Anyone who knows me and has mentioned dentistry in the last, oh, well pretty much ever knows that I’m kind of adverse to going to the dentist. In fact I’m not positive of the exact date of my last dental check up, but I was 14 or 15 which makes it just about 20 years ago. My experiences with that dentist were not wonderful. He gave me a filling and then in my next visit said there was something on my tooth and proceeded to rip out the filling he’d put in previously. He was one of those dentists who liked to teach kids a lesson about why they should brush their teeth. So the lesson I learned was brush and floss all the time and never ever ever ever go back to a dentist again.
Over the last 20 years I’ve had several things come up where I probably should have gone to a dentist. Wisdom teeth growing in and hurting to the point where I couldn’t talk. Something getting infected or abscessed or who knows what but lots of puss pouring out of my gum surrounding a tooth or two for a while. That same thing again a few years later. Because I’m a stubborn jerk, all of these challenges were met with resistance of seeking professional help and I resorted to Advil and Peroxide. Luckily that did the trick and the nasty stuff went away and all was back to normal. Sure I was scared to death of what they might do, but I was also convinced I’d need a ton of work which I wouldn’t be able to afford. So I chose ignorance – better to not know exactly how messed up things were and not worry about it, then get a detailed report of things that I couldn’t fix and eventually add an ulcer to that. This was my logic and it made sense to me, so whatever.
My dreams of never seeing the inside of a dental office were smashed a few years ago when I found a cavity. It didn’t hurt, but I knew what it was and knew that they don’t just heal themselves so eventually it would get to the point where I’d have to go get it taken care of. The question was simply how long could I last. I have to admit I’ve been extremely lucky because since then it’s never hurt me once. A few weeks ago Tara told me she booked me a dentist appointment and I figured that it was time to pay the piper. And by piper I mean the dentist. Of course.
Funny enough I tweeted this morning that I was going to the dentist and people responded telling me how much had changed in the last 20 years but I swear everything was exactly like I remembered it. Maybe the dentist we chose just hadn’t updated his office or tools in 20 years, but I didn’t see any miracle of new technology when I got there. Anyway, I told him I hadn’t been to the dentist in such a long time and he said “OK let’s take a look” and shoved a mirror on a stick in my mouth and looked around. He said something like “Not that bad actually” then walked away.
I suspected he meant only half my teeth were rotting out of my head rather than all of them. When he came back he said “The reason you haven’t had to go to a dentist in such a long time is because your teeth look like they are in pretty good shape.” I was kind of shocked. He then took some X-Rays and moved on to the cleaning. For years people have been telling me that cleanings don’t hurt anymore but this mostly felt like he was cutting off my gums every step of the way. When he was finished he said “you floss don’t you?” and I told him I did so I was glad it seemed to have made a difference. I braced myself for the prognosis expecting a laundry list of things needing urgent attention.
The one I already knew about.
Everything else was A-OK. Holy crap.
The cleaning did indeed suck and now my teeth feel all weird and sharp, but I can’t believe how wrong I’d been and it’s such a relief. I still have to go back for the filling which I’m SOOO FUCKING NOT LOOKING FORWARD TO but it’s so much less than I was expecting. I’m glad Tara finally forced me to do it. So yeah, that was my day.