My dentist when I was a child was called Dr Payne.
You would think that would put the fear of God in me, but I always LOVED going to the dentist. I was always so good at looking after my teeth. I was brought up to look after them well, or more like kind of scared into it by my Dad having false teeth and not wanting to end up like that. He would take them onut of his mouth and pretend to put them on me. It was the WORST. Every time I went to the dentist, Dr Payne would tell me how good my teeth were. No issues. Brilliant.
My milk teeth just wouldn’t fall out, though. My friends all had many visits from the tooth fairy and there I was at 8 years old with a full set of milk teeth . My second set was starting to grow behind them. I already had my bottom two teeth fully formed behind their baby counterparts. Eventually, Dr Payne said I needed to have my bottom 4 baby teeth out.
Off I trotted to the hospital for x-rays and it was all very exciting. I had to sit on a big chair and bite down on this thing while the nurse shot what looked like a gun at me.
I was a paranoid child and was convinced it was a real gun and that it was a big conspiracy to shoot me dead. I had Truman show syndrome as a child. Which is funny because the movie didn’t exist then, but I always had this fear in the back of my head that everyone who knew me was putting on act for me. My friends were being paid to be my friend and then go home and watch me on TV. A bit psycho, yes? Or maybe just self-absorbed, thinking the world revolves around me. Not much has changed in that department. Heh.
So the lady shot the gun-shaped thing at my face and I didn’t die. So that was a small victory on my part. Then I saw x-rays of my teeth! X-RAYS! Fantastic.
Next, I had to go and have them taken out. I wasn’t scared at all, strangely. I had 4 needles put into my gums and it tingled slightly. Then out they came. I remember feeling the pressure as Dr Payne tugged at my jaw. As if it would snap. But when the snap came, it was just my teeth. Another small victory.
I got to use that mouthwash they always have by the dentist chair which I ALWAYS WANTED TO DO. My friends said it tasted like blackcurrant juice, but it didn’t. It just tasted all medical. I think they were lying and had never actually tried the mouthwash.
I took my teeth home and put them in a jar in water. I made a sticker for them and everything. Every time I lost a teeth after that, I added it to the jar. I’m sick, yay!
One day we tried to book an appointment, and Dr Payne’s was closed. There was a note on the door saying he had retired. Without warning. He was just gone.
It’s weird how when you’re a child you don’t fear things. A couple years ago, I finally got registered with an NHS dentist and I was terrified. I was shaking at the appointment, the dentist noticed and asked if I was nervous! When I was told I had to have a filling, I thought I would die.
I left it 7 years without going to the dentist, which I think is why I was so afraid. I was worried he would say I needed to have all my teeth out. One thing I’ve learnt from that is to never wait that long before going to the dentist again. It can be tricky getting in with the NHS, You could always consider going somewhere like The Old Spire, a beautiful old church that is now a dental practice not far from Leeds. They off free consultations, too!
Everyone deserves a nice smile. So look after your teef.
Are you afraid of the dentist?