“You don’t look like you’ve had a lot of dental attention,” he said, tapping one of my molars.
“Yrrch,” I agreed, drooling slightly and wondering if anyone had ever bitten him by accident.
“I’m going to need a peri probe over here,” he muttered.
After a bit of poking and prodding which included being gouged in the gums with what felt like a toothpick, he pulled his hands out of my mouth. I’m not really sure what the etiquette is here, I mean do I leave my eyes open and gaze blankly at the ceiling, or do I close them demurely while the dentist plunges around in my mouth? And why do dentists talk to you when you can’t respond?
“Well, I don’t see any problems.”
That’s right, kids, apparently when you don’t go to the dentist for a decade…nothing happens. But seriously. I still think regular dental care is a good idea, and I’m really pleased that nothing is going on in my mouth that shouldn’t be. I also appreciated the fact that the dentist didn’t harass me at all for not going for over a decade. The dentist recommended a cleaning, and he seemed slightly astounded that I didn’t have suppurating ulcers in my mouth or something, but apparently my teeth are a-ok. My father, of course, pointed out that his teeth didn’t bother him until he was 40 when I smugly called him with the news, implying that the best is yet to come.
Not so pleased with the state of dental x-ray technology, however. I feel like x-rays weren’t very pleasant when I was a kid, but perhaps the dentistry industry might have developed, you know, a better system. Apparently that is not the case. The dental assistant took 18 films of my teeth, and I gagged and drooled through pretty much the entire process. Apparently I’m the worst patient she’s ever had; I heard her say it in the hall. I think she might have said that because she thought I was going to vomit during film 17, though. Which I would like to argue was not my fault, since my tongue was trapped under an incredibly sharp piece of x-ray film and I had snot pouring down the back of my throat and I was drooling, and I defy you to not at least gag when that happens.
I would recommend that the American Dental Association consider investing in some research and development to create smaller, padded x-ray films. My mouth feels like it’s been sliced apart by a rabid sushi chef.