This morning I had to go to the dentist.
I don’t really like going to the dentist. I understand that it’s necessary. I always feel better once I leave. But the actual visit is rarely much fun for me. To start, I don’t have the best dental hygiene. My floss gives me sad, puppy dog eyes from my medicine cabinet each day. This usually means that as a result of one visit, I have to schedule another. For more on this vicious cycle, I refer you to my brother, who swears by a carefully thought out conspiracy theory he developed on how dentistry is the biggest scam in the world.
I also don’t have a high tolerance for pain. So, clearly, the person who jabs iron claws into my gum line is not the first one I have on speed dial. I’m also a bleeder. If you saw the little paper bib they take off of me at the end of the visit, you’d think the guy was a butcher, not a dentist. And when they have to do x-rays, I give them a headache because I’m a gagger, too. Those little squares of x-ray film always manage to poke and tickle at the most sensitive parts of the roof and bottom of my mouth. I can never keep my tongue still, so I wind up knocking that preposterous targeting contraption they make me hang out the side of my mouth off its alignment. I figure I’ve accidentally had the sides of my face zapped with radiation so many times that I finally can explain that mutant third row of teeth lying dormant in the roof of my mouth.
Regardless of my many hippocratic handicaps, I knew I needed a cleaning and check-up. So, I found a dentist in the neighborhood and made an appointment. Dr. P is a nice guy. He certainly knows what he’s doing, and clearly loves it. Maybe a little too much. He told me he doesn’t have a hygenist on staff because he enjoys doing cleanings himself too much.
It was during said cleaning that I had a moment that only I could have. While he scraped and whittled away the gunk on my enamel, he suddenly stopped. “Oh,” he said. I saw him reach into my mouth with his thumb and forefinger and take something out. “Your crown came off.”
I stared up at him. “Oh,” I said, equally surprised. “Put it back on.”
He quickly mixed the dental cement and carefully reset it. He claims it’s not uncommon for the adhesive to lose its hold after some time. I’ll give him this one. If it happens again, then I know he’s just digging too hard.
I emerged minty-fresh, chompers intact. I went off to work, where I thought long and hard about what to eat for lunch, for fear of messing up Dr. P’s handiwork. I’m happy to report that I won’t have to be chaning my diet.
The entire experience made me think of the most famous dentist story, which I’ve embedded for you all below.