Thursday, January 17, 2008

Another prejudice, the Anti-dentite

I guess my sister recently had some fun times at the dentist with the nitrous because she was afraid of the needle. While I am a needle-phobe a bit, myself, as a future dentist this has provided interesting and humorous experiences on a regular basis.

I think at least half of my patients tell me before I get started, "By the way, I hate the dentist!" Probably not the smartest thing to say before I give you that painful palatal injection...hurt my feelings. At least they say, "THE dentist" and not, "You, dentist." I think they are trying to tell me they are nervous or afraid without pinning it on themselves. It is easier to hate a whole group of people than to admit they don't like the consequences of not brushing their teeth (for the majority that I see). I"ll refrain from any over used Seinfeld jokes. (insert here if you still think the anti-dentite is amusing) I wonder if I would still get patients once I left school if I told them, "I hate people who don't floss."

They also tell me, "I hate needles." I've had some patients tell me to proceed with my work rather than suffer through the needle. I wonder why gripping your chair for four hours (remember, I am still a student) in pain and or anticipation of pain is a more desirable option than a few seconds of pain. We also have topical anesthetic which in some instances, wipes away the pain, anyway. After entering oral surgery, I want to say, "Well, should I skip the injection and start with my scalpel?" Somehow, I bet they hate knives even more.

I have had a few interesting experiences while giving injections. One woman sneezed after every injection I gave (4) along her front upper lip. Another screamed and screamed that I was injecting into her nose (the nerves may make it feel that way, but I promise I wasn't), and another thought I was stabbing his throat when I was aiming for the lower jaw. He "Gagged." Strange. And, funny enough, little old women are the best patients when it comes to local anesthesia. Big jocks are always the biggest babies.

I know that no one likes needles, especially in your mouth. And believe me, I've been there. I suffered through 9 injections in one morning and another round the next year as classmates practiced giving all of the injections on me for the first time (that was scary!). I feel bad but I know the momentary discomfort is me actually being nice! I've seen many patients feel relief from horribly aching teeth or even just avoid the discomfort of the procedure.

So, please try not to hate me for doing my job: controlling your pain! Keep brushing and flossing and you may not have to ever see my injection technique to complain about.


brenna said...

For the record, I not only brush but also floss every night, and I still got a cavity; I'm pretty heartbroken about that. As for them using the needle without my knowledge, that is totally ok with me, i was so high from the gas that I didn't even know what was going on. I recognize it is for my benefit, i just can't help but want to avoid having a sharp implement jabbed into my poor mouth.

I think/hope they gave me white, they didn't ask, but i can't see anything, so i'm assuming white.

Amber said...

I never understood why people hate the dentist until I realized I didn't mind because I have only had one cavity. Last time I went to the dentist, I was a little more apprehensive as I thought I had four cavities. The idea of a possible root canal (x4) was a little scary. Fortunately, I only had 1/2 a cavity--my previous one was leaking or something. I didn't even have to use the needle because they only drilled a tiny bit. Phew. Still loving the dentist.