My Dental Karma

“She fought her dental woes, and occasionally, she won”, is going up as my Epitaph. Yeah, my dental karma is that bad. Actually, it’s way worse.
I remember when I first caught a glimpse of it as a 7 yr old. Mom had taken me to the dentist for a half broken front tooth – the outcome of running with my younger sister riding me piggyback. It had not ended well. I had stumbled and fallen face down, and my sister had flown off my back and landed on her bum. Through the clouds of dust created by our collectively spectacular fall, I saw my broken half tooth lying a couple of inches away, and my sister, much farther off.

When morning came, Mom marched me off to the dentist where I was made to sit in one of those menacing looking dental chairs. Even before the examination, the whole run-up to it – the big blinding light, dangerously sharp-looking implements, a masked face hovering above me – had me terrified. So, when the dentist asked me to open my mouth, I did the exact opposite and clamped it shut.

No amount of cajoling could change my mind, and to this day I wear my battle scar proudly by refusing to get my half broken front tooth fixed. It is there for all to see every time I smile, and I smile a lot! I love what a former crush once told me. He said, he liked how comfortable I was in my own skin. When I asked what made him say that, he pointed at my “unfixed” front tooth. I smiled.

Fresh insights came when I accompanied Mom to the dentist for her toothache next. I must’ve been in grade 5 at the time. So, when it was her turn to go in, I trailed in right behind her and sat on one of those high stools that are customarily placed in the corner.

The dentist examined Mom and told her it was going to need extraction. He started prepping up and just as he was about to administer the anaesthesia, right there in the dentist chair – Mom fainted! I saw her slump in the chair and the last thing I remember is sliding off the stool before I passed out!

Next thing I knew, water was being splashed on my face and a very worried looking dentist was hovering between my dazed Mom and me. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, I know, right!!

Time went by – I grew up, got married, had kids – and through it all, my dental karma remained consistently bad. The watershed moment came around the time my kids were 4 years old when the dentist at Wellington asked me, “How low is your threshold for pain?” This after he had examining a particularly nasty abscess in my lower left molar.

I remember mumbling out something about needing to use the washroom before fleeing for my life. Outside the dentist’s office, where my husband was waiting, I just said, “I’m going home.” When he quizzed me about it in the car, I told him that I would much rather die of an abscess than go back to the sadistic butcher.

Thus, commenced the hunt for a dentist with some quality bedside manners. That’s when I found Dr Mathson. A man of gentle countenance, he took one look at my tooth and said, “Ma’am, it is beyond rescue. It must come out.”

I told him to go right ahead with the sole condition that I shouldn’t feel a thing. I think the aura of my fear must have been like a halo around me because he replied almost immediately, “It won’t, ma’am. Just trust me.”

He gave me a little white pill to swallow and told me to go for a stroll around the market and return in half an hour. Though a little intrigued by these instructions, the husband and I complied. To be honest, at that point, I would have agreed to climb Everest if it helped.

Anyway, 30 minutes later I was back in the dentist chair. When Dr Mathson asked me how I was feeling, I beamed up at him and said, “I feel wonderful!” I could’ve sworn I saw him smiling behind the surgical mask.

The extraction went off like a dream and I didn’t feel a thing. Three days later when I came back for the review, I politely enquired for the name of the little white pill. You see, by then I had figured out that it was the magic potion I’d been looking for all my life.

Alas, it was not to be as the thoroughly ethical Dr Mathson refused to tell me the name. I guess he didn’t want to risk seeing me tripping around town on those little white uppers. Not that I’ve given up on changing my dental karma because I’ve been burning up Google to find them ever since.

As for when I’m now in the chair now, I start by saying, “We’re going to be careful not to hurt each other, aren’t we Doctor! ” Trust me, it works.

P.S. Dr Mathson, if you are reading this, I’m still on the lookout for those little white pills.

Read more by Rashmi B. Nayar


Picture Credit : Candid on Unsplash

55 thoughts on “My Dental Karma”

  1. Am actually visualizing all the dialogue between the dentist n you..
    I loved how you have turned your woes into fun for us.
    Brilliant ..

  2. Rashmiiii !! You wont believe …i feel the same way about these dentos!!!
    Enjoyed every bit …❤
    Keep up the good work darling .

  3. Mrs Nayar, loved it. I think We all have our fears when it comes to visiting the dentist.
    Enjoyed reading…
    Beautifully written.😘

    1. Thank you so much Aparna…you are so right there’s something about dental visits that’s so relatable :))

    1. Thanks so much Poonam 🙂 Your dazzling smile is proof your trips to the dentist are rare :))

  4. Every article of yours leaves the last one trailing in comparison of sheer quality and depth. I could so relate to it and picture myself sitting in the dreaded dentist chair. We need to see you write more frequently Ma’am.

    1. Thanks a ton Amol…the writer’s block has been playing havoc… hoping to overcome it…thanks again 🙂

  5. Very well written Rashmi…the pain,humor,mothers care and the ultimate Doctors secret white pill….it’s like a chef who always keeps one ingredient up his sleeve…you have lived upto your reputation of being Lady Wordsworth 🌹🌺…..loved it❤️💕

    1. Thank you so much Gen Chetinder…will try to live up to the super motivating title of Lady Wordsworth…thank you for your support always 🙂

  6. Haha . It was as if I was reading my own story. I too broke a tooth and had someone I liked point it out..😄. I fainted when I saw Arjun’s front teeth broken . He was standing on a table and Rohhan Sharma pushed him . Rajivv Sharma took him to the hospital as I was a fainting patient by then.
    Years later I attended a workshop to address my fear and chose to get my broken tooth fixed as a project. And Voila! No fear of the dentists… it helps if they are good looking too.Geetanjali Marya is gentle and gorgeous and Karan is cute 😄
    ‘Lovely write-up. I was smiling throughout 🤗💕

    1. Neetu and Rashmi,.the beauty of stories is that they are so relatable and if they are as funny as these the smiles are double and stay much longer.l recall another one and this one is when Rohhan was all of 8 years and we had gone with a friend’s daughter to a dentist.
      The friends daughter is on the chair and the next moment the doctor is not attending to her but to the one who’s fainted on her, Rohhan..
      Thanks Rashmi for retrieving such wonderful memories and walk down the memory lane.
      Project next…my next question to my dentist… white pills!!!!

      1. Thanks a ton Bela for the support and motivation always 🙂 And I remember your dental story from Jaisalmer…the sequel will be a compilation of Neetu’s and your anecdotes :))

    2. I so loved this Neetu…and thrilled I’m not the only one :)) Very tempted to attend a workshop now…who knows, I just may be able to fix my dental fears without the white pills! Thank you for the motivation 🙂

  7. Lol !! Bhaabhi … ure dental woes are too funny ! U can write a book on all of them !! Was chuckling away while reading ! FYI I want dr mathson’s no plz !!! Keep up the good work 👍🏻😘

    1. Thought I may as well laugh at my dental misery! Thank you Dipali for the support always <3 As for the good doctor's white pills...pucca :))

  8. I guess, u’ve summed up odontophobia or dentophobia like nobody else could. But in the end it’s only a dentist who can help u with ur teeth😁N hats off to Dr. Mathson for giving you a painfree dental treatment.
    Also may be that white pill was just a placebo. So, that u remain relaxed about the whole process that was to follow.😊

    1. Thank you so much Neha 🙂 Odontophobia n dentophobia sound way better than my dentistphobia…hehe. Actually didn’t consider the possibility of it being a placebo, but won’t stop searching still :))

  9. Rashmi , I loved this brilliant read . You are the Pied Piper of Words! Just followed you from the beginning till the end . I have a fear of injections. Next time we meet shall share some hilarious episodes 😂

    1. Love that…Pied Piper of words <3 Thanks a ton Cindi and I'll remind you to share your injection stories for sure!

  10. Lol… love loveee the write up esp the opening and closing parts..! I can relate with you.. though from the dental surgeon’s perspective..!!! 😄
    May u grow from stregth to strength through all your dental woes..! 😁🥂
    P.S. the pill was probably a placebo to reassure you..!

    1. Thank you my favourite dentist 🙂 I have to come to you next for sure! Didn’t realise the possibility of it being a placebo…but not giving up the search just in case…hehe

  11. Loved reading this… And was laughing throughout… I hope you find out the name of that pill so we all can love to visit the Dentist 😉😄

    1. Thank you so much Shradha 🙂 I hope I do…it’s the thought of finding it that keeps me going…hehehe

  12. Rashmi I may sound cruel but I absolutely loved your dental woes, or let’s just say how you recount all the episodes from your childhood till now.
    You make it so experiential that I felt I was there with you on your dental visits. I felt for you when you spoke about your abcess as I have suffered with the same. My dental woes continue nice and strong. Price I pay for the “sweet tooth” or rather “sweet teeth”. I do pray your dental woes end. And do buy an extra box of those white pills of Dr. Mathson, once you find them. Loved your piece.

    1. Thank you so much Sonia…your words mean a lot always <3 I'm realising how universal this dentistphobia is actually...and I think the drill is at the root of it all! Keeping the search going for the sake of all our sweet teeth 🙂

  13. So very well written. I felt as if I’m going through the same event myself…… looking forward to more such enjoyable readings .👍

    1. Thanks so much Renu 🙂 You are blessed with a perfect Colgate smile so no dental woes for you my dear :)) But will pucca tag you in the sequel :p

  14. So beautifully penned dear,can visualize it so clearly.In case u happen to get the white pills name do let us know 😂😂

    1. Thanks so much dear Abha…the search is on…will be sure to tell you when sanjeevni booti is found :))

    1. Thank you so much Neeraa 🙂 Since they are a constant, thought may as well get some laughs out of them :))

  15. Can very well relate to it.Have been visiting the dentist since ages.Might have had more than 100 visits to the dentists till now.
    Beautiful write up,enjoyed reading it..

    1. Thank you so much Seema 🙂 Relieved that I’m not alone in this…and a hug to you to hang in there!

  16. Very well written. I could visualize each of your actions…very humorous. BTW your battle jewel does look very cute👌

    1. Thanks a ton Malathi…love that the story made you think of your dentist sister…pl do forward it to her…would love to know her reaction 😂 P.S. Double thanks for making note of my “cute” battle scar :))

  17. Heehaw heehaw….

    the guffaws must be within ear shot Rashmi..reminded me of my shivery visit to my dentist….many moons ago…my ‘SAVIOUR’ dentist, who had his assistant holding him by the waist, a near tug of war sitation , while the doctor almost lasso’d’ my poor, stubborn tooth….my innocent, unsuspecting mouth forming the letter ‘O’. The feeling of drifting away and passing out but naturally followed soon after.

    1. Hahaha…I can totally visualise it Mrs Sachar. That’s one helluva’ stubborn tooth and what a fight it put up! Poor you though, to be caught in the middle of this tug of war…totally empathise. Thanks a ton for sharing this…love it!

  18. Rashmi an interesting write up of a topic only you could think of and put it across so beautifully. As a reward I suggest you stop searching for the pill . Floss every night and gargle with mustard oil every morning. A group of American dentists introduced me to dental floss in the early eighties as a gesture of appreciation for arranging a visit to the Jaipur medical college. And oil pulling, an ancient Ayurvedic technique is now much in vogue! I can’t remember my last visit to the dentist !!

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