For those of you who don't know my history with dentists... well, it began in my high-school years with an amateur serial killer. The short story of one telling experience: He removed a wisdom tooth without functional pain-killers, despite the tooth breaking; he kneeled on my chest as he hammered away at my jaw with some kind of medieval torture device; when I used to much laughing gas, he turned it off; said procedure lasted about an hour. This history was furthered upon a visit to a dentist a few years later, who replaced a filling without pain-killers, saying, "Oh, it's not very deep" before realizing he had to work in there for a while. And so forth.
I can count my positive dental experiences on two fingers of one hand, and negative ones on a couple of hands. I mean, have you had dental hygienists give you pain-pills (because novocaine doesn't do much for me) and then leave you alone in the little room as panic mounts and heart races, even though you hadn't really been worrying before that? And just as you're about ready to walk out, she returns and says, "Oh, I forgot to mention that a side-effect of those pills is heightened anxiety." Nice. Or dentists who screw up a filling so that it hurts all the time? And, when you go to get it fixed, he uses one of those horrific screamy-grindy tools to relieve the tension... without giving you pain-killers (again) because "You won't feel anything - I'm just grinding the filling," when in fact doing so causes a great deal of heat... and of course requires more work than he had expected, but doesn't give you anthing at that point because "I'm almost done." And so forth.
My favorite experience with the dentist took place in Seattle. I went in for a regular checkup - by "regular," I mean that my friends pushed me to go because it had been five years or so since my last experience in dental torture. Anyhow, and the dentist decided that the top wisdom tooth that stood opposite the bottom one (removed; see above) should come out. He sensed my resistance (or my cold sweat), so invited me to chat in his office, where I admired photos of him with Bruce Lee. He told me stories about what it was like to study under Lee, we talked martial arts, and after a while said, "Ready for that tooth to come out?" I couldn't well leave at that point, and after a shot or two of pain-killer that actually worked and some very careful work, he removed the tooth in one piece (unlike the one that my high-school dentist shrapneled). "Huh," he said, admiring the curved roots, "I see why your teeth are so difficult to remove. Mind if I keep this to train students? If they can do a root canal on this puppy, they can do a root canal on anyone."
Anyhow. So I get to see the dentist on Monday. It's been a few years, but I don't expect anything untoward to happen... then again, I never do. Wish me luck.