Lessons from the dentist

Not the most dependable flosser

At home over break, I basked in the short-lived reality that I didn’t have to do much, besides wash the dishes after dinner — until my mom said something that shattered my beautiful pretense of deserved sloth. “Honey, remember your dentist appointment is this Wednesday!” she called out blithely from yonder room.

The dread entered with an abrupt inhalation, and latched onto my breath’s oxygen, permeating my circulation. The dread slid through my veins, coalescing in my chest. I really don’t like going to the dentist.

When I got to the dentist two days later, my foreboding was confirmed. The dentist took a swift look at my x-rays and, a little too jovially, said, “Six cavities! When can you come in to get these filled?”

Before the reader recoils in disgust, they should understand that I recoiled in disgust at myself when I heard the news. I’ve never been the most dependable flosser, but damn. Six?

With effrontery, I asked for all six cavities to be filled in one sitting. When the dentist asked if I was sure, I nodded confidently, because who really desires to visit the dentist’s office any more times than they have to? Two days after that, I was sitting in the same chair, numb in “all four quadrants” of my mouth, with dribble sliding decadently down my chin.

Fixing all six cavities had taken about two hours, and my dentist let me listen to my ever-soothing electronic music during the drilling and filling, easing both the physical discomfort and my mental battement on my inability to maintain decent oral hygiene. A little after, I made the drive to a friend’s house a couple hours away, letting the feeling in my lips, gums and tongue increase with every song I attempted to sing along to, slobber and all.

A few weeks later, my fillings hurt. They’re not supposed to be this sensitive, but every time I try to, say, chomp on one of my favorite foods, i.e. raw Top Ramen, I end up shrieking and grimacing from weird tooth pain. What’s the lesson I learned? “Don’t let your teeth get to such a foul state, you gross sicko?” Yeah, that works. Maybe also, “Tackling a big problem sometimes takes more than one try.”

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