More about Being the Client

I was thinking about this when babbling about my hair, then decided that no one was interested. Particularly people I know in Real Life who have heard the lecture before. However, Miss Sarah was just writing about a fear of the dentist, so it is officially worth telling again:

When I was 12 years old, I had two teeth pulled in advance of having braces put on my teeth. I inherited some odd resistance to Novocain from my mother, but when I told the dentist, “My teeth aren’t ready yet,” he yanked them anyway.

It was really painful.

Age 18. New dentist, similar situation.

I didn’t go back to the dentist for five years.

At age 23, I knew I had to get over it. My dad, who is not known for Useful Parental Advice, hit one out of the park. He said:

“You are an adult and you are the client. The dentist cannot touch you without your consent. If you are not being heard, you get up out of the chair and walk out the door. You are allowed.”
It was so simple. But I somehow needed permission from my daddy to feel empowered to assert myself.

Don’t analyze that.

Of course, I never actually got up out of the chair. But I found a new dentist that listened to my whole silly history before even looking at my teeth. He said that I could have all of the Novocain I wanted and he would always stop work if I needed him to stop. (It helped that he isn’t much older than I am.)

I have been with that dentist ever since and am no longer afraid of getting a filling. And, surprise, surprise – I no longer require all that many.

Moral of the Story: If the dentist (doctor, banker, hair stylist, mechanic) makes you feel uncomfortable, find a new one. You are paying for a service and deserve to feel good about it.

3 Comments on “More about Being the Client

  1. Wow! Thank you for writing this. It's so true. I think my terror of my dentist isn't really about him though to be perfectly fair. I just hate getting injections in my mouth. As in frozen with terror. Love your dad's advice. They should have it posted at shopping centres.

  2. I always feel the shots. The first one, the second one, the third one, and then them giving up because they want to go on lunch and don't feel like waiting for me to go numb. Then I feel everything they do. I hate it. I'm resistant to any anaesthetic. When I had to have stitches in my ear? They tried like 7 anaesthetics before they just gave up and just gave me the stitches. I just hope I never have to have a major surgery or anything…..

  3. Sarah:In that case, my best advice is Don't Look at the Needle!Ashley:Wow. My "resistance" means if sometimes require a second shot. I have nothing for you but sympathy.

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