Thursday, May 6, 2010

Dental is all mental

Visiting the dentist is no longer as scary as I remember it to be when I was young. In those days, I never got used to the rubber dams that the Doc would somehow shove in my mouth. They were used to help keep debris from my throat as he cleaned teeth. That was pre suction-wand days and before most dentists had helper techs and hygienists on staff. The dentist chair was kind of scary too, as all of his instruments of torture surrounded you and were piled up on a small table. I would stare at those picks and scrapers and they would mock me with their potential to inflict pain. Dentists have done a good job to eliminate a lot of that kind of fear these days but now as an adult, a visit to dentist is more taxing to me mentally than on my teeth.

It takes days if not weeks of thoughtful preparation to go to the dentist. Yes I know we are supposed to floss every day but I am lucky if I remember to floss every week. Even then, my hygiene is usually inadvertently achieved with a side dish of tooth-trapped asparagus. So the days leading up to a dentist appointment, I have to make up for lost floss-time by aggressively flossing anywhere I can. Of course the floss fibers will shred between teeth and the process can be hard on the gums so sometimes they bleed. I look like Dracula after missing the mark and biting into a snow parka. I hack, clear my throat, and try to release the stringy stuff from my teeth with my tongue. You can imagine the fearful looks I get in public, while imitating a cat coughing up a hairball with bloody gums. You might as well stick bolts in my neck and chase me with fire – it won’t make a difference.

I must eliminate popcorn from my diet for a week prior to a dentist visit. There is nothing more embarrassing than some tooth-fairy cleaning tech, pulling hulls out of your teeth when you KNOW you haven’t had popcorn for at least two days. “I swear I brush – you gotta believe me!” But sometimes those translucent hulls will cup a tooth so perfectly that they defy brushing and definitely visual inspection to the untrained eye. Prior to the dentist visit, I’ll brush in the morning and then re-brush again before getting in the car mostly because after minutes, the minty smell wears off and I don’t want to offend the hygienist. The same goes for deodorant and any other stuff to mask my natural ‘dirt’ ardor.

This appointment is stupidly at 9AM so I am particularly mindful to all the other morning libations which make one presentable. Got to shave extra careful but not so close as to cause razor burn. Must clear those little ‘crusties’ out of the corners of the eyes. I ALWAYS double check the ears and nose too for little ‘bundles of wonder’ which can draw unwanted attention when your head is upside down in the dentist’s lap. Today is particularly special since I got sunburned over the weekend. Oddly, the lower half of my hairline is peeling in bright pink patches but my brow-line is intact and tan. Leprosy victims would engender more respect than me, as my cranium sloughs off frighteningly large chunks of glazed skin, with even the most moderate of head turns. Poor dentists – dental school never told them this how they might begin their day. The good news is that the dental visit preparations, while long and mentally draining on me, are no longer scary anymore. The sad part though . . . is the dentist’s people are NOW scared of me!

1 comment:

  1. You should try oil pulling. Your dentist will be very impressed at your next visit!