I took a trip to the dentist last night. Brought my little sister along too–we had a double appointment.
So we get there, and Stefanie goes in first. Having forgotten to bring a book, I began to browse through the various year-old magazines that were scattered throughout the waiting room. I was perhaps halfway though “Why men cheat–everything you wanted to know about your unfaithful man!” or some other such fluff in one of the mindless pop-culture magazines… Then Stef comes out, and it’s my turn.
The dentist aide takes me in, seats me in the chair and is putting the bib on me and such. We’re chatting–she’s a little older than me, rather pretty, well-versed in literature.
Then the dentist comes in.
Darth Vader theme music plays as he strides into the room. The aide gives him a wave hello, but to me it looked almost like the “Heil, mein Fuhrer!” salute. The lights dimmed, and somewhere in the distance dogs began to howl.
The aide scurried away, vanishing into the doorway beyond and leaving me alone with the dentist.
So first he has me open my mouth and is “checking my teeth.” What this means is that he takes a sharp pointy object from his tray of sharp pointy objects and proceeds to scratch at each tooth. Sometimes he misses the tooth entirely and pokes my gum. The whole time he keeps sticking this little mirror thing down my throat–like he’s trying to see what I had for lunch or something. And he keeps the sucky thing in my mouth–to dry up my spit, I assume. It makes my tongue all dry until it feels like cardboard.
“I see that last wisdom tooth finally came in,” the dentist intones. It’s true–three of my teeth came in on time when I was 18, but the fourth was stubborn. It took its sweet time to work its way through the gum, only emerging fully sometime in the last six months.
He then proceeds to scratch the wisdom tooth…and scratch it…and scratch it… I’m having visions of all my enamel being scraped off for some sick dentist experiment involving the cross-breeding of goblin men and Russo Tooth Enamel.
“Oh dear,” the dentist says. “Looks like that wisdom tooth has a cavity.”
“Of course it has a cavity! You just SCRATCHED a cavity in it!” I want to scream.
I restrain my temper, and instead ask, “How is that possible? It just came in!” (Well, he still had his torture implements in my mouth. So it came out, “‘ow i’ ‘at’ ‘ossi’le? I’ ‘us’ ‘a’ in’!”) I’ve never had a cavity in my life, so I’m a little upset about this.
“Well, sometimes when a wisdom tooth takes a long time coming in, it’s easy for bacteria to get trapped down there and cause decay,” the dentist says.
Finally he decides that he’s scraped my gums up enough for one day. He takes out the pointy things and the sucky thing, and gets to the only part about dentist-visits that I enjoy–the mint spinny thing. So he takes the mint spinny thing and buffs my teeth up, squirting mint all over my face and shirt in the process. And then he tells me to spit.
I lean over the bowl and spit. I rinse, swish, spit again. Then I realize that for some reason, my saliva is bright red. Frantically I keep spitting until the blood washes away and it comes out clear again.
Wanting to yell at the dentist for making my gums bleed, I turn, but he’s gone. The pretty aide is back, taking off my bib. “You’ll have to make an appointment to get that cavity filled,” she says to me. And as slide off the chair, she hands me…a toothbrush.
She HANDED me a TOOTHBRUSH!
What exactly was she trying to say? I take VERY good care of my teeth! This is my FIRST CAVITY!
I walked out of that office feeling like a POW that’s been tormented by his captors. My filling appointment is for Tuesday.