I’ve had a lifelong fear of dentists. They’re armed with Mengele instruments and they want to hurt me. Most often, I am tsked every time I go for some dental infraction I’ve committed and beyond the humiliation of my awful and dirty mouth, I just know won’t get my sugarless lollipop at the end of the visit. This one was no different. No. Oh, sure, she pretended to be nice and told me my teeth were in decent shape but I saw right through her little act when she started the whirring sound of that monstrous water-spurting polishing device. She dug in deep, and I flinched and felt like a big baby.
“So. Do you like living here? I bet you miss California. We get a lot of Discovery people in here,” she started on her monologue while she whittled away at my gaping, sore mouth. With the hose hanging out of the side of my mouth, depleting any sort of moisture from it, all I could do was nod. That seemed to encourage her to talk more. “How did you find out about our office? I guess probably from one of those other Discovery folk. That is one big building over there,” she said and I drifted back to my kitty cats, frustrated I couldn’t be engaged in this fascinating conversation and wishing I had a ball of yarn too.
I tried to find my happy place but was interrupted by words like “deep scaling” and “extraction,” and any notion of mental escape was kicked to the curb. All I had were the cats and they started to look as angry and mean as my dentist even though they had frolicky smiles. I hoped my insurance would cover all I had wanted done: whitening, porcelain veneers, bonding, and orthodonture. You know, the Extreme Smile. But, um, no. Insurance only covers the painful stuff. I did, however, purchase some bleach on my way out. I have the trays from a few years ago and Eleanor, the receptionist looked up from her glasses when I asked. “You sure you don’t want your work done first?” she asked.
“No. I can do this part now.” I am used to LA dentists where the very first thing they do when you walk in the office is bleach you teeth. In LA, they won’t even think of fixing a cavity when your teeth aren’t sparkling and I appreciate that Hippocratic ethic. First things first. Make the teeth pretty, as pretty as a kitty cat with a ball of yarn, and then do what you will with me.
I walked out of the office with a little bag of toothpaste, floss, my bleach, and brochures of the torture to come. My mouth is fine. My tongue likes playing with the new smoothness of its inside. But I swear, I had better not see a fucking kitty cat today.