This morning at the ungodly hour of 7 am I had a dentist appointment. Ever since I was an over-caffeinated, sugar monkey of a child who would just as soon jimmy Heath bars into his teeth as brush, I’ve had an abiding dislike for dentistry and all its incarnations. Mr. Tooth? Get the hell away from me and leave your solemn warnings about non-ADA toothpaste to those anal retentives who care. Prissy dental hygienist? If you tell me to floss again, I’ll take that complimentary toothbrush and go medieval on your plastic display that relates complicated tooth problems to laymen. Needless to say, my baby teeth were riddled with cavities and my permanents have quite a few as well.
Since then I’ve mellowed a bit. I floss every day and my dental hygiene is nothing to scoff at. I haven’t had a cavity in years. Today, after my ritualistic yearly buff and polish, the dental hygienist poked her metal tool into my tooth rather hard and said with calloused bedside manner, “I think we’ve got a cavity in number 6…and it looks like there’s something going on with number 9.” A consultation with my dentist, “Dr. Feel-good,” confirmed her suspicion. I have two cavities in the most uncomfortable of places…on the front of my upper teeth, supposedly from tooth weakening due to the braces I used to have. I personally suspect foul play. Evil tooth gnomes? Dr. Feel-good needs to make a house payment? Right.
So I made another appointment for noon. Two trips to the dentist in one day is the best thing that could ever happen. Next thing you know, I’ll find poisonous snakes in my sock drawer and rot in my nectarines. I went back in with apprehension, nervously joking with the office ladies. I actually think I told them they could call me “Skippy.” I also told the hygienist that she should hit me over the head with a frying pan because it’s cheaper than anesthesia. Gotta cherish that nervous humor; just call me Carrot Top.
You have to love that moment when the dentist starts rubbing local anesthesia all over your gums. It’s like the starter pistol signifying great discomfort. First the needles, then the drilling, then a bunch of numbed rummaging around interspersed with Dr. Feel-good’s “Hmm’s.” I wondered silently to myself if he ever poked around in someone’s mouth and then said, “Holy @#%*!” or something like that. It’s kinda scary when the dentist and the hygienist start talking with each other in dental lingo, using the numerical and scientific names for teeth and asking for strange instruments. At one point, Dr. Feel-good asked for a mandrill. A mandrill
? A man-drill? What the heck? I was just glad no one asked for a tongue shredder.
Anyway, now I’m drilled and numb. I’m trying to eat dry roasted peanuts without puncturing my cheek or severing my tongue. This is awesome.