I'll come right out and say it. I hate going to the dentist. Despise it, even. The clean, healthy teeth aspect is okay, I suppose. But you would hate going to the dentist, too if you had my dentist. Why? Well I'll tell you why; I won't sugar-coat it or anything (because that might be bad for your teeth).

I've been going to the same dentist, Dr. Tao, for eleven years. At first I thought she was a nice lady. And then I started to grow up. Clearly, Dr. Tao has not yet noticed this because she still treats me and talks to me like I am six years old. And last time I checked, I was definitely seventeen years old and looked like it, too…unless I have some rare, freakish disease that makes me resemble a toddler to other people.

Anyway, every time I sit down in that blue-gray dentist's chair, Dr. Tao walks in, sees me, and practically screams, "Hello, sweetheart! How are you?! You're growing up SO FAST!" in a manic voice. This never fails to frighten me, so I never say anything back. I mean come on! How are you supposed to respond to that? "Why, hello back, darling! You're getting rather old yourself!" No. Just no.

Another thing I've noticed is how Dr. Tao always obsesses over my teeth. Not my sisters' teeth or my parents' teeth. Always my teeth. She'll say cutesy things like, "You are an absolute jewel!" or, "Your teeth just sparkle! I love them!" To be completely honest, it's rather creepy.

Have you ever noticed how dentists ask you questions while they have about fifteen tools stuck in your mouth? And the worst part is, they expect an answer. But the only answer you can give is a bunch of gurgling sounds. Yet they still seem to understand you…or at least they pretend like they do. Dr. Tao seems to find great joy in doing this to me. She'll stick one of those fancy little dentist mirrors in my mouth along with some pointy metal object and ask me, "So how's school going?" Of course, the only thing I can respond with is "Guurgh!" Fortunately, that answer always seems to suffice.

Dr. Tao also enjoys asking me if I still attend Rampart High School. I feel like she and I have been over this about twelve million times already. "No, I switched to Pine Creek from Rampart almost two years ago, now…" I will say clearly (providing my mouth is tool-free at the time, that is).

Dr. Tao also feels the need to tell me that her daughter has the same first name as me, every time I go in. This has happened at every appointment for the last eleven years. I no longer care that her daughter is also named Kate, but I must pretend like I find this fact to be the most interesting thing I've ever heard.

At the end of every appointment, Dr. Tao always tells me that I was a very good girl and that I may pick out a prize from the treasure box, as if nobody could ask for a better reward (I'll tell you, leaving that dentist's office is reward enough for me). Of course, once she leaves the room, I walk quickly away from the treasure box without taking anything because as I have previously said, I am no longer six years old. I always wonder if she told my mom that she can take something from the treasure box, too. If not, then this whole thing hardly seems fair at all. Or perhaps Dr. Tao has simply realized that my mom is an adult, and not a small child.

Before we walk out of the dentist's office, Dr. Tao always reminds us that we cannot eat or drink anything for the next half an hour, since we just had our teeth cleaned. This always seems to make me really hungry and thirsty all of a sudden. On the ride home, I think that my stomach is eating itself. All anybody can hear is growling. At stoplights, people probably think that my mom has the bass pumped up on the stereo. I'm telling you…it's that bad.

So here I sit with three months to go until my next visit to Dr. Tao's office. I don't think I've ever looked forward to anything less. I've tried to get my mom to switch dentists, but that didn't work out too well. All I got was, "She's a nice lady!"

I guess I'll just have to wait until I'm on my own to change dentists, but until then I get to be six-year-old Kate, "sweetheart," "baby doll," "princess," or whatever other atrocious name Dr. Tao can come up with next.

Man I hate the dentist!