I’d Rather Go to the OBGYN


About three weeks ago, I went to the dentist for my regular cleaning and heard the dreaded words, “You have a cavity.” UGH! The cavity was three years in the making, stemming from a crooked wisdom tooth that came out but left a small hole in my gum line in a very hard-to-reach area on my back tooth that a toothbrush is unable to touch.

This statement set off weeks of multiple dental appointments to replace temporary fillings, a root canal, and a temporary crown. My swollen jaw and gums were very angry, more so I was very angry. I was in tears as I held ice packs to my face, with my dentist telling me, “There isn’t anything you could have done, it’s just an unlucky spot.”

As the days passed and I started talking to various friends about my woes, the women in my life quickly said, “I’d rather go to the ob-gyn than go to the dentist.” Multiple women, different occasions, all with the same statement. One friend said, “I’ll take a pap smear over the dentist any day of the week.”

a close up of a dentist holding tools, wearing rubber glovesTruth be told, when I had my wisdom teeth removed three years ago, I came back from recovery telling anyone who would listen I would take childbirth again over getting my wisdom teeth out. (I still stand by that.) One of those teeth seems to be the gift that keeps on giving.

As I continued to think about it, why would we as women rather go to the gynecologist and be in our most vulnerable state than the dentist? We’d rather have the doctor poking, and prodding, our feet in stirrups and a cold speculum holding our vaginas open than get our teeth cleaned.

We’d rather have that small brush scrape our insides for a pap smear than sit in a chair with our mouths hanging open with someone polishing our teeth. Is it the trauma of a cavity? Being numb? Braces all those years ago? I can’t have a chit-chat about the weather with my dentist because their hands are in my mouth but I’ll take the awkward conversation about what is going on in my life waiting for the doctor to say, “It is okay to close your legs.”

Before my appointment a few weeks ago, I didn’t understand the thought of how bad the dentist was; most of us have been going to the dentist long before our first gynecologist appointment, and yet here we are many years later, wishing we would be in a paper gown over wearing a paper bib. I didn’t understand, but now I do.



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