“I know how important they are,” I told Layce. I slurped coffee through a straw. I couldn’t feel my lips and my tongue felt like it was two sizes larger than normal. I had just spent two hours at the dentist. Being the multi-tasker that I am, I got a crown followed by a teeth cleaning.
I wouldn’t recommend doing this to anyone including people I find annoying. I realize going to the dentist is a first world problem but it is still torture. I do want nice teeth but the mental, physical and fiscal toll is a bit much. Dentists must rank up there with IRS officials. We don’t like them but they are necessary evils. If we didn’t pay taxes we couldn’t flush our toilets or drive to the store on roads.
“How much was it?” Layce asked as she pulled a can of soup out of the cupboard. Whatever we were going to have for dinner it wasn’t happening now.
“Eight hundred and sixty five dollars,” I replied. “Which included the cleaning.”
“A veritable steal,” she replied. I was pretty sure that was a facetious comment.
“Except I’d rather buy a new winter wardrobe, a flat screen TV for Emma, take a weekend vacation or just about any other fun thing I can think of,” I said. “Why is that? I mean I chew a lot so you’d think that I’d be ecstatic about crowns, fillings, cleanings and a complimentary toothbrush, floss and toothpaste but I’m not. I feel abused.” I slurped more coffee. My lips still had difficulty wrapping around a straw.
I thought back to the fun and games I had at the dentist’s office. Like being asked questions that I can’t answer with my mouth pried open without sounding like a gorilla communicating with the rest of her tribe. Why do they do that? Is it amusing to ask someone what they’re having for Thanksgiving dinner? The answer sounds like “uh, goo ha herky aaa ah potaaathohs.” Do the techs and the dentist take a linguistic class in patient-with-mouth-full-of-equipment speak?
Next was the “Tell me if this hurts,” or the “How are you doing?” questions. Well, first off how am I going to do that when you’re drilling which sounds like the noise torture in the Clockwork Orange movie? Next question—how am I doing? I am having so much fun I can hardly stand it. Can’t you see my clenched fists and white knuckles?
Then there’s the quandary of whether I should close my eyes or keep them open? Am I being rude for closing them? Does that indicate I don’t want to see the dentist’s pores, moles or nose hairs up close and personal?
And finally the what-do-you-do-with-your tongue conundrum. I evidently have a very curious tongue. It wants to be wherever the action is. I try to tell her this is dangerous but she won’t listen. It’s amazing to me that after a dentist appointment I still have a tongue. Evidently dentists also take a class in how to deal with tongues.
The best part of a dentist appointment is leaving—except that I have to have another dentist appointment. I sigh and resolve myself to future torture. When I get home I know I’ll admire my new crown—not. The silver lining is that I don’t have to have a root canal because I’m being proactive. Somehow that doesn’t sound like a consolation.
Okay, when I think of it at least I’m not teething, having regular visits from the tooth fairy and looking like a vampire because I’m missing my front teeth.