Exactly the type of conversation you dont want to have with your dentist

Ive probably mentioned that Im a nervous dental patient. It seems like the kind of thing that I might mention. Of course the last time I mentioned it was probably the last time I summoned up the courage to go. So for those of you who havent been reading for over three years: Im a very nervous dental patient.

Im a very nervous dental patient even though (or perhaps due to the fact that) Ive been a dental patient quite so often in my short, decay-filled weak-enamelled life.

So I was quite proud on Thursday when I managed to walk into the dental surgery the first time of trying. I was quite proud that I managed to hold the newspaper still enough to read in the waiting room. And I was very proud that I only cried once, sniffling under the sound of the suction hose, tears rolling into my ears, or wiped away with hard blue tissue.

All the way through the root canal work I thought he was doing, I was very brave, I thought. And, managing to make jokes afterward, I mentally promised myself a very large prize for managing to uphold my steely dignity almost all the way through a very tough appointment. Then I asked him what hed actually done.

Well, I decided against the root canal at this point, as it might not be neccessary after all. Also, root canal requires a certain level of

He stopped.

Of what? Time? Money? Patience?

Stillness

Oh

And I thought Id done so well.

Anyway, Ive exposed the nerves on those two, the lower two and the lower four, and thats what you felt back there when you were screaming a bit, no, its ok, completely natural, heard worse – anyway, Ive put a dressing on those, and if that works, Ill see you back here in four or five weeks to replace those fillings with permanent ones

How will I know if it doesnt work?

He laughed, unreassuringly.

Oh, youll know

Oh. Ok. So if it works, Ill come back in five weeks. And if it doesnt work?

Well, Im here tomorrow

Um

And Monday. First thing. Have you got painkillers? How strong are they? Here, let me prescribe you some more, these are very strong.

And somehow, all my pride and sense of fulfillment disappeared. As did, briefly, my sense of quite liking the dentist.

Straight. Out. The window.