Odontophobia is the fear of going to the dentist. I wouldn't say I go that far, but there are plenty of reasons I'd make excuses to skip an appointment. (Except that I'd probably be charged for cancelling…)

1. The cost

Where else, other than an S&M club, would you PAY for pain. And, sometimes, to have something removed? It’s like the Tooth Fairy is reclaiming her money after all these years. NHS costs are reasonable, it has to be said…but finding a free NHS dentist is like finding a good-looking bloke in Wetherspoons.

2. The pain

They scrape, they poke, they inject, they screw huge great metal clamps into your gums (trapping your lip in the process) – and then they get out the drill… And you feel so very vulnerable laying there flat on your back. You’re at the dentist’s every mercy…

Dentist: the drill

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3. It smells

That whiff hits you the moment you open the door to the surgery. And all the bad memories come flooding back.

4. You can’t put lippy on before you go

Look, I am NEVER seen without my lipstick, OK…so this stresses me greatly. If you do risk applying, you then see it smeared all over the dentist’s Latex gloves – and wonder what on earth your mouth must look like.

Dentist: smeared lipstick

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5. The good-looking dentist

For a few years I had this ‘pleasure’. A young, handsome dentist with a liting Irish accent. I melted everytime I saw him, was putty in his orthodontic hands. But, truth is, it is impossible to look hot laying there with your mouth wide open, lipstickless and eyes watering. You try your best chat-up line and then remember you’ve had anaesthetic. ‘Flllmmmmppph ppphrrr, darlin..?’’

6. You can’t hear what the dentist is saying behind that mask

Something about a filling…another £53.90 was it..?

Dentist: the mask

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7. Those plastic glasses you have to wear

You feel like you’re off to a welding nightclass and they leave big red marks on your nose. On one memorable occasion, I forgot I was wearing them and left with them on.

8. Where do you look?

So there you are, opening wide while the evil dentist beavers away in your gob. You’re now concentrating on three things: breathing through your nose, not choking, and where to cast your attention. There are three options here: the ceiling (you know every inch of it); up their nose (you know every hair), or close them and risk nodding off. Zzzz…

Dentist: view up dentist's nose

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9. You have to go every 6 months

And in between there’s all the brushing and flossing and mouthwashing and poking with those funny little interdental brushes. No other body part demands such attention – even those that deal with messy stuff like having babies or those that work really hard like feet. Teeth are basically badly designed.

10. Hygenists

Only one thing to say here. They are in league with the Devil.

11. That suction thing

It hangs there in the corner of your mouth, gurgling away, but still somehow you end up gagging, choking on your own saliva and swallowing bits of metal.

12. Now rinse and spit

Have you TRIED spitting that weird pink mouthwash into the teeny tiny bowl after having a filling? As sure as cavities is cavities, it just ends up dribbling down your chin.

Dentist: mouthwash and basin

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13. Getting an appointment

You can bet your bottom molar that the only appointments available are halfway through the day. You can’t get to work and back beforehand or afterwards.

14. You can’t eat your favourite smelly foods for 24 hours beforehand

No Chicken Kiev or Stilton for you the night before, or coffee for breakfast. OK, you may not like your dentist much, but you have to play fair.

Dentist: garlic

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15. They always ask you a question when they’ve got their fingers in your mouth

You try your best to answer, and, incredibly, somehow, they understand. You’re pretty sure you may have bitten them in the process, mind you.

 

And don’t forget to floss, now…