I have got to visit the dentist today. Or an endodentist. One of those specialists that can do things regular dentists can’t. Something with a root channel. The cause is a rather big cavity in one of my molars. Which, in turn is caused by myself.
I don’t take care of my teeth properly. Or any other part of me, I suppose. I manage to shave and clean, but that’s as far as my efforts usually go. If I were living alone I would adopt the hobo look and feel in a heart beat.
Why? “Don’t you care about yourself?” Well, not really. It often feels like the physical body I have, doesn’t feel like “me.” I mean, I know it is. I’m not some spirit piloting a mech of skin and bones. I know what I see on the outside is also part of me.
But I feel a sort of disconnect to it, and a lack of interest in taking care of myself. Does that make sense? It’s like I care more about what goes on in my head. Which isn’t too stellar either, but that’s besides the point.
Anyhow, because of this I am visiting that special dentist guy today. And it is the perfect form of anxiety triggers for me, which kept me awake all night. Let me try and sum them up, in no particular order.
First of all, I need to visit a dentist I have never been to. That means I will be dealing with a new person I never met before. And there won’t be anyone to introduce me to him. It’ll just be my awkward self.
Second of all, I will need to find out the rules for this dentist place. Where is it located? What door do I need to enter. Where do I sit to wait? Do I introduce myself to the secretary? So many things to worry about, once I get there.
Third of all, the procedure. I heard that it takes at least 45 minutes, and that it’s a complicated ordeal. And I already don’t like dentist visits, because they are so uncomfortable.
You have to sit there in an awkward position. I have to try and keep my mouth open, which is smaller than you’d expect. No, really, I have a small mouth. So small that not even my adult teeth fit in it. My teeth are still a mess after braces as a result.
On top of that you get to be physically close with a stranger. It’s like he’s in your face the entire time. I’m hilarious, I know. Then there’s all the activity going on in your mouth. The devices they’re storing in there. And trying not to think of choking on my spit or the urge to swallow things. Honestly, the drilling and the needle are the least of my concerns. I don’t particularly care about that part of the treatment.
Number four (I think?) is the social awkwardness. Other than the fact that I’ll be awkward as fuck, I feel like I will be terribly judged by the dentist. That he will think that I am a horrible human being for letting that happen to my tooth. I know this one is ridiculous because they are too busy to care about one specific client. And he’s a specialist. He’s literally in the business of taking care of problems like my own. If I didn’t have this problem we would not even be meeting in the first place. But I’ll still be judged.
Then there’s the route to the dentist. I have been in the vicinity of his office a lot. Never been to his office, but that is nothing Google Maps can’t fix. And yet I felt the need to look up the route and the time it would take me to get there. I am also picking up my mother along the way. Real mature, I know. I won’t be taking her inside the actual office, but I want her to tag along for the ride so she can help me find a parking spot. After that she can head to the nearby city center and drink a coffee or as many coffees as time permits while I am being tortured by the dentist.
After all of that is over, I will need to pay. How will that happen. Does he accept cards? I only have €20 in my pocket and I am not going to withdraw more because I don’t even know how much it’s going to cost. And how much *is* it going to cost? I will probably be able to get a good chunk of the costs back from my insurer / the government (yay, socialism) but seeing the money dissapear from my bank account will trigger a new round of financial anxiety. Because yes, that’s a thing for me. I am deeply concerned by all things financial, not just for me but for my immediate family members. So having to pay 200-300 because I never took care of my teeth will be a blow.
By the time I am publishing this post, I have already visited the dentist. Finding his practice was rather easy, and although a dentist visit will never be a pleasant endeavour it went well. He also let me pay by card *and* I already ran to the insurance office to get paid back.
The dentist was an older man, and although he didn’t say much he was kind. Before I arrived my mother got a phone call from a friend, who thought it was a good idea to tell me that he was “really rough”. Great. Thanks. Really encouraging. I didn’t really experience it that way. Maybe it’s because I don’t particularly care once I am number in my mouth. Let the man do what he’s got to do, right?
All in all it went better than my anxiety predicted. On the downside, I will need to visit hom again. But at least I know what to expect next time around.