A couple of days ago, my husband and I were having a rare lunch out. I ordered a “Goddess Salad”, chock full of leafy green things, roasted veggies and feta cheese. After completing my meal, I sat and sipped at my decaf chai tea with cream and sweetener (yeah, it’s weird, but it’s awesome). I did a “teeth check” with my husband. You know you all do it – pull back those lips and grin like a maniac to see so your companion can see if there are any stray food bits lingering in your teeth.
He told me I had a “white piece” and a “brown piece” caught in my teeth. I used my tongue to probe and push, but despite my best efforts, Emile kept telling me the “brown piece” was still stuck on the right of my right front tooth. I gave up sitting and headed to the bathroom for some serious intervention.
I’ll interject here, and tell you that I hate going to the dentist. Yes, I know this doesn’t make me unique. My mother made sure that I had good dental health as a child. She didn’t seem to care that I hating the scraping, the probing, the needles, the drilling and everything else. Later in life I have begun to also hate the cost (though covered with insurance most of my life), the inane small talk while my anxiety level rises, the ridiculous “safety glasses” (these are cheap sunglasses – you cannot fool me) and conversation while you are frozen or having 15 instruments in my mouth. You’d think I’d have gotten used to it by now – 3 retainers, braces, probably 20 cavities/fillings, pulled teeth, filing, etc, etc. But the dentist still fills me with dread. It’s the freezing process that is the worse – going in and coming out. I haven’t seen a needle in decades – because as soon as I get in the chair I keep my eyes closed until they start actually doing the work. There is a note on my file that says “do not talk to patient after local in”. Love it.
I always think of two things while in the chair getting freezing: a torture scene in Alias where Jennifer Garner’s friend is tortured by a crazy man using a dentist drill/tooth puller until the friend gave up info he didn’t actually know. The other is my friend Judy J who hates freezing so much that she endured having 6 veneers placed on her teeth WITHOUT it. (having veneers done requires significant prep work to the tooth – including filing and drilling. What a spine she has.) I deal with the freezing because I consider these alternatives much worse.
In my adult life, I have learned about the glories of flossing and the pain and suffering that it avoids. Frankly, whoever invented those one-handed flossers deserves recognition. Now I can simultaneously floss and read before bed. Now the dentist tells me that I have “tough gums” and they there is no more cavities, fillings, bleeding or lectures. I sure wish my mother had told me about this when I was a child.
Even with Emile’s benefits running out this Friday and my desire take as much from his company as possible, I have avoided the dentist. I drink a glass of water and my teeth ache, I still avoid making an appointment. Logical considerations about dental health being part of overall health did not sway me.
But when I looked in the mirror at that restaurant and saw that the “brown piece” was actually a 20-year-old white filling that had finally discoloured enough that it was quite noticeable, I made the appointment.
June 11th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary: Vanity wins out every time. And as wait to feel my nose again, I know I don’t need to go back for 9 months – if I need to of course. Please don’t talk to me.