Stockholm Syndrome! Fun for You AND Your Dentist!

Posted on 22/03/2012 by


So the thing about dentists, okay, the thing is I like them. I’ll just… leave you with that one for a moment.

Still with me? Okay. I know this is a bit of an outlier perspective, most people are somewhere around, Dentists are pain and repeating grinding argh.* And I’m more thinking, Dentists are fun and pretty and made of ice cream.

Your dentist:

It probably helps that I’ve never had a filling or a root canal and the only time a dentist used a drill of any kind on my teeth it was because I asked him to. But it’s not that there’s never been pain involved. Having caps pulled off your teeth feels remarkably like having your teeth pulled out. And I’ve done that oh, three times? So this is maybe where the Stockholm syndrome comes in?

See, I’ve had a dentist since I was eighteen months old. Because if you are very young and you go rock climbing and you slip it may cross your mind that grabbing on with your teeth is a good option. For the record, no matter your age, this is A Bad Plan. In my case I managed to rip three of my teeth out by the roots. Good times.**

Turns out the level of violent force involved was so significant I managed not only to provide myself with a gap toothed smile for the next six and half years (that I could use with a fake lisp and some blonde hair to manipulate a truly appalling number of people) but I also damaged my then well-hidden adult teeth. Something which makes dentists look at my x-rays with admiration and delight and say things like, You hear about this happening but I’ve never SEEN it before…

As a result I spent quite a bit of time with my dentist. Which sounds like it would be a bad thing but… wasn’t. There were toys. And Sesame Street murals on the ceiling. And because the dentist was in the city it meant a day off school, hanging with my dad and amusing his students by playing peekaboo with them while he lectured, and being fed an unrepentantly appalling amount of ice cream once the ordeal was done. There is no bad here. (See, if your captor is nice to you some of the time you start interpreting it as kindness and making excuses for the pain, and the next thing you know you’re helping them rob banks and don’t want to leave.)

Bert and Ernie. Caption reads: Say, Ernie, would you like some ice cream? Sherbert

MY dentist

When I turned eighteen I was a bit worried that adulthood and its corresponding lack of Sesame Street meant the end of my days of dental bliss. But then I met my new dentist who has all three qualities you want in a dental professional: aesthetically pleasing ceiling (even if not Sesame Street), nice eyes (not so important, but still good as that’s the bit you see most), and doesn’t ask you questions when his hands are in your mouth (vital).

Plus, after admiring my statistically unlikely x-rays, he looked at the rest of my teeth and said, they’re beautiful, always lovely, wonderful mouth. And he still does. Every time. And then he pats me on the head and sends me on my way with a bag of goodies. Okay, the head pats may be metaphorical. I’m just saying — in your head dentists might be, Pain, get away from me, argh! But in my head they’re, Ego boost with a toy surprise!


* And drool. Which is its own kind of horror.

** Honestly, sometimes I feel a bit sorry for my parents. They turned around for like a minute I managed to maim myself. And this was before that thing where I climbed out the window of a car while it was moving. No, I have no idea why my learning to drive filled my father with horror, why do you ask?


Posted in: Kandace, Research