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11 Dentistry (part 3)

I made a list of 100 things I should do that scare me. In 2020, I plan to complete all 100.


You guys. It’s the future.


You all know the procedure for getting a filling, right? They put some sort of horrible sickly sweet gel on your gums that sort of numbs the surface. They give you a shot so painful that you shudder to imagine what it would have been like without the gel. You go numb and limp, they drill for ages, they put in the filling, then you spend the next hour waiting for the nerves in one side of your face to wake up.


Most of these steps have been replaced. By lasers.


There’s no gel. No needles. Just a laser. It feels a little cold, but that’s about it. It numbs the teeth and does most of the work the drill had done. Sometimes they do a little drilling also, but it’s not much, and you don’t feel it.


2 fillings. I walked out of the office 40 minutes after I walked in.


Also, they gave me a little bit of nitrous oxide—not enough to send me on a drug trip, which happened to me in a dentist office when I was seven, but enough that I almost fell asleep during the procedure. They offered to start giving me nitrous for cleanings, too, which hopefully will help me be a lot less nervous for my next appointment.


Given that my heart rate was probably up around 150 when I actually walked into the office, I’m leaving this as a level 5 fear, but I’m hoping if there’s a next time, I can give this one a downgrade. Downgrading my fear of dentistry would be a nontrivial life step for me. Time will tell, but I’m optimistic!

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