Despite my insistence back in April that I would do nothing of the sort, I finally broke down and went to the dentist for the first time in seven years. Teeth are so 2004.
A combination of so-called “dental insurance” combined with a growing sense of my own mortality brought on by turning thirty, sent me looking for a dentist to hack away at my sorely neglected teeth.
I fully expected to be told that my teeth were all falling out. But as it turns out, I’ve been blessed with good dental-genes, which makes up for my complete inability to see anything in the dark.
Also, there have been some impressive changes in the world of dentistry over the past decade.
For starters, the chair. The dental chairs of my youth were cold, hard, leather covered with thick plastic sheeting, the same kind of plastic elderly women put over their dining-room chairs to protect the upholstery. This new dental chair, however, was nothing short of luxurious. I’ve never sat in a more comfortable chair, although at this point in life my chair-standards have been drastically lowered, disdaining only that which has recently been peed-on, or is otherwise sticky. I’m ordering two for my living-room.
Next, the distractions. Growing up my dentist had a variety of mobiles hanging over the chair. I think there may have also been some posters, starring cute baby animals and possibly some sort of “Smile!” message. This time around, mounted to the side of my chair was a TV. With cable. And I got to control the remote. Thanks to that TV, should you wish to bypass the whole small-talk-turned-pantomime thing wherein the dental hygienist insists on holding a conversation with you while you attempt to communicate your annoyance and/or distress by making vowel sounds and possibly pointing at something, a simple “Shut up! I’m watching my stories!,” or more likely, “Ut uh! Ih oshing y ories!” should suffice.
Finally, the instruments. My life-experience with dental equipment went something along the line of, poke, POKE, jab, scrape, stab...oh dear, it looks like your gums are bleeding, do you floss? Now, it’s not as though poking and jabbing and scraping didn’t occur. But there was also beeping. And some wand measuring the density of something (my teeth? my jaw bone? any dentists out there?) Anyhow, all I had to do was sit there while the hygienist ran that wand by each tooth and shouted out numbers seemingly at random. The future is now!
All in all, not a bad visit. I (surprisingly) don’t have any new cavities, and the old silver fillings I got as a child won’t need to be replaced for a while yet. I got my hands on a free toothbrush, and samples of dental floss. And, just in case I get bored, I get to haggle with my insurance company as to whether or not this particular dentist is in their network.
Next time I might spend up to a month prior to my appointment guzzling soda and eating nothing but Werther’s Originals. I don’t want to bore the dentist again.