My friend Kim D. is one of those rare creatures, a Seattle native, and she has been going to the same Seattle dentist for her entire life (although I imagine she cheated on him with someone else while she was away at school, no?).
She tells the fun story of her toothy history here, including the fact that her first appointment, in 1973, cost all of $11.
I was just at the dentist last week and was thinking about those days when they actually had a little sink, with water constantly swirling in it, and they told you to spit, and you often got strings of spit and blood hanging from your lips until the hygenist wiped it off. Now they just stick the water-squirter and water-sucker-upper in your mouth, no spitting necessary. Although in "Finding Nemo," the dental office still has the spitting, swirling sink, necessary for a plot point where Nemo uses that drain to escape into Sydney Harbor to find his dad near the end of the film.
I hated going to the dentist as a kid, but somehow I don't think I whined or cried. I was too terrified. This lasted into my marriage, this terror of dentistry, and I realized one day that I would get out of the dental chair and kind of stick to it because I had sweated through the back of my shirt in my nervousness. Then Rob decided to find a dentist who allowed nitrous oxide use, and I joined him there, and happy gas has made my adult dental care much happier ever since.