How to Not Be an Anti-Dentite

About 5 months ago, I got a postcard in the mail letting me know it was time for my next appointment at the dentist’s office… so today, 5 months later, I strolled into the dentist’s office.

I love my dentist. He’s the father of an old friend, so I’ve known him forever and trust him and his hygienists with one of my most precious non-renewable resources: my teeth (have I told you yet about my awful teeth-falling-out nightmares? Terrifying.). So, as I enjoy their company, these people clean my teeth, give them a polish, and send me merrily on my way. Or at least, that’s how it used to be. As I get a little older, my dentist appointments aren’t nearly as carefree as they used to be.

I made my first mistake of the appointment early on. As I sat waiting to be called back into the depths of the office, I remembered the garlicky chicken I had had for lunch. I thought “hm, this probably won’t be pleasant for the people whose faces will be shoved into my mouth.” So, thinking very clearly in concern for others, I popped a peppermint into my mouth. About 20 seconds later, I got called into the office. Thinking quickly, I knew that the hygienist wouldn’t appreciate a patient with a mouthful of candy, so I chewed it up quickly. Yes, dispose of the evidence!… except that what I was left with was molars packed full of sugary pepperminty treats. Crap. I spent the next few minutes sneakily picking candy from my teeth. Gross, I know, but necessary. She never said a thing about it. After I had been given my fancy sunglasses and paper bib to wear for the duration of the appointment, the hygienist took a look inside my mouth.

“Hm, you’ve been brushing your teeth pretty hard lately, huh?”

“Psh, no. I mean, not THAT hard. I’ve done it harder.”

Then I mumbled something about how it was ok anyway, because my gums were tough, almost leather-like, and that I could handle it.

Why I felt guilty about my toothbrush pressure, I’m not sure. I shouldn’t feel bad about it — I stopped lying to them when they ask me if I floss everyday a long time ago. Now, the answer to the floss question is a laugh and maybe a “yeah, right.” Flossing is hard, and unless I’ve had a serious night of buffalo wings, it’s generally not on my agenda.

The next question came when she was in full on scrapey-mode. With her blades and needles in my mouth, she asked

“So, you’ve been drinking a lot of coffee lately?”

“Yah. I ‘rink mo-ah tha’ I use to in da ‘ornings ‘ow.” (which is how “I drink more than I used to in the mornings now” sounds when you’re trying not to get your tongue stabbed by a machete in your mouth)

I felt incredibly guilty for all these dental infractions, and strangely suspicious at the same time. What else did she know? What other secrets do my gums hold? What did she see, but not tell me because I’d think she knew too much and possibly turn her water-pik on her?

She must have known I was up to something (from her angle, she could probably see the cogs turning in my melon) and she dulled, nay destroyed, any hard-ish feelings I had for her as she gifted me with millions of tubes of tiny toothpaste as I left (note: only 4 but it seemed like a lot).

I am happy again. Yes, that is all it takes.

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