The Dentist

Teresa scheduled me for a consult this morning since I haven’t been to the dentist in a few years (pick a number between 1 and 5, and if you picked ‘3’ then you’re pretty close).  I think she rather expected that when I needed to go to the dentist I would do something as bold as to look in the phone book, call up the dentist and schedule the torture for myself.

Hah!  What am I, a man, or a mouse?  More like a dentaphobic?  Hmm, maybe that’s afraid of teeth.  I’m not afraid of teeth, so perhaps dentistaphobic (sorry for the lack of creativitiy, but there are no synonyms for ‘dentist’ at thesaurus.com) would be more appropriate?  But actually, no, I don’t really mind the dentists themselves.  They’re usually pretty nice… how about ‘teethscrapingaphobic’ or ‘drillingholesinteethaphobic’.  I just googled it to see if there was a word for it… This is what I found.  I’m actually not SCARED of the dentist, I just hate to have my teeth scraped or drilled.  That electric shooting that goes through your teeth when they’re doing that… just uggggh.

I had no nervous sweats or anxiety attacks on my way there.  I almost missed the office, but that’s because they’re in the process of moving the road about 50 feet over, and the dentist office is on the old road and not the new road (a new road that will be connecting to it was going to be intersecting it at a non-perpendicular angle… since when did road designers care about that?).

I signed in without concern, and even had my dental card ready to be copied when asked… I had even made SURE that I had it with me before I left.  If I were truly phobic, I’d have conveniently left that little baby in Teresa’s purse (no, I didn’t even consider it, actually!).

The waiting room window overlooked the dentists’ office parking lot, which had been carved out of a hill, making the far side of the parking lot above the retaining wall a steep hill.  Directly above the wall was a short bed covered in pine straw, but the steep hill beyond it was seeded with grass.  I wondered how they were planning to mow THAT.  Some Canadian Geese came in for a landing in the parking lot on top of the hill.  Black necks, white throat patches.  That was pretty cool to see.

I was shown a nice little room where I got all kinds of yellow, blue, and red plastic things put in my mouth for the x-rays.  There was a TV with a listing of cable channels, but I wasn’t handed a remote.  I was disappointed.

While they have neat plastic  holders for the x-ray film that show the tech how to line it up perfectly, they still don’t have x-ray film that doesn’t jab into the bottom of your mouth when you close it.  I thought for sure the 21st century could have solved that problem by now.  A few more years, though, and I may be grouchy enough to move that thing with my tongue instead of just letting it jab me.  I was tempted this time.  Not my fault if they get bad x-rays because they can’t take the time to put it somewhere it doesn’t jab.

The dentist came in after the x-rays were done, checked them out, and dove into my mouth.  The first thing I noticed were that his gloves were grape flavored, go figure.  Pretty cool, although it’s kind of embarrassing when you get caught licking the dentists fingers. 

On one tooth there was a little ridge where a filling was away from the tooth and he grabbed a drill and filed it down.. had a couple little zings of electricity through my teeth, but nothing intolerable.  I told him my last dentist said I needed a different toothbrush because of that and he said, "Not unless it means you brush more.  A regular toothbrush is fine."

"Hmm, how about that," I thought.  "Do whatever makes you brush more."  I have a toothbrush I keep in the basement bathroom, but it’s dead.  I think I’ve mentioned it before (I can’t brush my teeth with a dead toothbrush!)  Teresa just got me a new one for upstairs, and it’s ‘motion’ doesn’t really seem to add any effectiveness to it.  It just kind of jiggles.  And wakes Teresa up when I go to bed after her.

I had mentioned my gums bleed when I brush, so he decided to go ahead and probe.  "3, 2, 2, 3, 2, 1, 2, 3, 2."  He stopped and looked at me, "This is like golf, anything 3 and below is good."

"Yeah, I know.  Been through THIS before," I said with a smile. "I’m surprised they’re so low." 

About a thousand numbers later (and several 4’s) he finished.  "Okay, you’re good!" he said.  "You can just come back for regular visits."

"What?" I said.

"You’re fine… how often do you floss?"

"Oh, yeah, umm, about 2-3 times a week probably.  Those flosser things get stuck and come out, and…"

"Just use regular floss, and if you use it a bit more those 4’s will turn into 3’s.  But you’re teeth are great."

Well, how about them apples.  I scheduled a cleaning for Friday.  That’s when the teeth-scraping will take place… shudder.  But I might get one of those old manual toothbrushes, and some free regular old floss…

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