Smile…It Could Be Worse

I would try to smile, but it doesn’t get much worse than the current situation I am faced with. At least the anticipation, of the horrific event, is almost over since the ordeal’s scheduled time is rapidly approaching. The appointment has been confirmed, and there’s no turning back. My lovely wife will see to that. She is the reason I am in this predicament and why I don’t feel like smiling at the moment. Because of her, and her persistence, I finally gave in and now reluctantly have a date with the dentist, in a mere couple of hours, for my seven year exam. That’s right. I make a point of visiting the dentist approximately every seven years, whether I need to or not, but I suspect I need to this time, and that’s precisely why I ultimately gave in to my wife’s gentle hounding. She actually has been suggesting this visit for the last couple of years, but since I waited seven years between visits last time, and everything was fine, I decided I might as well try my luck again. However, I am somewhat worried this time the results may be a little different because the far back tooth, on the upper left side of my mouth, sometimes aches when I’m chewing.

I’m really not scared or nervous, if truth be told, to go to the dentist. I view the occasion more as an inconvenience than anything else. There’s so many other things I’d rather be doing with my time than laying stretched out on a plastic covered couch with my mouth opened wide. The thought of strangers (I haven’t been to this dentist’s office before) poking around in there isn’t all that appealing to me either. I don’t know where their hands have been, except in other people’s mouths of course, and there’s always the possibility of someone accidentally dropping something down my throat. I think what irritates me the most though is the unavoidable line of questioning I’m sure to endure while helplessly lying there with my mouth open. Most of my answers to their questions will typically be inaudible, or awkwardly responded to at best, and probably accompanied with some drool. Let’s not forget about the questions involving flossing and then the hygienist’s inevitable boring instructions, on the proper technique to use, for ultimately making my gums bleed. I am not an idiot! I know how to floss, but I choose not to participate in the tedious activity.

When I was a teenager I had no choice but to endure wearing braces, for three and a half years, due to a prominent overbite. My parents paid $1,500., so I wouldn’t appear too hideous to my junior high classmates. I was the only child in my family who had the pleasure of being referred to as “brace face,” “train tracks,” and “metal mouth.” I actually don’t remember that ever happening, but my older sister did call me “Bucky” a few times before I got braces. Many kids my age were in the same boat, and many others were “four eyes,” so our oddities really weren’t such a big deal. Back in the day there was only one style of braces – gray and bulky, with knobs and wires, and they almost completely covered every single tooth. I also had to wear headgear, adding insult to injury, to help in correcting my overbite. I was forced to wear the non-flattering and humiliating contraption whenever I went to bed and any other time I was in the privacy of my home. Some people wore their headgear out in public, and I should have as well, but I’m grateful my parents didn’t make me do that, or I assuredly would have turned out even more messed up than I already am.

I realize, as I’m now heading out the door, I shouldn’t have too much to worry about, concerning my dentist appointment, because over the years I have taken care of my parents’ investment. I brush my teeth twice a day, and I gave up chewing tobacco and opening beer bottles with my chompers a long time ago. I also faithfully use a toothpick after each meal, and I think that should count for something, but unfortunately it doesn’t seem to matter much to those working in the dental industry. Flossing remains “top dog” in their profession. The dentist’s office was pretty close to what I had imagined, after entering the facility, and as predicted there was a plastic covered couch awaiting me. I admitted to the hygienist, after being asked, that I never floss. I then received the anticipated lecture, but she was at least kind enough not to waste my time, nor hers, on teaching me the correct way to floss.

During the numerous x-rays and teeth cleaning I was reminded why I am not a fan of visiting the dentist. The whole experience is very tiresome, yet it is impossible to get any shuteye during the exam. There’s a lot of uncomfortable poking, scraping and scratching, and at times there is some pain involved. The continuous opening and closing of my mouth undeniably wears out my jaw by the end of the session. When all was said and done, after the hour and a half long appointment, I was declared cavity-free and so relieved to finally be leaving the facility. The dentist would like to see me again in 6 months, but I’m positive it will be closer to 7 years. I can once again smile, now that I’m back home, because I certainly know it could be worse.

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One response to “Smile…It Could Be Worse

  • Frank O'Gorman

    During my last appointment a few weeks ago, the hygenist spent a bunch of time railing against the costs of Obamacare, or which I am a strong supporter. Guess what.. she with the sharp instruments and hands in my mouth will win that argument every time! : – )

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