When I was a kid I LOVED going to the dentist.

(this is not me)

I loved everything about it — having my teeth cleaned, the scraping sound of the tools on my teeth. Even fillings were fun because I got to have a numb tongue and lips.

I’ve maintained a healthy feeling toward dentists over the years, always wondering what everyone’s hang up is about the dentist.

It’s a well known fact that a vast majority of people are afraid of the dentist.

There are even support groups for it.

Some dentists have distractions like TV or music to keep the stress level down during a visit.

Others just use laughing gas.

Like I said, I’ve never really had a problem with it. So I’ve never had laughing gas.

I even once had a cavity filled without even being numbed first.

It just didn’t bother me.

Until now.

Today I made a visit to the dentist.

Everything bothered me.

The scraping sound on my teeth, the drilling, even the shot to numb my mouth was stressful.

As the novacane was being injected in my gums I felt my heartrate increase.

I felt jittery like a reporter hopped up on too much caffeine.

I began to worry that something was going wrong.

“Maybe I’m having an allergic reaction?” I thought.

I’ve never been allergic to anything in my life, but maybe after not having novacane for a few years I’d built up some kind of horrible reaction to it.

Maybe I was going to die.

Then the dental assistant told me they were just going to use water to clean out behind one of my gums. That sounds all well and good until you see the apparatus he was using. It looked a little like one of these:

When he was finished and they started in on the cavities I opted to wear my iPod.

And the entire time all I could do was wish I was back at home in bed.

I wonder if society has made me fearful of the dentist.

Or if my knowledge of what is actually going on is what bothers me now.

Or maybe it’s just that I don’t have a sugar-free lollipop and a “Wow! You were such a good patient!” to look forward to at the end.