I’m not one to be afraid of going to the Dentist. Never have been. Maybe that’s because I’ve not had too many terrible things happen in the dentist chair.
One horrible emergency wisdom tooth removal experience on Christmas Eve when I lived in London. It wasn’t so much the removal, as I was completely in lala land for that one, but more for the intense pain of the tooth needing to be removed.
Then there was the other wisdom tooth that had to come out and I opted for a local anaesthetic because how bad could it be, right?
Wrong! One of the worst experiences of my life and to top it off I got an infection that had me in bed for a week afterwards with a heat pack on my head the whole time.
But besides those things, nothing else particularly horrible. I’ve always loved getting my teeth cleaned, that shiny, silky, minty freshness of sparkly clean teeth.
Today, however was the first time back to the dentist since Covid and lockdown. There was a different feeling in the air. I had to remain outside the locked dental office while I waited, there were clear screens everywhere and my extremely welcoming, softly spoken lovely dentist was in PPE from head to toe where I could only see her eyes, kinda, there was a general feeling of disorder to the overall place and I had slight anxiety entering as I knew I was there to get several fillings.
More destruction left from lockdown.
Once I was laid out in the chair, I sat and received the numbing needles and they gauzed my mouth ready for the fillings a huge wave of nausea came over me.
My tongue automatically pushed the gauze out of my mouth and as my dentist started to ask me what was wrong I broke down in tears. Big wet sobbing, ugly cry tears. I couldn’t stop them. The emotion just like a wave came over me and I could not control them. It was like the last several months of lockdown had finally caught up with me.
The isolation, not being able to travel, not seeing loved ones, home schooling, trying to manage work, a baby and relationships all came tumbling down over me in one fell swoop…in the dentist chair. I had no where to run, my mouth was numb, I had those ridiculous glasses on and the chair was propped up high.
I just had to sit there and cry. Cry with my dentist.
It made me realise how intense the last 12 months have been for everyone. It is so not normal what we have all been through and I think sometimes we believe or we are being told we should just be able to get back on the horse and keep going as if nothing happened. Keep on keeping on.
I really feel like we can all cut ourselves some slack, pat ourselves on the back and appreciate that we made it to right where we are now.
I ended up getting my fillings and as I stared at the ceiling trying to imagine myself getting a tan somewhere in Italy, I noticed a pattern on the ceiling tiles and it made me think of a background I would like to try out in my next painting. So with a numb face, a huge dent in my bank account and a slightly awkward moment with my dentist, I took my little thread of inspiration and I went home and I started painting.
“What happened happened, and couldn’t have happened any other way … because it didn’t.” -
— Peter Crone