7 Quick Takes—Entry In The Annals Of Terrible Experiences At The Dentist

7 Quick Takes—Entry In The Annals Of Terrible Experiences At The Dentist September 6, 2019

Goodness, what a week, and I still haven’t even started school.


On Wednesday morning I toddled off to the Dentist, as I am always doing now, having something like 8 or 10 cavities. They can only be filled one at a time because after about 15 minutes I start to gag and throw up on myself and others. This time, as the office assistant invited me to sit in the shabby green chair and prepared to put the pink, plasticky bib over my large, bulky, and unattractive sweater, she let me know that the Dentist was, “in a good mood.”

Boy was he.


First of all, you should know that this dentist sings at his work. Whatever is gently lofting over the airwaves–soft rock or pop like Billy Joel and the like–he can be found singing along, with words and everything. Second, you should know that he is basically a kindly older man. In sitting in the waiting room I have watched him go out of his way to accommodate the dysfunctional, the person he knows will not show up, the person who has made a lot of bad decisions in life—all of them more dire than not flossing. Third, you should know that he is pretty strange. As in, you could probably only meet him in this kind of town. This I not your run of the mill dentist.


So, when he shuffled over and looked at my chart, his back to me, and stared down at my name, you shouldn’t think that he is malign, or that he is capable of premeditated rudeness. Which actually makes the shock of his greeting rather more than it otherwise might have been. Here is how he greeted me (stolen from my facebook post of that morning).


Dentist (whom I have met and who has my chart in front of him): Is your name Little Annie Fanny?
Me: I beg your pardon?
Dentist: Little Annie Fanny?
Me: No.
Dentist: Not today?
Me: Not Ever.
Dentist, crestfallen: Oh.


So, you probably shouldn’t google that name, because it’s super inappropriate. I read the whole Wikipedia article in wonder and astonishment, and then went back and read my old blog posts about Hugh Hefner, just to remind myself of what kind of world it is that I inhabit.

The question is, as this is technically, according to all kinds of professional standards and other kinds of definitions, “sexual harassment,” what should one do?


My plan, because I have to go back shortly, is to inquire of this person who has the power of the drill and the needle, if he really meant to mention such a person—fictional or otherwise—in the same moment as considering the rotting tooth inside my mouth. Was it just some sort of word association trick? Did he mean anything by it?

For me, of course, going and sitting in that chair is a tense and unpleasant experience. I am, one might say, at a serious disadvantage. On the other hand, if this dentist were to get in trouble because of me, because of the poor nature of this particular dentist establishment, I would be guaranteed to fall into the hands of a worse dentist than this one, one who would not fill my tooth in 15 minutes, knowing how difficult it is for me to keep from being ill.


Dentistry is one of those sufferings that keeps me being Christian. Whenever I think of what it might be like to go to hell, I reconsider the relationship I have with Jesus, and how necessary it is that I continue to trust in him in all things, because when I think of literally having to gnash my teeth for eternity, my heart fails me.

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