My Dental Woes

“She fought her dental woes, and occasionally, she won.” I want this written on my Epitaph. Yup, my dental woes are really that bad…actually, much worse! 
I remember the time, I must’ve been all of 7 when I got the first dose of my dental woes. I was at the dentist with my Mom for a broken front tooth: a battle casualty from trying to run with my younger sister riding me piggyback. It had not ended well as I stumbled and fell hard, and she flew off my back and landed on her bum. Through the cloud of dust created by our collectively spectacular fall, I saw my broken half tooth lying a couple of inches away and my sister a foot away. It wasn’t pretty! 

The next morning, I was marched into the dentist’s clinic and made to sit in one of those menacing-looking dental chairs. Even before the procedure began, the whole run-up to it: the huge blinding light, dangerously sharp-looking implements, and a masked face hovering above me had me terrified. So when the Dentist asked me to open my mouth, I did the exact opposite, refusing to be cajoled by promises of a treat if I complied. To date, I carry my battle scar proudly, refusing to get it “fixed.” I love what a former crush once told me about it. He said he liked how comfortable I was in my own skin, pointing to my broken front tooth.

Then, there was that time when I was in school and had accompanied my mother for her toothache. I trailed in behind her when she was called in, and sat on one of those high stools that are customarily placed in the corner. The dentist gave Mom the injection before the extraction, and right there, in the dentist’s chair Mom fainted! The next thing I remember, is my face being splashed with water as I slid off the stool before passing out. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, I know!

I grew up, got married, had kids and all through my dental woes remained the only constant. My kids were about 4 when I was asked, “How low is your threshold for pain?” It was the dentist asking me after examining a particularly bad abscess in my left molar. I think I took 15 seconds before I asked if I could step out to use the washroom. Outside the doctor’s office, I told my husband, “I’m going home, you can come along if you want.” 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 that sadistic butcher. Thus, began the hunt for one with better bedside manners.

That’s when I found Dr Mathson. He took one look at my tooth, and announced, “Ma’am, it is beyond rescue. It must come out.” I told him to go right ahead with the sole condition that it shouldn’t hurt. I think the aura of dental fear must have been like a halo around me because he immediately said, “It won’t, ma’am. Just trust me.” He gave me a little white pill to swallow and told me to go around the market and return in half an hour. Though a little intrigued by these instructions, the husband and I complied. At that point, I would have agreed to climb Everest if it would have helped. Back in the dentist chair, he asked how I was feeling. I beamed up at him and replied, “I feel wonderful!”. And he went ahead and pulled out my tooth. 3 days later, when I came back for the review, I asked if I could have the name of the little white pill.

By then, I knew I had found my magic potion for life! Alas, the thoroughly ethical Dr Mathson refused to tell me the name. I guess he didn’t want to take the risk of seeing me tripping around town on those little white uppers. Not that I gave up because I’ve been burning up Google to find them ever since. As for all the dentists, now when I’m in the chair, I start with my favourite opening line, “Now, Doctor, we’re going to be careful not to hurt each other, aren’t we! ” 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

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Picture Credit : Candid on Unsplash

50 thoughts on “My Dental Woes”

  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!

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