The Dentist Paradox

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I hate going to the dentist. It’s something I dread with a passion. I literally have to do breathing exercises before I go. Why? Because for a while, I was having problems with cavities. And it’s not necessarily the drilling or the being at the dentist that I hate so much, it’s the fact that for those appointments, I was imperfect. And I couldn’t stand that.

I felt ashamed every time I had a cavity. I felt like I was a bad person for not perfectly cleaning my teeth. Maybe part of that is because my pediatric dentist had a “No Cavity Club”. They’d take our photo with a polaroid every time my sister and I didn’t have cavities. And the first time I had a cavity, she had her photo taken without me. It was like I got booted out of a club for amazing people, and I was no longer amazing. It felt like a Scarlet A.

What I do love is that my current dentist is great and does not make me feel booted out of the club if I have a cavity. He is reassuring, works quickly, and always makes me feel like he’s giving advice rather than giving me a lecture. I am also wildly crazy about flossing and brushing since pregnancy can mess with your hormones and it’s a habit I got into three times while pregnant that I now have not stopped. Thank God I haven’t had any new cavities.

So while I still get anxious so badly that I have to breathe and do meditations and make myself stop clenching my hands on the way to the dentist, I love when my appointment is over. I walk back home with an exhilarated pep in my step, ready to take on the next six months and glad I don’t have to look at that office for the entirety of my time away.

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