Money Matters - Simplified

For the Dentally Challenged

A recent British study has suggested that lavender scent could somewhat offset the jitters patients get at the dentist’s clinic. Here’s my take on this news story that has inadvertently touched me where it hurts the most.

You know how they sometimes ask you, “What’s your biggest fear?” It may not be that clichéd a question, but one still hears this phrase ‘biggest fear’ more than a few times in one’s life. I don’t want your answers, so you can hold your horses for the nonce. I brought this clichéd query up to introduce my take on dentists. They are my biggest fear. Pretty tough chap otherwise, I go weak in the knees in front of a dentist.

Recently, there was this news story on lavender scent being able to allay your fear of the dentist’s drill. Here’s the thread:

I’ve got to confess that I don’t quite believe in this news story. I find loop holes that the researchers failed to cover. Now don't get me wrong; it's a good news story, but... I’m not quite sure if I truly believe in the surmise of that study. Misfortune of having had firsthand experience with D’s chair puts me in a better position to judge the practicality of the novel finding.

Now, they said in the study the scent takes effect ‘in the waiting room’. They failed to mention what happens when you set foot IN the dentist’s cabin. Plus, the study is mute on how effective is the scent, in terms of fortifying the poor patient. The lavender scent might have a tiny effect on half the humanity, but once one leaves the sanctuary of the waiting room, I’m pretty sure the fear comes back… with vengeance--with palms getting sweatier, knees getting wobblier, and tongue getting drier by the second.

Next, it seems to me that none of the researchers has ever had the misfortune of occupying the dentist’s chair. I should know because I’m the veteran at that chair. All up, I’ve had one extraction, eight fillings, two crowns, and just as many root canals. That makes me as dentally retarded as they come, and any report from me you can take as coming straight from the horse’s mouth.

And anyway, waiting room can be--come to think of it--even more horrific than the dreaded room itself. The voices from within the feared room are pretty close. All that groaning and moaning of the chap in is the worst thing and wrecks havoc on a man’s intrepidity. To pick a parallel, pigs in slaughter house go though similar emotions. Now what’s a lousy lavender scent to the poor pigs? Just have a think.

Therefore, in a horrible place like the dentist’s waiting room, I seriously doubt lavender scent being able to find a customer. How those researchers of the study got reactions registered beats me. Now, I’m not insinuating that the researchers didn’t do their job well or made up the data. All I’m saying is that it beats ME. Obviously, they didn’t enlist sensitive plants like me in the participants.

You might have a feeling here that I’m blowing the whole thing out of proportions. There’s the injection to numb your nerves, you might argue. Lemme turn around and say to you, "Who’s got the nerve to FACE THE INJECTION!" The last time I had the injection, it was for my wisdom tooth extraction--precisely the situation where they say, “I’ve been to hell and back.” That petite, she-dentist of mere 50 odd kgs had such a profound effect on me that I’m done with injections now, at least in the mouth. It took me 40 minutes, literally, to take it by the way. And boy, did that hurt!

It’s tough living for a chap, I might say, considering that I’ve got one more extraction pending; hopefully, I’ll die before I have to face that ghastly needle again. That is actually my plan by the way--to wait it out till I die.

And heavens forbid (I don’t believe in heavens though) if you ever have to face the D’s chair. But if it can’t be avoided, what could actually help you is… lemme give you a pointer, man to man… a shot of whisky! That’ll fortify you rather than some girly lavender. Leave the lavender for the ladies. Be a man and have a shot before you set foot in that door.

By Harpreet Bhagrath

The writer is the Chief Editor at

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