When I was a child we used to drive for 45 minutes to see the dentist, not because we lived in the middle of nowhere - there was, in fact, a dentist only 5 minutes from home - but because my dad liked to visit a dentist he went to school with. My dad, who would have a gash in his eyelid sewn up on the side of a rugby pitch and then go back for more rough stuff, was scared of the dentist. Which is, to my way of thinking, intelligent. I mean, what's NOT to be scared of? They stab needles into your gums: scary. They drill holes inside your teeth: scary. Sometimes, if you're really unlucky, they take a mould, and stuff putty into your mouth until you almost choke: terrifying. Yes, it's official, the dentist is probably one of the most frightening and horrible experiences you can have, within the realm of the everyday.
Which is why I like to leave a healthy gap between visits. Twelve years to be precise. Even then I only went to the dentist because Duckers nagged me. (He flosses DAILY, what a goody-two-shoes). The first session included the dire prognosis of everything that was wrong with my teeth, followed by calculations of how many vital organs I'd need to sell to pay for the treatments. All in all, not too bad. In the second session though, things really got swinging. As soon as they propped open my mouth I started hyperventilating and sobbing. They had to sit me up and let me calm down for a few minutes. And this was before the first needle. Then, once the treatment started I was convinced I could feel the drill. They ended up giving me so much novocaine that I was still drooling 6 hours later. That was 2 years ago. Needless to say, I haven't been back. But lately it's been bothering me and I know I need to return to the torture chamber once again. Until I pluck up the courage, this apology is to my teeth: sorry I forgot to take care of you.