, which was worth it for him, but I never really needed to see him, and the hygenist who repeatedly tried to interest me in her favorite literary genre which is certainly not mine finally brought me to my senses (as did the current price of gas & concern for the environment — I mean really — an 80-mile round trip for bad literary discussion? Definitely not necessary!)

    Current Pretty Good Dentist has been a racquetball partner of my husband’s for over 40 years, is someone with whom we socialize as a couple, and his hygenist gives me four-star reviews. It’s a little strange (the friendship part) and he’s likely to retire soon, so any hints or tips from fellow readers here on finding the next one will be avidly perused.

    And last but not least…even though we all know this is not a food blog, I too would be more than a little interested to hear of any especially delicious vegan finds or favorites you may have made in that realm.

    Carry on!

  11. Wow, that’s quite the story(ies). I feel for you while enjoying the read because you’re such a GOOD writer! You almost (but not quite) make me envious of your adventures. I’ve had only decent dentist experiences. (Hope I haven’t jinxed that now!)

    I’m waiting for Forever Dentist’s Office Manager’s Daughter in New York to comment.

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