I love going to the dentist. It may be because I've never had a bad experience at the dentist. Dental visits in my childhood are unremarkable: a couple of fillings here and there, but nothing traumatic or special to make me fearful.
I had a dental appointment with my new student dentist before winter break and it was awesome. I love being pampered and to me, a dental appointment is time to sit back and relax while being taken care of! Sitting in the chair for the first time since starting clinic, I learned a couple of things.
- When putting the rubber dam on, flossing in between teeth hurts. Be gentle!
I have some tight contacts and when the floss snapped to my gums, it hurt a lot more than I expected. I had never had a rubber dam placed before so that was an entirely new experience.
- Light flashing in your eyes? Painful.
Every time my dentist moved the light from shining in my face, I was so grateful. And I relaxed immediately.
- Phosphotic acid etchant tastes really sour, like lemons.
I have never tasted the etchant so I was surprised by how sour it tasted. Patients always comment on how something tastes: the etchant, alginate impression material, fluoride varnish... It's now totally understandable how a strong taste can feel invasive and scary.
But this is also something that's different for every patient. Maybe they prefer to relax and fall asleep. Many of my patients will fall asleep in the chair and jerk around. I've learned to have a strong hand rest, especially when holding a drill!
Sometimes we dental students get embarrassed about having cavities: we should know better! But I think having cavities every once in a while is good. Maybe better if you've had a root canal. For the same reason we practice anesthetic injections and nitrous oxide on each other, it's entirely different when we are the patient sitting (nervously) in the chair.
Chocolate and gummy bears for dinner? Definitely. It's really for professional development.