Mentalist at the Dentist?


August 14, 2012 by benmblackman

The Dentist’s Chair

Am I the only person who finds sitting in the dentist’s chair an oddly relaxing experience? Well, once I’ve got over the fact that it’s also one of the most humiliating and vulnerable situations you are likely to find yourself in I mean.

Power Dressing

I was there this morning. Not often do I power dress in my suit, ironed shirt, cufflinks, best stripy socks to then lie back on a chair and stare at the ceiling whilst somebody pokes, prods, sprays, sucks, drills and all manner of other things I really don’t want them to do to my mouth.

So why it is that, after I realise how humiliating, vulnerable and undignified the whole situation is, instead of this making me stressed or uncomfortable, I just tend to sit back and chillax.

And I really do mean chillax in the greatest sense of the (made up and  therefore very annoying to a lot of people) word. I tend to use the word from time to time for this very reason – just to annoy people for my own amusement really. I don’t mind chillax but I’ll tell you what I can’t abide – guesstimate or worse, expresso.


Espresso, it’s espresso ESPRESSOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO I battle with all my mite not to shout out whenever stood in a queue behind somebody ordering an expresso (after their request for a skinny-mocha-chocha-frappé-latté-chino has been lodged). Ickle, that’s really annoying too isn’t it? Just say little will you?

No – Just stop it will you?


You can tell by my last three sentences that I am not a man in a constant state of chillaxedness. Indeed, it seems just the use of incorrectly pronounced words can really get me hot under the collar. So why on earth would sitting in a dentist’s chair be one the most relaxing places I find myself in? Along with lying on a beach with sunshine warming my face, the sound of waves crashing around me – the dentist’s chair has a similar baring on me. It is one of the only places I find myself truly relaxed, sorry chillaxed. Seriously. Why? How? What is wrong with me?


Now please don’t get me wrong, if I had the choice of a trip to a beach versus a trip to the dentist you can be assured I would pick the beach every time but considering most people would probably pick any other situation in life over a trip to the dentist I do get the feeling I am at odds with most others where this is concerned. I’m sure that if I really tried I could probably come up with a sizeable list of ‘things I would prefer to go to the dentist rather than doing.’ Work for sure, that was proved today.

Things I would prefer to go to the dentist rather than doing

Work (as in – the paid variety); Anything else requiring work (the unpaid variety including but not limited to): Clearing out the Garage; Cleaning out the Car; Going up in the loft; any other Cleaning activity; Tidying; Bill Paying; Fixing IT / TV / White Goods Malfunctions; Supermarket Shopping; Writing Cheques; Putting Clothes Away; Washing; Ironing on Mass (ironing lots of items of clothing in one session I mean – not ironing in a room full of other people all ironing. For clarity though, I don’t think I’d like to do that either); Going to the Bank; Talking to Call Centre’s; Delivering Christmas Cards by Hand; Asking Neighbours for Favours; DIY; Decorating; Cutting the Hedge; I could go on…

Today I got to work at 9am, crossed off a few easy ‘to do’s’ from my list and then headed over to the dentist. By far the most carefree, relaxed and calm I felt during the whole day was between the hours of 9.40am and 10.30am when I was in the dentist’s chair (aside from the bit when a sizeable amount of my own spittle landed on my glasses – not the look I usually aspire for – and I had to go a full 3 minutes before a break in proceedings allowed me to wipe it away).

Is it a Psychologist or a Psychiatrist I need?

If there are any psychologists out there reading this (amateur / armchair variety is fine by me) I’d love to hear what your thoughts are on my dentistry chillaxing theorem (to follow). However I’m sorry to say that, whilst it might have some strange connection to my puppy dying when I was young or perhaps that I am the second oldest out of four and I once had to share a bunk bed with my younger sister for a year (not the same one by the way – I was bottom bunk – obviously) or that I had to wear the same (non-designer label) top to non-uniform day two years in a row – in fact I think I know the reasoning behind my theorem:

Basically, what else is there to do in such a situation? What else is there you could be doing whilst you are sitting back on the dentist’s chair? I’ll tell you what – nothing. For all the demeaning and negative feelings the lack of control, vulnerability and humiliation could lead to, in fact, for me they just lead to a lovely sense of calm.

Kevin Pieterson

I did literally lie back and think of England at one point. England Cricket of course. What do I think will be the outcome to all of this Kevin Pieterson hoo ha I pondered before moving on to another put the world to rights (with myself) thought.

The upside of the situation I find myself in at the dentists I’ve realised is that, in quite the opposite way to most minutes of my adult life, for once, there is nothing else to do. I am doing it, I at the dentist appointment. This is an acceptable level of activity for however long that appointment lasts. Nobody will be moaning or pressurising me to deliver any more out of this situation than I can feasibly achieve (basically, sit still and open wide). The fact that I get to sit down in one place for a full 50 minutes is enough in itself to justify my contentment. If the only opportunity cost for this is to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous dentistry then I can deal with that any day of the week.

Us men haven’t got it easy you know

What else could I be doing right that minute? Nothing. It is one of the rare situations in adult life when I could not actually be expected to multi-task. Never mind working, washing, drying, ironing, shopping, DIYing, bill paying, grass cutting, rubbish putting outing and anything else-ing I should remember for this list but just haven’t the stamina or motivation to recount, let alone fulfill.

I don’t think you could even read a book whilst on the dentist’s chair could you? I did notice the radio on and I could manage to tune in to this with my ears in-between the drilling. ‘Wake up Maggie, I think I’ve got something to say to you,’ Rod Stewart offered. What was the thing he thought he had to say I wondered? The drill started up again by that point.

So, what do you think?* Am I just a dentist weirdo or are you the same? Do you know somebody else who feels the same? Can you psychoanalyse my dentist chillaxing theorem for me a bit better than I have? I need to know because, now I’m not in the state of acquiesce I found myself in between 9.40am and 10.30am I am back to my normal, annoying self asking: is this good? is it bad? is it normal? is it weird? should I be feeling something different? should I be different?

I’m booked in again in two weeks. Maybe I should ask for a few more appointments. Forget the Spa Break, get me in for a Scale & Polish!

* Please do comment / pass on to your friends & family. I’d love to hear your views…I think!


4 thoughts on “Mentalist at the Dentist?

  1. Ali says:

    This one made me laugh, just an ickle bit. I’m with you Ben….but then I also enjoy exams. Keep the blogs coming!

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