A Common Myth Held About Dentists

When most of us first hear about dentists, the first idea that comes into our minds is that of ‘sadistic’ professionals, who seem to get some joy from inflicting pain on other people. Of course, it may not be a conscious thought, but deep down, we know that is how we tend to view dentists. It is this view that makes trips to dentists a worrisome affair for most of us. The end result is where, for fear of being subjected to pain by these ‘sadistic’ professionals, most of us postpone dental visits as much as possible; only going to see a dentist when the pain we feel is more than the dentists, in their ‘sadism,’ could possibly inflict. The end result is a situation where relatively minor dental problems that could be quite easily addressed are delayed till they become crises, requiring even more painful and often highly expensive procedures to resolve.

Yet one question worth asking is as to whether, really, dentists are the sadistic professionals they are made out to be.

And the answer seems to be mostly NO. Far from rejoicing from inflicting people with pain, dentists are professionals who rejoice in freeing people from pain. This, of course, is the case with all sorts of doctors; only that in many cases (and especially in fields like dentistry), the procedures through which greater pain can be averted often call for the infliction of a smaller pain; which is best viewed as an investment to avert the future greater pain.

So, if you approach your dentist with a badly rotten tooth, they will most probably recommend that the tooth be extracted, and with your permission, proceed to extract it. They will put in place measures, of course, to reduce the pain you feel during the procedure, and give you medications to kill the pain you are likely to feel in the post-operative period. But there is a probability that you will still end up experiencing some marginal pain during or after the procedure, which could make your hate the dentist for the ‘sadism.’

Truth be told, in a case like that, the dentist will have inflicted some pain on you. But does that make them a sadist? Do you think that they derived any pleasure from inflicting the pain on you? (Remember, what makes one a sadist is not their afflicting pain on others per se, but rather their rejoicing in doing so). In a case like this, there is obviously no sadism. The dentist may rejoice at the end of the procedure, but it is not because of the pain they will have inflicted on you, but rather on the success of the procedure: as there are simply too many things that could have gone wrong. Also worth keeping in mind, in a procedure like this is that the little pain the dentist inflicts on you in a bid to rid you of the afflicted tooth is nothing compared to the pain you would have certainly come to suffer one day, had you decided to continue accommodating the diseased tooth.