“You might feel a little pinch.” Years ago, I stopped adding “Like a mosquito bite.” Because while envisioning insects in your mouth might take your mind off the injection, it does little to lower your blood pressure (The ants go marching two by two, hurrah, hurrah…..)
Is the pinch, in fact, little? Geometrically speaking, yes. A mosquito proboscis spans one tenth of a millimeter in diameter, our dental needle tip just a little bit… bigger. Both quite dainty, actually.
“It will wear off in a little while.” We’re referring, of course, to the local anesthetic. And, very possibly, your sense of humor two hours later while attempting to drink hot coffee with one functioning lip prior to your career-defining acceptance speech (little did we know).
“Can you open a little wider?” (Our all-time favorite).
Clearly, dentists love the word little. We use it a lot. Maybe it’s because we operate in small spaces with miniscule measurements; we live, die, and drill by the millimeter. If something is off a millimeter in your mouth, it might just as well be off by a foot.
But perhaps the biggest reason we use the word little is because all dentists secretly wish they were smaller. A tiny dentist could crawl into your mouth and get the job done before you even thought about grabbing the bug spray.
When you do, remember this: a little goes a long way.