Damn you, Harmony and your sparkling white teeth!
Ahem. What I meant to say is that Harmony’s journal entry reminded me that I hadn’t had my teeth cleaned in over five years. Possibly a lot more than that. The years tend to blur all together when it comes to teeth cleaning. I have tried to go to the dentist, but the universe has thwarted me every time. And all Harmony’s talk of being freshly clean made me feel dirty and she shamed me into going.
Well, OK, what really happened was that I was shamed by my dirty teeth, but them promptly had some chips and forgot about the whole thing. Only due to the wrath of a vengeful, or possibly easily amused god, my tooth started to hurt. From the chips. And then the pain got worse until that entire side of my mouth was throbbing. All because of Harmony!
So, I tried to figure out what my dental insurance was, and who I could go to, and I finally found a list of dentists and randomly picked one. I called and told them I had been walking around with dirty teeth for at least five years and they said that I could come in the next morning.
Well, I figured that was either a sign that my tooth really needed immediate care, because why else would the universe suddenly make going to the dentist so easy, or this dentist really sucked and didn’t have any clients. I wasn’t sure which I wanted to be true.
What was true though was that my tooth ached all night, so of course I had to whine to P. about it and you’d think that would cause him to be extra-nice to me or sing me soothing songs or make me pudding or something, but no. Instead he kept telling me that he could pull my tooth right out and chased me around the room with a staple remover. Also his pocketknife. In all fairness though, he also greeted me at the door with a freshly made margarita to help numb the pain, and his margaritas are the absolute best things in the entire world, so I couldn’t be too mad at him.
I went to the dentist this morning. I say that as though it were easy as cheesecake and I just glided in like Mary Poppins with her umbrella or something. Of course, the real story is that I had a completely wrong idea about where the place was, and ended up about 20 blocks too far north, but when I realized I was in the wrong spot, instead of continuing south, I turned around and went even farther north because I am a dumbass, and I didn’t actually write down the address, and although I had the phone number, I had left my cell phone at home. So, by the time I got there, I was nearly 20 minutes late and figured that for sure they would turn me away, only they didn’t. They were very nice and saw me anyway, which only increased my suspicion that something was really wrong with my tooth because why else would it be so easy? Relatively speaking, I mean. My direction-impaired driving not withstanding.
The cleaning was fine. And by fine, I mean it was horrendous torture, with lots of scraping and pressure washering, and the feeling that tiny needles were being driven into my gums. Other than that, great. She said things weren’t too bad for five years of neglect due to my superior body chemistry. Or something like that. I mean, I don’t think she was hitting on me or anything.
But then the dentist came in.
I blame all of my dental woes on this sadistic dentist I had in sixth grade. My parents had dental insurance through my stepdad’s job for the first time ever, so they hauled us all in. It may have been the only time I went to the dentist the entire time I was growing up. I wish I could go back in time and punch that dentist right in the head. He made me terrified of dentists, absolutely phobic, and every time I go to a new one, I marvel that they are actually nice and not out to murder me or terrify my heart into stopping.
This guy said I needed not only braces, but also headgear. (My parents declined both as those were not 100% covered by insurance; so I guess I can be thankful in this one instance that my parents were total cheapskates.) He also felt he needed to do awful things with a drill in my mouth to that point that I could smell the burning flesh. He yelled a lot. And told me that if I didn’t move my tongue, he’d drill a hole through it. You know, nice comforting stuff like that. He also said I had two cavities, the only two I’ve ever gotten, and he put in two fillings.
And that was it for dentists until I was in college, when I got to go to my university’s dental school for free dental care. My dental student wanted to be a tennis pro, and was only studying to be a dentist to please his father, and would take me out to lunch and hold my hand during the exam when I would get scared. He found that my fillings needed to be replaced. And I believed him (because of all the hand-holding and lunches) and didn’t think he just needed filling-replacement credit to graduate. He wasn’t really looking forward to graduating anyway. All that would mean is that he’d have to start actually being a dentist. (I wonder if he’s a dentist now or if he one day woke up and decided his dad could fuck off and started teaching tennis at the local country club.)
I was so bitter at my sixth grade dentist for those crappy fillings. OK, I know fillings sometimes need to be replaced. But both of them? Cracked and falling out to the point that I nearly needed root canals? That guy sucked.
Anyway, fast-forward to today, and the nice dentist in his tie and geeky glasses. He told me that the hurting tooth was one with a filling. It is cracked and needs a crown. The other filling is broken, nearly falling out, and needs to be replaced. He recommends I go with a porcelain inlay, to keep the tooth together.
So, next week, I have to go back to the dentist again, and pay him many hundreds of dollars, and hear the whirling drills burning through my poor defenseless teeth. They tell me I can watch a movie in these special glasses during the procedure. How cool is that? Maybe I’ll ask for laughing gas and then watch The Wizard of Oz or something.
I still blame that first dentist for fucking up my teeth. Bastard. And also Harmony. If she hadn’t have gotten me thinking about my dirty teeth, I’m sure none of this would have happened.