When I was in high school, I had the most traumatic dental experience of anyone I know. Stop reading now if that sort of thing makes you uncomfortable.
When I was 15 years-old, I needed to have my impacted wisdom teeth removed. Since my mother was adamant that I shouldn’t be “put to sleep” for this–as was the recommended procedure– she found someone who was willing to take these teeth out under local anesthesia. This was a very bad thing for me.
When I got to the dentist’s office, they shot me full of Novocain—but then someone with a dental emergency came in. That person was taken care of before me.
When the dentist started working on me about an hour later, I still had the gas (Nitrous Oxide), but the Novocain was starting to wear off. I stood it as long as I could, but he didn’t notice the tears dripping out of my eyes. (To put this in perspective, you should know that I was still dancing then, and my pain threshold was a lot higher then than it is now.)
Since the teeth were impacted—meaning they were grown into the bone—it took a lot of physical work to get them out. The dentist broke a drill bit in my mouth, and I remember him swearing at it. But it felt like he was swearing at me.
I’d finally had enough, and I locked myself in the bathroom of the dental office and refused to come out. (In my defense, when I was 15 this felt like the sensible and logical thing to do.)
My father eventually talked me into coming out of the bathroom and letting the dentist finish (!) –reassuring me that they would give me more Novocain, and that it wouldn’t hurt anymore.
After a couple of weeks, one side of my mouth had healed fine from this, but the other side took months to stop being puffy.
Years later, via an X-ray, another dentist found that I still had that broken-off piece of drill bit in my jaw. It’s now “encapsulated” which means that the jawbone has grown around it. Apparently, having a piece of drill bit left in your jaw by a bad dentist is very unusual.
I heard later that the trauma-causing dentist allegedly had both a coke problem and that he shot himself a few years after my traumatic dental experience, but I can’t confirm either of those things.
So I hope that you can see why I don’t want to go the dentist today, even though I need to have a crown put on a cracked back tooth!