I was talking to a friend the other day when they mentioned something about the dentist.
"The dentist," I thought. "I forgot about that whole thing. That used to suck."
And then I thought about it-- I hadn't been to the dentist in a long time, because there hasn't been anyone telling me to go to the dentist in a long time. It seemed that this was one of those things. One of those things I kind of had to take initiative with myself.
I was going to have to act like an adult.
So I hunted down a dentist, and made an appointment. The initial phone call went smoothly. "Okay," I thought. "Maybe the dentist isn't that bad after all."
Yesterday, I went. And it was horrible.
I had forgotten the horrors--
First, the lady went in with some ultrasound death needle thing and splattered water all around.
Then, she came in with the little pickaxe, while I tried to distract myself by thinking about my fantasy football team. This is probably the worst part. And when she's on tooth #3 you know that there are like 29 teeth left to go.
Then came the hideous scrub-brush experience. I don’t really know why this is so miserable. The scrub-brush doesn’t really hurt, exactly—it’s just incredibly unpleasant. Maybe it seems so bad now mainly because 6-year-old Tim hated it so much. So she scrubbed away for awhile, with all the little grains of that dry toothpaste flying around everywhere. Somewhere in the middle of all of this, I was contemplating a worse job than a dentist’s teeth cleaner lady has, and all I could think of was the person who has to apply makeup and hair styling to dead people before the funeral. Then I thought about it and realized that I’d rather have that job than clean peoples’ teeth.
Anyway, when the scrubbing finished, I experienced a rare glimmer of hope—just as I was bracing for the disgusting foam mouthpiece things with the sealing gel in them, I realized that adults don’t have to do that.
At this point she sent in the dentist and his nosehair. So he goes in with the pickaxe for awhile, and then declares that I have a minor cavity.
I have never, once, had a cavity before. I used to eat candy all the time. Now I eat almost none. I used to eat sugar cubes. I used to eat plain frosting. I don’t do that anymore. And now I have a cavity?
Was this like the chiropractor? I went into a Thai take-out restaurant last year and while I was waiting for my food there was a “FREE MASSAGE RAFFLE!” bowl on the counter. What the hell, I thought, and threw one in. A few days later, I got a call. I had won! What were the chances? Of course, it wasn’t a free massage, it was a sleezy chiropractor office luring people in. I went for my “massage” to find out that I had to schedule it for next month, but that today I could receive a free back exam. So they tell me my back is basically crumbling and that I need a 6 month program or I’ll suffer permanent damage. I declined, but asked the doctor about it next time I was in the doctor’s office—and he said my back was fine.
So since then, I’m suspicious of health professionals, and when the new dentist tells me I have my first cavity after 25 years without a problem, I was skeptical. So skeptical that I let them drill into my tooth and put in a filling. Now it feels weird when I bite down.
On the bright side, they gave me a new toothbrush. I wanted to ask for a balloon since the child dentist always gave me one, but I refrained. “I’ll get a balloon elsewhere,” I accepted.