Today I went to the dentist. Not my normal dentist (God bless his heart, he’s dealing with cancer), but this new guy who has a freakishly similar name that when mumbled into the phone receiver sounds much like my old dentist’s name, causing much confusion and multiple “I beg your pardon?’s”. (Note to New Dentist’s Secretary Lady: Please enunciate! Thank you.)
The good news is, the same dental hygienist who’s scraped plaque off my teeth since I was four years old (an age we determined just today) went along to this new guy’s office, so I was comforted. There’s nothing like the familiarity of a masked lady who siphons your spit into a tube to ease the transition to a new place.
I must say, technology is really improving these days. For my X-rays, I stood in the center of this room and bit down on a metal thing while this device circled around my head, much like something you’d see in an identity altering movie. Sort of like this, but without Dental Barbie to operate the machine:
AND the technology doesn’t stop there!
This new dude’s place also has a TV monitor that hovers above the dental chair! Instead of awkwardly looking over the hygienist’s and/or dentist’s head, you can now watch movies! Of course, it’s really only for surgical use, and so it was set to the 70s satelite music station (so says Nora: “Now everyone can suffer through the music I listened to growing up!”) but it’s still something to be excited about. I realized sometime in high school that all during my childhood, I would stare at my own reflection in Nora’s glasses. How strange that must have been for her, a young child staring intently into her eyes as she maneuvered tools inside its small mouth.
Anyway, today Nora also asked me if I’d had braces. She’s asked me this for the last few years now. As my only dental hygienist for the last 20 years, one would think that she would know something like that. But whatever, it’s flattering. I didn’t think my teeth were that deceptively straight. I think it’s pretty clear once I open my mouth that no accredited orthodontist has come near it. I don’t generally walk around in jaw-dropping shock, so the general public could be fooled, but I didn’t think Nora would be. And now that she’s asked me several times, I wonder…is there a pod person version of me out there who got braces and brainwashed Nora to think it was me? And why would they do that? And might I have their bottom row of (presumably) straight teeth?
Another thing she talks about is the fact that I have my wisdom teeth. This is something I am proud of, though maybe I shouldn’t be. I have 32 teeth, and no crowding! This goes hand in hand with my big mouth spiel, although in literal terms, my mouth is quite small. But, as Nora astutely pointed out, “it’s now how big it is, it’s how you use it.” (I’m not EVEN going to say it. Let’s admire my maturity here.)
The thing that I hate MOST about the teeth cleaning process is not the sharp miniature-sized murder weapon that is casually inserted into my facial cavity, but that stupid air siphoning tube thing. I’d rather swallow my own plaque than have air forcefully vacuumed around my dry teeth. It’s like the nails on the chalkboard sensation (and by that, I don’t mean the sound, but the way it feels on your nails to do that). UGHHHH *shiver*
Finally, baby doc came in to look at my X-rays. Not that he looked 17 or anything…I guess he looked like he was late 20s. But dentists are supposed to be at least 50 or 60, aren’t they?? Not only that, he was a totally disinterested twenty-something (in his job, I mean. Let’s hope he’s disinterested in his patients.) He looked bored as he glanced at my X-rays, then at my mouth. “Nice teeth,” he said. Then he diagnosed me as a teeth-clencher (he did this by looking at my tongue and not my teeth) and told me to go to Walgreens for a mouth guard thing.
He was gone by the time I could ask about my gum consumption. SCORE. I’m in the clear!!