My life is over.
Just kidding. My teeth aren’t that bad. It’s just that I hate to go to the dentist, and I’m not even sure why that is. I think it must stem from some traumatic childhood event involving my teeth, but if that’s what it was, it was so traumatic I blocked it from my memory, because I can’t remember it.
Of course, there are lots of things I can’t remember anymore.
Like where I was going with this post.
I lied. I know exactly where this post is going: to the dentist.
I was just trying to put it off as long as possible.
Suction tube rocks!
Actually, I’ve had some wonderful experiences at the dentist’s office over the years. I really like my hygienist, Peg. We’ve gotten to know each other from my twice-a-year cleaning appointments, and we always chat about what’s going on in our lives. Granted, it’s a little hard to enunciate clearly with her fingers in my mouth, but we manage.
And I really like that little suction tube she sticks in my mouth to suck out all my saliva. I wish I had one of those at home. I’d use it when I start salivating watching the Food Channel. Or I could use it on the sofa to suck up all the fur the cat sheds there. It’d be great in the kitchen, too, when my husband grinds coffee beans and leaves little piles of coffee dust on the counters. I bet that suction tube would clean that all up in no time. And – oh my gosh! – how excellent would that little sucker be for when I drop something in the car and it lands way back under my seat? I wouldn’t have to yank my shoulder out just trying to reach it. Yep, I could think of a million uses for that little dental vacuum tube.
I wonder if I could get Peg to get me one? It’s not just for teeth, anymore.
Inspiration on the ceiling
Another thing I used to like about going to the dentist was its inspirational value. No, I don’t mean seeing pictures of shiny, perfect white teeth. I mean the posters on the ceiling. When I tilted back for Peg to clean my teeth, I could read all kinds of inspirational messages, like about enjoying your life, taking time to smell the roses, hug your kids, call your Mom, kiss a puppy.
Now that I think about it, there weren’t any messages about eating chocolate, but this is a dentist’s office, after all. I guess they only ordered inspirational posters that were also dentally correct.
Actually, one of the most memorable experiences in my life happened in the dentist’s office.
(Just a reminder, here, for those of you who have really wild imaginations: this is a blog post in a public venue, so don’t expect it to get kinky. Unless that’s the topic for the day, which it definitely isn’t. This is about my going to get my teeth cleaned, for crying out loud!)
The evil root canal
So, about this memorable experience: I got my first root canal. Which in itself wasn’t the most fun I’d ever had, but what made it so memorable was how much better the root canal made me feel. I’d gone to the dentist with a pain in my tooth, and he said I needed a root canal. But it was the day before Thanksgiving, and he couldn’t squeeze me into his schedule for the work that day, so I’d have to wait till the following Monday.
Holy buckets! I was going to have to live with the pain for four days?
“I’ll prescribe a painkiller if you need it,” he told me.
I needed it.
And then I felt no pain at all. I also couldn’t function the next day, let alone cook a Thanksgiving dinner. I think my sister came over and cooked. Or maybe there were aborigines from Australia in the kitchen. I’m really not sure. I really didn’t care. By the time I was lucid again, it was Saturday and I refused to take another pill. Sunday was pure misery. Monday morning I was waiting at the door of the dentist’s office when he came in. The dental chair never looked so good to me as it did that morning. An hour or so later, my tooth felt wonderful – no more pounding pain with every breath I took. I could function again. I loved dentistry. I loved my dentist. I even loved the fish swimming in the tank in the reception area.
But I didn’t love any of them enough to want to go through that again.
Procrastination is my friend
So maybe that’s why I hate to go to the dentist. Somewhere in a dark corner of my brain, I’m afraid my dentist will find another pain in my tooth that will temporarily incapacitate me. The inspirational posters won’t help. Nor will Peg’s vacuum tube. And I’m not taking the painkiller again.
Wait! I have the solution!
“Ah, hi, Peg. I can’t make my appointment today. Can we reschedule….again?”