Do You Close Your Eyes At The Dentist?

Yesterday, I made the trip to the dentist for the first time in over 8 years, and right now, I’m recovering from having a wisdom tooth pulled out. Incidentally the last time I went to the dentist I also had a wisdom tooth out. Fortunately on both occasions, I had a top tooth removed, which I’ve heard is less painful than having the bottom ones out.

The horror of a Japanese dentist?

The last time I went to the dentist, back in 1999, I had reached a point of desperation. There are so many horror stories about Japanese dentists that I put up with the pain for a year before it finally got the better of me. If you’ve never been to the dentist in Japan, let me tell you that it’s no different to what you’d experience back home (at least from what I remember of the dentist in the UK). Perhaps the only bizarre thing is that you’re not alone in the room. My local dental surgery has four chairs lined up with a partition between each, and the same dentist hops from patient to patient as we sit there with our mouths open, waiting for him to rotate back to us. Other than that, my experience was quite normal… or was it?

Staring out the dentist

I was telling my wife how the dentist had used what looked like a pair of pliers and (gesturing with my arms) yanked the tooth out while my eyes rolled up into my head, when she said “What? You don’t close you eyes?”

What a question!

I spent my first two years in Japan squatting the wrong way over a Japanese toilet because I thought I was doing it the right way, and this is quite similar. Is is normal for people to close their eyes at the dentist? I never have. It’s not like I stare out the dentist, but I usually stare at the ceiling. So, am I alone? Am I a weird, scary, wide-eyed foreigner whose eyeballs roll upwards in their sockets when having a tooth pulled out? Here’s the poll…

[poll=5]

If you like, you can find me on Twitter at @nick_ramsay. I'd love to hear from you!

14 thoughts on “Do You Close Your Eyes At The Dentist?

  1. I had all four of my wisdom teeth taken out at the same time (in America). I wasn’t conscious for it though. They stuck a drip into my hand and told me to count backwards from 10. I got to about 4 and then I woke up with gauze in my mouth. That was the only time I literally had my eyes closed at the dentist. For all other work I’ve had done, I’ve been awake and looking around.

  2. I had oral surgery in Hawaii and they pumped gas up my nose and it was the best dental experience ever.

    I have some students who are Dentists and dental assistants and they do not offer that.

    Dental work = Go back to Hawaii.

    1. Gas? Does it really make a difference? I found the best dental work in Thailand so far, and very affordable. Although my dental experience is mostly limited to the U.S.

  3. i close my eyes. usually, but if it doesn’t hurt and i’m not scared, i open them. i think open-eyed patients are easier to deal with b/c you can see their “sober” reaction to your(dentist’s) actions.

  4. I always get very scared when I should go to doctor, include dentist. I cannot let my lips stop shaking when the dentist put the tools on my tooth…even when I already closed my eyes.

  5. Nick, maybe everybody else is weird? I always leave my eyes open too because I want to see what’s going on since they’re doing stuff to part of my body.

  6. I’m very lucky and have so far had no problems with my teeth, but when I’m at the dentist for a checkup I keep my eyes open.

    I want to try the gas! Maybe I should chew more sweets….

  7. Gas is something everyone has to try! (Unless you are into pain!) My Dentist is great and I never have to pay a cent due to him being a family friend yeah!! (I use the national health insurance and the 30% is what i do not pay!)
    I find Dentists in Japan okay but they can be a bit pedantic at times and procrastinate a touch!!

    Keith

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