Before I begin I would like to say that my dentist is a lovely man that means well – as are, I assume, most dentists – and I in no way mean this blog as an attack against dentists and other dental professionals as a whole.
And now we begin the “ballerina incident”. . .
I have a fear of the dental chair that goes back to my earliest memories. Due to a genetic deficiency of not having the proper enamel on my teeth, I was a regular in “the chair”. In the 70s most of you will know that the fillings were the Amalgam Fillings and not the beautiful composites of today (http://www.ada.org/public/topics/fillings.asp#amalgam) and the entire process was undertaken in a no-nonsense fashion.
After many incidents of pain and stress in the dental chair my parents finally found me a dentist that offered laughing gas as a means of relaxing me. This was a HUGE improvement for me and gave me a few years of less traumatic dental work.
So, what does this have to do with ballerinas? A few years ago I needed to find a new dentist and my friend Carrie suggested hers. He was nice, intelligent and had a reputation as being a good dentist for children which would make him ideal for our family. The problem? No laughing gas and thus ANXIETY. He offered me a prescription for Percocet to take the edge off, so I popped the magical pills before I went to the dentist.
I will admit the anxiety was not crippling and therefore the Percocet had done its job. I sat smugly in “the chair” listening to Bono on my headphones thinking I would finally have a relaxing visit to the dentist without the use of laughing gas.
That is we SHE showed up – yep you guessed it, it was a ballerina. I happened to glance at the wall across from me and there she sat – an adult sized ballerina dressed in full ballerina garb except she wasn’t very lady-like. She looked like a “hard living” ballerina. In other words, her make-up was smeared, she looked dirty and disheveled, she had one leg straight in front of her and one leg bent at the knee with a dirty cigarette hanging out of her mouth. She just sat there smoking and looking at me with her creepy eyes.
The dentist and his assistant entered my room and they didn’t even see her – not for one moment. Not a single person cared that there was a ballerina in my room. It turns out she was my first true hallucination and it was brought on by Percocet. So where does that leave me for tomorrow morning as I head in for more dental work? Do I take a Percocet and hope to avoid anxiety but run the risk of a hallucination (and let’s face it, hallucinations can be much scarier than a silent ballerina) or do I just march into the dentist office with my anxiety in tow?
For the record I am well aware of how ridiculous my fear of dental work is. My 7 year old daughter had a cavity treated just last night with no Percocet, laughing gas, or even numbing shots. She sailed through just fine with no complaints.