I don’t remember if I was ever afraid of visiting the dentist when I was young. We didn’t go to a local dentist so usually a dental appointment meant a bit of a trip and a day off of school. Not much to dread about that. I won a stuffed toy Christmas bear from the dental office one year. I’m not sure how old I was, I was at that awkward tooth stage. You know, some are too big for your face others are too small and then there are the gummy gaps in the middle. The stuffed bear was white, dressed in elvish clothes and when you pushed its paw it played Christmas music. I thought it was pretty super cool. I also thought the birthstone rings they would bring out after my checkups were pretty super cool. I felt just as excited about perusing the dentist’s junk jewelry as a jewelry enthusiast does perusing the displays at Tiffany’s. However perusing was just a formality, I knew I would be getting a “diamond” because that was my true birthstone and why would a naturally born diamond stoop to anything less, like let’s say an emerald (take that May birthdays). Okay, in the spirit of full disclosure I would occasionally choose the aquamarine, it’s pretty too.
All in all my memories of the dentist don’t include any dread or despair until……..It was the first time I remember getting an official cleaning. I was around 18 years old so I’m not sure if I had cleanings when I was younger and just don’t remember them or if this was the first time I had got an actual cleaning done. One thing I know for sure was that this experience was unlike any other. My teeth were pretty clean, at least that’s what I thought. I’m sure the hygienist had to hold back a shutter of disgust when she peered into my mouth to see what she was up against. No need to visit the great barrier reef, I had grown one right in my own mouth. Really, there was a huge barrier of scaling that had built up on the back of my bottom front teeth combine that with the fact that I never flossed and you can imagine the treasures that lurked inside. (every boy that I ever kissed just puked, so like three guys, haha.) She was chipping and scraping away at that mess of scales for quiet some time. I’m sure she felt like some kind of archeologist searching for artifacts, “I know those teeth are under one of these layers.” I remember her telling me if I would floss more regularly my gums wouldn’t bleed quite so profusely. Oh, and she did tell me that she had to quit before she was all the way done because she had other appointments. I left a little embarrassed and with a mouth that felt brutalized and tender for days after. I remember thinking I was never going to let my teeth get that disgusting ever again.
Well, I went to visit the dentist yesterday. Still no cavities! Hurray for me! And, I must say, my experience with the hygienist is far less embarrassing than my first experience. All though my oral hygiene has come a long way since the bygone days of old I still have a few improvements to make. The hygienist doesn’t even have to tell me, I can feel just exactly where I need to focus more of my cleaning efforts. When she starts cleaning in the front it is all pretty run of the mill. The standard cleaning tools are implemented but as she works her way to the back of my mouth it feels as if she switches her standard cleaning tools in for some kind of archaic torture devices. Suddenly you get to the back two molars and It’s like I have feral kittens living in the back of my mouth.
I grew up on a farm and we had our share of wild cats. If I think back to what my hands looked like as a child I can see the cat scratches on them. The cats don’t get enough exposure to people and were not accustomed to being held and touched so when this cat loving little girl appears to show them her love they don’t respond too favorably. I’m pretty sure that they felt the same way my gums in the back of my mouth feel as they get so much love and attention from the hygienist. If my molars were feral kittens they would be hissing and scratching ferociously at the hygienist. It feels like the hygienist has mini razor blades in the back of my mouth slicing away at the edges of my gums. As I sit reclined back in the chair my mouth agape and sunglasses on, I realize I need to pay more attention to those back molars, I need to tame those feral kittens.
Anyway now that my teeth are all clean and shiny you may see me out and about and it might look like I’ve got a candy in my mouth, nope just running my tongue along my teeth imagining a skier slaloming through the new found space between my teeth that the hygienist cleared. Still need to work on that whole flossing thing. I know you are all lining up for kisses now.