I had wickedly crooked teeth as a kid, and my parents forked out the money to get me braces. Which is something I'll be eternally grateful for, without a doubt. Unfortunately, visiting the dentist once a month for two years has left me with an ever growing fear of that metal instrument-welding spawn of Satan.
Well, maybe "Spawn of Satan" is too harsh. My dentist was actually a super nice guy, and I went to him (very sporadically) even after I turned 18 and was too old to go there because he still gave me stickers and a new packet of floss each time. I even went back to his office to get XRays for both of my wisdom teeth removal adventures.
Somehow though, through the years of endless fittings and metal mouth and snapped wires and bleeding gums and wisdom teeth removals, I've slowly become terrified of going to the dentist. I'm not really sure why; I think it might be the sounds and the smells and the tastes and the dislike of having someones fingers in your maw and then they ask you a question and chuckle when you "aaahh mmmnnnii eehh" your Baleen whale response. So really, it's everything.
Thus, I haven't been to the dentist in years. I've lost track, but I think it's probably 4 or 5 years since I've gotten a flouride treatment, good cleaning, or filling. Even the thought of sitting in that chair gives me chills now. I am seriously scared to go see one. Like, numbing, paralyzing fear. I can't even watch oral surgery on tv, and I normally love blood and guts and gore and watching those televised OR cases.
Today, while brushing (and flossing, thank you very much) I was pondering the state of my teeth and decided that I really do need to see a dentist. I'm 24 years old, own a new car, rent my own apartment, have a career-type job, and pay for my own health insurance. I should be old enough to make my own dental appointment, one would think. So I gave myself a long pep talk about the benefits and necessity of regular exams. I thought of my friend AB from nursing school who is also a dental hygienist, who reminds me often that I need to get my butt in gear. I thought of the likely cavities lurking in my mouth, and how I don't want my teeth to fall out and I should take care of myself better. Man up, I told myself.
Seriously, my pep talk lasted a good 20 minutes. I finally Googled some dentists around here, picked a decent looking one, and held my cell phone with the number dialed in for a solid five minutes before I pressed send.
It rang, and rang. And rang.
And then it dawned on me.
Today is Sunday.
It might take me another year or two to work up the courage to try again...