Not Good With Change

Change is not easy for a lot of people.

For me, it depends. Some sorts of change are good — like, say, parenthood. Others? Not so much. Today, for instance, I ran smack dab into change that frankly, I am not so good with.

I, like most people, have issues with the dentist. I had very bad dental experiences as a child, which not only gave me a great terror of dental needles, but also led me to stop going to the dentist altogether for a good 5 years as a teenager. This concerned my father, as it would any parent. So he consulted his dentist about what to do. His dentist said, “You tell her to come here. Tell her that I promise her that there will be NO needles, and that it WON’T hurt.”

I was skeptical. My father said, “He promised.”

So I tried it. And the dentist was as good as his word: there were no needles, and it did not hurt. In fact, he kept his promises for a good 10 years at least, until one day he finally brought in a needle and said to me with a wink, “Oh, I think you’re old enough to handle it.” But beyond that, he really kept his promises.

And then he wanted to retire. So he started working part time, and brought on two young, ambitious dentists. They were awesome, and the transition was gradual. I slowly stopped seeing my old dentist, and began seeing these new dentists.

They understood my file, and they respected my fears, and they were really cool to work with. One dentist shared my love of alternative music — what’s not to love about a dentist with a mohawk and piercings? The other, my main dentist, was a woman my age going through relationship and work and fertility issues just like me. So we often had a lot to talk about.

They also brought in great staff. And when you didn’t work well with one hygenist, they’d switch you to another until you found someone you worked well with. And since I have to go every 3 months, this was especially important, since I primarily see the hygenist.

So this week, I got a reminder call about my appointment, which was this morning. The message was a typical reminder, except it said: Oh by the way, your hygenist C has moved to Ottawa, so you will be seeing S tomorrow.


This was bad news. I was nervous all night. I loved C. I had her for a few years, and she and I really hit it off. She knew how to work on my problem teeth and gums, and I didn’t dread going to the dentist anymore. And now, this was going to change?

But I sucked it up and thought, okay, there’s nothing I can do about it, and they’ll move me around if it doesn’t work, right? So I figured I’d give it a go.

I got to the dentist this morning, and was ushered in by someone I didn’t know but assumed was S. Turns out, it wasn’t. She was a tech who was going to take my x-rays. Okay.

I finally met S, who ushered me to a chair in the back. She seemed nice, although right off she didn’t make me feel as confident in her skill as I always did with C, (by virtue of mentioning SCURVY – !!!) but I figured maybe she’d be good with the tools. So I thought I’d be patient and see.

And that is when she said: Oh BTW, Dr. V has sold the practice. He was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in June and decided he couldn’t carry on.


I was dumbfounded. No Dr. V?? No more alternative music in the office?? But hey, the guy’s having a health crisis, stop thinking about yourself, woman. I was shocked, but I thought, oh well, at least Dr. J is still here, and she’s my main dentist anyway.

And that’s when the hygenist said: Oh BTW, Dr. J has quit and has gone into practice with her husband.


W? T? F?

If I had not been sitting down, I would have needed to sit down.

This was a LOT of change. And change of this sort, involving my entire dental practice, is BAD. VERY, VERY BAD.

I was in shock. But it was time for the cleaning.

She was no C, I can tell you that. She was a little rough, and not nearly, NEARLY as thorough as C, either.

I was really starting to stress.

But we finished up, and I met the new dentist. He seems very nice.

Nice does not mean good, nor does it mean no pain. I am still angsty about the whole thing.

So I drove home in a bit of shock. I mean, it has been over 20 years. After all it took to get me there, I got comfortable and trusted the staff and was actually unafraid to go to the dentist. I actually found cleaning appointments to be relaxing. I have even been known to have the odd needle without freaking completely the hell out, mostly with C there holding my hand through it, but STILL.

And now, everything is gone. My comfort zone has been COMPLETELY eradicated. So I don’t know what I will do.

But I am not afraid to say, when it comes to my dentistry? Change is BAD.

6 thoughts on “Not Good With Change

  1. OK, I hear you on this one. I still have to find a dentist that I can trust. my last dentist came highly recomended… he played CBC on the radio. He looked in my mouth and said…. “oh, that is just wrong! this isn’t good at all!!!! what is going on?” I asked, “tell me!!” because I thoguht I was being diagnosed with a deadly teeth disease or terminal mouth cancer…He said, “this arrangement of Chopin (or whatever) is just not right! I can hardly listen to it!!”

    when you find a new dentist and team you can trust, let me know.. i am almost willing to fly over there and have my teeth cleaned by them..

    Good luck.. this is a tough one!


  2. I hear you. I don’t personally have dental fears, but I’ve been going to the same dentist for over 30 years, ever since I got teeth. He’s starting to retire slowly (selling the practice, then fully retiring in about 2 years) and it’s breaking my heart. My mom also worked with his wife, so when Andrew & I got married they (the dentist & his wife) sent us a big gift basket. How am I going to find another dentist like that?

  3. I’m with you on the dentist fears. I actually have really good teeth–only one cavity EVER–but I nonetheless hate going. But despite my lack of real dental problems, I have very bleedy gums. If there’s a cleaning involved, oh God the blood bath. It’s awful. Like Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I know it’s irrational, but every time I’m convinced they’re going to tell me they have to pull all of my teeth and give me dentures. And that in order to do it they’ll have to stick me with about 100 needles. I’m sorry. You have my sympathies.

  4. As someone with problem teeth whose (now replaced, UGH) dentist once felt it necessary to perscribe her Ativan… I totally sympathize!!!

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