Fun and Games at the Dentist

Going to the dentist has never been a favorite event of mine. (Is it for anyone?) And as I was lying there in the dentist’s chair this morning, contemplating my lot in life, I decided to try and come up with all the reasons it’s so high on my list of Unpleasant Things. (Anything to take my mind off whatever it was they were doing in my mouth.)

First off, I don’t understand what in the world is going on when I’m at the dentist’s. I get the process of teeth cleaning (more or less), but when it comes time to “restoration”? There’s a seemingly never ending flow of instruments going in and out of my mouth. Some of them drill. Some of them whine. Some of them beep. Some seem to do all of the above.

Sure, they numb you, but sometimes that numbing doesn’t quite do what you think it’ll do. There have been times I’ve had to get extra numbed because I can still feel what they’re doing. There have been times I’ve been so numb, I’m still drooling hours later. (I went on a date after dental work once. Bad idea. Ever tried finding a straw when you can’t feel your lips?)

Your mouth gets incredibly dry after being open for so long. You begin to wonder what exactly that liquid pooling at the back of your throat is made out of, and just how harmful it would be if you swallowed it. Have you already swallowed some? What if you can never swallow again in your life? And just how long have you been lying in that chair? And why is he getting the drill again? Did he find another cavity? He must have found another cavity.

That uncertainty. I’m not sure if it’s a good thing or not, actually. Maybe I’d be even more concerned if I knew exactly what each tool did. “Uh oh. He’s going for the Whizzbanger. That’s a bad sign.”

But hey: my cavity is fixed. I’ve sworn to always floss and brush, and renewed my vow to not forget. A vow not too dissimilar to the one we all make each year when we make a new goal to lose weight and exercise more.

On the plus side, this time my dentist took a close up picture of the decay in my tooth, showing it to me before he drilled. It definitely looked disgusting, and I definitely wanted it out of my mouth as far as possible. I think it was the most motivated I’d been before getting a cavity drilled.

Now if I could just feel my lips . . .


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