Maybe I’m a freak, but I have always loved going to the dentist. I’d hazard a guess it’s because I spent all my childhood and teenage years with perfect teeth and never really had to have any dental work done outside of a regular cleaning.
<insert Orbit gum sparkle sound effect>
We had a family dentist that we loved. I’m sure he loved me least because I inherited my teeth from my dad. We’re genetically superior in that realm All my experiences had been good and I never had to endure the dreaded fillings or caps that plagued my siblings’ visits to the dentist.
When I was 21 I felt a twinge on the left side of my mouth. I knew what it was. There was sensitivity to cold and sweet and I called my dentist to make an appointment. Because of my schedule at the time there was no way I was going to be able to make it home to see him, but he gave me a recommendation near where I lived and I made the appointment with the other dentist.
Words to live by: Just because someone was your roommate in college does not mean they turned out to be a good dentist.
Trust me on this one. I know for a fact that Heather is no good at dentistry. (Good at recommending dentists though. We’ll get to that later.)
As I lay in the chair, the dental hygienist poised over me with her sharp tools, I saw the dentist enter the room out of the corner of my eye. On crutches. With both of his legs in long casts. I don’t even know how he was maneuvering himself around the office, but all I could think was, Dude, I could have come back on a better day for you. But he proceeded with the, uh, procedure.
I walked out of that office having felt the entire thing because the area around my teeth never went numb. Just the entire left side of my head. I’m inclined to think my brain was included in that, but no one believes me when I say it. I had a small laceration on my face (THE OUTSIDE) and a few on my lip from where he had nicked me. I was traumatized.
My next few trips to to see someone about my teeth were pretty bad. My wisdom teeth had to be removed and it was a year-long ordeal. After all that, I waited a while before finding a dentist nearby to take care of my regular cleanings and check-ups. Like, 2 years. I know, I know. But in the meantime I took really good care of my teeth. Other than my daily cup of coffee and my 3-5 cup-a-day herbal and green tea habit.
I called Heather because I knew that she really liked her dentist and I finally made an appointment with him. BEST DENTIST EVER. He talked to me about my problems, cleaned my teeth himself, and entertained me with stories about a bear attack (I don’t even know…?) while I rested in the chair. It was a good experience, the first in a long time, and I really hope he doesn’t retire for a while. Turns out my hard work was worth it because my teeth are in excellent shape and he doesn’t even want to see me twice per year. “Just keep doing what you’re doing,” he said, “and I’ll only need to see you once each year.”