Dear John…

Dear Mr Dentist,

Every few months, I would hear the drop of letters on the doormat and rush down to see my name emblazoned upon the envelope, only to discover that it was from your good self. In an instant all those hopes and dreams were shattered as I realised that you are trying to claw me, and my wallet, back into your clutches.

I fell off the radar when I went to uni and then I found another mistress; an NHS dentist advertising their wares just along the road. So I trundled off to your free equivalent only to be told that I had to have my wisdom teeth out. He didn’t have the same soft touch as you; he was less understanding about my fear and there was no soothing whale music to be found anywhere.

After a couple of attempts, all of which were fumbling and nerve-ridden, I was referred to the hospital where I could have my wisdom teeth removed under general anaesthetic. That was the best experience ever. If only every dentist visit was like this; I have no memory of the experience whatsoever and I was drugged up to the eyeballs so I had no pain afterwards either! Ok, so I didn’t know whether I was coming or going and I definitely shouldn’t have been allowed to drive, but altogether, it was a great experience.

After a bit of dillying and dallying, I decided that it was best to end our relationship before either of us got any deeper. In truth, I wasn’t overly happy with the way you had been treating me and when you filled my mouth with fillings, that was the last straw. We had been through some good times and some bad times and I thought it was better to quit whilst we were ahead. I was young and at uni, I didn’t need to be tied down to the harsh realities of fillings and dentures, so with a flick of tail and a shake of my head, I went off into the sunset, leaving him behind.

Now I was undetectable! I was never going back to the slightly under qualified, NHS dentist and you had no idea where I had gone. I was invincible! I lived like this for a long time, never worrying about my teeth. Ok, they might hurt occasionally, but I would just attack them with my toothbrush and off we would go again. Everything was good.

Until that day. You know the one, when you got one of your minions to ring me up. You knew that I wouldn’t be able to turn down one of your mistresses like I could ignore a letter. So, I had an appointment. I waited a reasonable amount of time and then I rung you up and cancelled it. You saw me coming though, didn’t you? You rang me back up before I’d even got out of the door to rebook the appointment. So, the dreaded day came and with the threat of an £80 charge if I didn’t make it, I came along to see you.

It was ok, you took me back into your fold like an old friend. All those bitter words and harsh events brushed aside as I sat back in your chair and tentatively opened my mouth. The soft sounds of the whales calling and chattering to one another began and I started to relax, slowly unclenching my fists. But then, just like all relationships that are patched up, it started to fall apart when you got a little closer. After a little bit of subtle poking around, you suggested that we see other people. I can’t pretend that it didn’t hurt; I didn’t want to show you what it meant to me, I just smiled and pretended to be relieved that I could escape your clutches.

Going from you to Libby, the hygienist, was a little like jumping from the frying pan and into the fire. I thought that you put me on edge, but that was before I met Libby. I got the same familiar clammy palms and shaking knees that I got around you, but once I sat in her chair I began wishing for you and your whale music.

Libby introduced herself with a short demonstration of flossing, by which I mean that she spent some time trying to implant small pieces of twine from betwixt my tooth and my gums. She was quite forward and didn’t have your reassuring touch; I had barely put on the spit guard before she was getting to work with an electric drill and a Karcher. She tried to soften the blow by talking inanely at me, but I have never felt shame quite like it when she was asking me about my other relationships, whilst I tried desperately to mop the blood and spit from my chin, chest, forehead and neck. This brings another point to mind, how am I meant to answer questions when she is busy winding her wrists around my molars?

I make it sound as though our meeting was all unpleasant; don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of nice moments during our meeting. Small talk covered all manner of topics like periodontitis, which is apparently what I’ll get if I don’t carry on paying Libby for her “services” every six months. She offered me a few drinks and criticised me on some of my favourite tipples. I told her of my love for a little shot of Listerine now and then, which she told me was incredibly dangerous. Apparently my love of Listerine is giving me third degree burns across my gums and throat. So Mr Dentist, I’m not sure that Libby is the woman for me. Although I thought you and I were not a match made in heaven, it only took an afternoon in the company of Libby to make he wish I could come back to you.

I’m so sorry that I thought I could do better than you. All I can ask is that you can trust in me again; I thought the grass was greener on the other side, but I was so wrong. Please Mr Dentist, I may still shake and stammer in your company, but I trust you and I will try and overcome my fear of you.

A Silly Dentaphobic.

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