I have a couple of confessions to make. First of all, I haven’t been to the dentist in over ten years. I know, I know, I just made all the ladies out there a little moist with that statement. You know, ‘cause gingivitis is sexy. But I have a really good excuse, which leads me to my next confession.
Teeth get me hot.
For as long as I can remember, teeth have always done a little something extra for me. When other little boys would ogle their mother’s Cosmopolitan magazines, I’d sneak dental brochures into my room. While other guys found late night Cinemax titillating, I’d get wood over the Crest Whitestrips advertisements. And don’t get me started on those Extreme Makeover shows. I derived way too much pleasure from the mouth makeover portions of those programs. It was like porn on cable! So, that’s why I’ve avoided the dentist. I can’t imagine going there and having someone stick their fingers in my mouth. Mmm. All that latex and fingering of my teeth. It’s so erotic! I’m always worried I’m going to pop the unavoidable and totally detectable woody, right there on the chair!! And that’s just the type of awkward I’d like to save myself and everyone involved from.
Actually, I’m just kidding. About the tooth fetish, not the infrequent dentist visits.
In actuality, I haven’t been to the dentist in so long because teeth were never really a priority in my family. It seemed that as long as you brushed twice a day and none of your teeth were hurting, it wasn’t absolutely imperative to see the dentist. And as time moved forward, the idea came up that I probably should go to the dentist just to make sure everything was okay in my mouth. But by that time it seemed too late. I had already gone so long without going to the dentist so it was a little embarrassing to me to explain to the dentist why I’d waited so long. Plus, I was pretty sure my mouth was disintegrating and I didn’t want to deal with the possibility of them having to extract all my teeth and fit me for dentures. It was one of those situations where you’ve put something off for so long that it just makes you want to keep putting it off. But after I graduated I decided I needed to do something about my teeth. I’ve always been pretty self-conscious of them so instead of just living a life of insecurity, I should just go and get them checked out and whatever needs to be fixed should be fixed. I was nervous but I realized I need to go ahead and get them checked out now before I developed an abscess or something equally icky later on. My mom had an appointment scheduled so she just added me on with her and we went in together.
So, the day came and we got to the dentist’s office and Mom put her name down first on the list of patients. Crap, now I’d have to wait that extra half hour to be seen and told that I’d have to have a root canal or something when really, I just wanted to go in there and get it over with. Thankfully, the place wasn’t crowded and they called Mom right in. I filled out my paperwork and then read a few more chapters of my book until they called me in.
I walked through the door and saw that a girl I knew from high school was working there. She took my x-rays. Okay, that’s fine. And then she led me into a different room and laid me down in the squeaky chair. I made myself as comfortable as I possibly could, the only kind of comfortable you can be as if you were strapped to an electric chair as apposed to a dentist chair. The girl then put her mask on and sat next to me and readied her tools. Oh, wait, what?
“So, you’re gonna be doing my teeth?” I asked.
“Yes,” she replied.
Really? Really? Out of all the people there, she had to be the one messing with my molars?
Well, that’s great. She’s gonna be digging around my mouth and see all these cavities and plaque and then tell everyone she knows. That’s what people do in such a small town. They spread other people’s business. Obviously, I was not feeling too great about my mouth. Although I have no evidence to support my theory of radical oral decay, there’s a lot of nasties that can accumulate in that region without the intervention of a dentist’s drill so I was pretty sure my mouth was abysmal.
And I explained that to her. I was like, “Well, this is embarrassing” and when she inquired as to why, I just explained to her that it had been way too long since I’ve been to the dentist and I was pretty ashamed not only of the fact that I waited so long, but of the overall health of my mouth, plus the crookedness of my teeth. She just laughed and told me not to worry but that’s easy for her to say with her perfectly straight, white teeth. As she hovered the light over my face, she told me that another girl usually does the cleaning but she was on vacation.
Great timing. Of course things would have to go down like that. FML.
So, the time finally came and I just gave into the circumstances. There was really nothing I could do and if my mouth was to be declared a biohazard, it would serve me right for neglecting to take care of myself as I should. A lesson learned.
But, surprisingly, when she began her initially poking around, she said, “You’re teeth really aren’t that bad at all.” But, of course, she was probably just trying to make me feel better.
Because it had been so long since I had been to the dentist, everything felt like the first time. She put her sharp instruments in my mouth and popped my cherry. The actual tooth scraping didn’t bother me that much. It almost felt kinda…good? Hm, maybe I do have a little dentophilia in me after all! Nah, it wasn’t that. It just almost felt like a deep dental massage of sorts. I’ll say it did feel uncomfortable in some areas but mostly it felt like she was scratching an itch that was deep down and hard to reach. Not that it was a pleasurable experience but it just wasn’t as horrific as I had pictured. I just kind of lied there and let her do her work until she was finished with the scraping portion. She then did the polish on my teeth, which was a nice change of pace. The stuff felt and tasted just like that new Crest weekly paste that comes in that small tube… you know what I’m talking about? Yeah, it was good stuff.
After she was done, the dentist came in and he began his poking around. The girl stayed with him and that made me nervous again. This is the portion of the visit where he’d declare my decay and she’d be right there, hearing all of it. But, once again, he did not tell me I needed a root canal or any kind of extractions. In fact, he actually said, “You’ve got good teeth.”
That was seriously shocking considering last time I was in a dentist chair my age was in the single digits. But, it made me really happy. He was like, “You’re fortunate” and I was thinking, “You’re telling me!” I mean, I’ll be honest, when I was a little kid I didn’t take care of my teeth the way I should have but what kid did!? I think all children are barked at to brush, reamed into rinsing and forced to floss. And as I got older, I started to realize the importance of having a healthy and aesthetically pleasing palate. So I started whitening and investing in good toothpastes and an electric toothbrush. And perhaps the spike in oral health care somehow prevented and possibly reversed any damage I may have caused in my younger years. So, I was really thankful that my teeth weren’t the disaster I was expecting them to be. I mean, I guess just because they might not look the best doesn’t mean they aren’t healthy.
Later on in the day after the dentist appointment, I guess the scraping got to me because my teeth were a little sore and my head hurt a little. That night, when I was brushing, I spit out a mouthful of blood. I suppose I was reopening any gum tissue that might have been torn while that girl got down and dirty with my snaggle teeth. Regardless, it was a little scary. Anytime you start bleeding from the gums, it’s generally not a good sign and if I hadn’t already been to the dentist that day, I definitely would have made an emergency appointment to figure out what was going down. Also, the next day I noticed I had some tooth sensitivity when I would drink something really hot or really cold. I hope that’s normal and that the girl didn’t accidentally scrape some enamel along with the build up. Oy. I have an appointment to go next week…and that reminds me, although my teeth weren’t a total disaster, I did have a couple problem spots. I think I only need two filings, which I think for ten plus years of no dental care, that’s not bad at all. Plus, the guy is going to fix the chip in my front tooth from my horrible high school accident when a jock elbowed me in the face while we were playing volleyball during P.E. So, I’m pretty excited about that and that’s gonna go down next week. I’m not too happy about getting any shots but I gotta do what I gotta do to start taking care of myself and feeling better about my appearance so it’ll be worth it in the end. I say that now but I’m sure once I have a needle sticking out of my gums, I won’t be so sure….