Chris' post on trauma at the dentist reminded me of my mother's recent experience - not with the dentist actually, but with the evil little tools of torture they use (this post is not for the squeamish).
My mom is undergoing chemotherapy (nasty pills that burn your fingers if you hold them too long - and she actually has to swallow these things!). One side effect has been that her tear ducts are constantly giving off this goop. If you have ever had a child with pink eye, it is kind of like that but crustier. In any case, the pressure got so bad one time that she couldn't stand it anymore and walked into the local specialist. He or she looked at her for a minute and pulled out the little metal tool that is basically a silver pen with a wire about an inch long at the end that is bent in a manner for optimum poking. This is the tool that the dentist usually uses to find the most sensitive part of your mouth, then jams it in it to see if it hurts.
So the doctor pulls my mother's eyelid back, brings in said instrument of torture and proceeds to stab it into her tear duct. Now my mother is not normally one to lie about such things, but she claimed that this procedure actually hurt. I tend to believer her.
The amazing thing is that the doctor then de-stabbed the device and suddenly there was a slurping sound not unlike a toilet flushing as copious amounts of liquid then ran down into my mother's throat. And guess what! The pressure was gone! She felt much better! Apparently the proverbial finger was lifted off the end of the proverbial straw and viola! The proverbial root beer flowed out magically.
Fun with dental tools...