I feel like we all have our little quirks… some reasonable and some not so reasonable, but each of us possess idiosyncrasies unique to our wonderful, varied personalities.
One of my quirks that leaves Mark baffled and slightly irritated is the fact that I willingly drive an hour one way to visit the dentist. Mark and I live at the south end of Phoenix and Dr. Anderson works out of the northern most part of Phoenix, just shy of Anthem. If you’re familiar with Arizona you will understand Mark saying, “Drive safe to Flagstaff!” each time I have a tooth cleaning. Teeth cleaning? Mouth cleaning? Oral cleaning? Wait.. what IS the correct phrase? They all sound weird.
A few years ago (before Dr. Anderson) I’d been going to the same dentist for YEARS. He was super nice and I’d never had a bad experience and then one day…
Ok, first of all, I am terrified (like most people) of having my teeth worked on- it’s painful, there’s just no two ways about it. (Although I did hear once about a lady who was born without nerves in her teeth and whenever she went to the dentist they never had to give her Novocaine- she couldn’t feel a thing. Which sounds insane, but, heavens, the good Lord smiled upon that woman and I’ve been insanely jealous of her ever since I heard that story. Isn’t it funny to think I commit a sin each time I covet her lack of tooth pulp? I believe that’s breaking the Tenth Commandment. For me, the Teeth Commandment.)
Back to my previous dentist. I was in the chair getting ready to have a cavity filled. He pulled the syringe from behind his back and inserted it into my gum. I tried telling myself to breathe calmly as I felt the pain of the needle when all of a sudden the right side of my face began burning as if it had caught fire. As imaginary flames licked their way across my skin, my eyesight began to dim and suddenly everything went black.
I screamed and the dentist jumped and pulled the syringe from my mouth.
“I CAN’T SEE!” I screeched, thrashing around. “AND MY FACE IS ON FIRE!!! My cheeks are melting off!!! Are my lips still there??? AHHHHHHHHHH!!!”
It was one of the most painful, bizarre sensations I’ve ever had and… enormously terrifying. I could hear hygienists and assistants running in from other rooms and they pinned me down and reassured me that I still had a face. The dentist placed a heavy, calming hand on my shoulder and gently told me all that had happened was he’d accidentally hit a nerve and the pain would subside soon and my eyesight would return momentarily. He grabbed one of my flailing hands, placed a small mirror in my palm and closed my fingers around it.
After about sixty seconds my vision began to return- grey, blurry, foggy- shapes began to materialize, a bit of light shining from the corners. My face, fortunately, went from scorching to sizzling to roasting to pin pricks to normal rather fast. With trepidation, I raised the mirror up- I could make out my features in obtuse angles and was relieved to see I did not look anything like that horrible Gestapo dude in Raiders of the Lost Ark whose face melted off at the end of the movie.
So that whole experience was fun.
Obviously, I was traumatized and never went back even though I’d had a good relationship with the dentist. I was just too scared of something like that happening again.
A few weeks later I was talking to my awesome stepmom, Cyndi, and she told me she never even feels anything when she gets a shot. No pain at all. When I asked her how that was possible she explained that her dentist used something called “The Magic Wand”. She said The Magic Wand uses a teeny, tiny needle and, once it’s inserted, a computer slowly regulates Novocaine going into the body.
This sounded FANTASTIC to me so I immediately went home and called Cyndi’s dentist but they told me they didn’t accept my type of insurance. Not to be deterred, I turned to Google to see what other dentists in Phoenix use The Magic Wand.
And do you know what I discovered? THE MAGIC WAND IS A VIBRATOR. (And it’s getting really good reviews according to all the sites that popped up on my screen.)
A bit taken aback, and totally giggling, I then Googled “The Magic Wand Dentist” and prayed Google wouldn’t send me freaky dental porn. Although it crossed my mind if there were such a thing that would be kind of funny. Like they could call the movie “Dr. Sexy Drills a Love Cavity”. Or something like that.
An article called “The Wand Does Magic for Patients Scared of Needles” came up first in my search and, ecstatic, I clicked on it. BINGO!
The Magic Wand is actually just called The Wand. Although the definition of Magic Wand is, according to Merriam Webster, “a stick that is used to make magic things happen”. So I think that applies to both painless shots AND a vibrator. Amirite?
My next step was to Google which dentists use The Wand in Phoenix and it turned out there were only THREE, one of them being Cyndi’s dentist, so he was out and I was down to two dentists to choose from. I chose the one closer to me in central Phoenix but he was not getting good reviews at all. So I clicked on Dr. Anderson and even though she was an hours drive away, I chose her because she was getting rave reviews, because she used The Wand and because she accepted my insurance.
And, sure enough, after a few visits, I learned that The Wand is indeed a painless gift from God. Dr. Anderson is kind and gentle and she has TV’s on the ceiling so I can watch Friends while I’m getting drilled on (which is not often, thank goodness) (also, insert porn joke).
So when people ask me if it’s worth it to drive an hour to my dentist I always answer with a resounding YES and I tell them all about The Wand and they’re intrigued.
Except my one friend who was confused. She looked at me in shock and said, “They put a vibrator in your mouth to numb you???”
Well, at least that wouldn’t make me go blind or catch my face on fire. Talk about quirky.