I grew up visiting the dentist once a year. Dad had pretty good insurance through the school district, so Mom made sure we always got our checkups. You all know I grew up in small-town Utah, so when it came to having someone drill our teeth, there was only one game in town...Doc __. I absolutely remember his name, but I'm leaving it off on purpose and I'll tell you why.
I never like the smell of the dentist's office, but not the same way I dislike it now. As a kid, our dentist's office smelled like alcohol...and I don't mean the rubbing kind! He was generally pretty drunk when he was working on our teeth.
I was about 9 or 10 years old the first time I had a tooth pulled. It was pretty decayed and the dentist said it would fall out soon anyway. So we scheduled a time and when that day came around, Mom wasn't able to go with me for some strange reason. The dentist's office was about 2 blocks from my house and since it was in the mid 1970s, no one even considered that I might not be safe. I walked over by myself, sat in the 6-seater waiting room, and when it was my turn, I climbed in the chair.
I was not happy! Doc numbed me up (or so he thought) and then waited for a few minutes for the medicine to kick in. Then he started twisting and yanking. When I protested...LOUDLY!...he gave me another shot of Novocaine and a few more minutes. When he came back, he again pulled out the pliers. I wiggled and squirmed while he assured me there would be no pain. (He was wrong!)
When he was finally finished, he handed me a little envelope with my tooth in it. He had packed my jaw with gauze since it kept seeping blood everywhere. I bit hard on that little cotton roll, grabbed the envelope and literally ran out of the office. Tears streamed down my face and I promised myself I would never step foot in that torture chamber again. At least I had the reassurance that the tooth fairy would be visiting later. I opened the tiny envelope and peaked inside. That tooth was broken in half from the effort of pulling it and it still had two long roots that had stubbornly refused to leave my mouth.
We love our pediatric dentist now! He does a great job with the kids. Baby Doll had her first checkup this week. Scout and Curly also visited with the dentist and neither one had any cavities. Curly was very cooperative, but Scout did NOT want her teeth brushed. I guess I'm the meanest mom ever, because I insisted they brush her teeth even though she would have been more than happy to just leave. Maybe it's the way I was raised, but you don't get out of the dentist's chair without experiencing a little pain...and the smell of alcohol.