A dentist checks the teeth of a patient.
A dentist checks the teeth of a patient. FILE

My dental gratitude

DENTIST. A word that strikes fear in the heart. Yet I have to report that my dentist is so caring, gentle and considerate that my dental 'journey' has become entirely bearable.

I'm not crazy. I won't go as far as to say I long to go to the dentist, but I can say that it's OK.

My dentist is gentle and considerate and does helpful things such as tell me what she's doing and how long it is going to take. She uses phase such as "only three more seconds”. She sings softly as she works, she does countdowns. It's such a relief.

There are some who clean their teeth madly before the appointment in the hope the dentist won't see months of casual cleaning practices. But when you are in the chair with your mouth wide open and your gums exposed, it is a rather vulnerable moment.

You may attempt to hide behind the (hopefully dark) protective glasses, attempt to not dribble and drool, but in truth, in this stage of your dental journey, all lies and pretence is out there to see.

There are many, many stern messages about the importance of dental health and flossing. They are both frightening and boring. Honestly, if you took seriously even half of the bossy health notices around, you would wonder how you manage to stagger on in your filthy, ill-kempt life. I was at a health clinic recently and began to count up the number of boldly written, brightly coloured instructive notices. I gave up around 34.

I learned that I sneezed badly, was terrible at washing my hands, stood the wrong way, inhaled passive smoke, was careless about how I sat - and don't even get me started on what terrible food choices I appear to have been making for most of my life.

These strongly worded notices could make you feel miserable if you believed them.

Fortunately, there were so many they cancelled each other out and I was free to take on board the important information you get in waiting rooms: the lives of the stars and their clothing/holiday/partner/ lifestyle choices.

To have a gentle and kind dentist is one of life's gifts. When she suggests I floss more often, I willingly say I will, and I mean it.

I really do.

I want to impress her with my commitment to my dental journey.

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