My least favorite place is the dentist. I imagine purgatory to be a dentist’s waiting room with the pungent smell of fluoride and the high hum of the drill in the background. Ominous picture right? It’s not that I have a phobia of the dentist, I just find the whole experience overwhelmingly uncomfortable. There are very few things, which aren’t food, that I want in my mouth.
Through a series of unfortunate events, I’ve recently found myself sitting in the dentist chair, the horrible paper bib hanging by a cold chain around my neck, looking at a tray of scary looking tools and brushes. My dentist and I were going over my x-rays, and she began to interrogate me about my eating habits. “Do you eat a lot of carbs? A lot of sugars? Chocolate? Do you drink a lot of Diet Coke?” Not gonna lie, I felt personally attacked. I mean really, does it look like I have the body of someone who regulates their diet? Absolutely not.
You see, it was just explained to me that not only do I have six cavities, but I also grind my teeth at night and will now have to start using a mouth guard. She explained how there were many more visits to her chair in the future. I don’t think you can quite understand the depths of my despair.
I had also recently made the unfortunate discovery that my current insurance plan doesn’t cover fillings. For the past few weeks, I’ve tried to hunt down the most cost effective place to pay to have someone spend forty five minutes staring into the back of my throat, while physically assaulting me with the weapon of their choice. And along the way, I learned that a tooth has five sides (each of which can have its own individual caviety) and gums have the habit of receding like hairlines. But I found a place and resigned myself to getting stabbed with Novocain accompanied by a lecture.
There’s nothing quite like getting a filling. You’re very aware of what’s happening to you, every twist and poke and prod, but it’s unnerving feeling nothing but the pressure of the tools. You just feel this weird vibrating, as you’re staring up at two people, and your trying really hard to not make eye contact or make it awkward. You try closing your eyes, but then you’re forced to open them because the dentist is holding up the mirror, making you stare at your gaping tooth, saying, “No really, you really fucking damaged your teeth. See?? SEE?!”
This of course could have been avoided had I flossed, says my dentist. She asked me if I flossed and how often; I replied maybe twice a week and gave me the most disdainful look I have ever received, saying twice a day is a goal I should aim for. I personally felt this was uncalled for considering most of us don’t floss at all, let alone everyday (don’t lie to me, and don’t lie to god).
But I can’t help but think she may have a point.