It’s a generally accepted rule that most people are reluctant to go to the dentist. In my case it’s not the actual dental work that bothers me but my germaphobia. The instruments have obviously been cleaned but that little nagging voice inside of me whispers “Dude, those have been in other people’s mouths, and they totally bled.”
I ignore the voice in favour of hopefully keeping all my teeth. My appointment was on Wednesday, and though as always I was apprehensive, I went with the knowledge that soon my mouth would feel cleansed.
The hygenist’s super cavitron or whatever wasn’t squirting water like it was supposed to, so she had to scrape my teeth in the old-fashioned way. I take decent care of my pearly semi-whites, brushing/flossing/mouth wash/not eating rocks/etc., but six months is plenty of time for crap to build up.
Repeatedly she asked “Are you okay?” but I was only flinching because of the horrible noise. It hurt, sure, it always hurts – but I can handle the pain. I can’t handle the high-pitched SCREECHY SCREECH SCREECH. Ugh.
A number of people poked their heads in during the procedure. A dentist, to ask if the hygienist was ready for my checkup. Another hygienist, trying to help with the super cavitron or whatever. The same dentist, saying that he was on his way home and she would have to get “Stefan.”
I hope it’s Doctor Stefan, I thought, but all I could say was “Awahaaha.”
Sure enough, Doctor Stefan poked his head in a bit later. “She’s almost ready,” the hygienist said.
“No rush,” Doctor Stefan said, with a smile. A nice guy, that Doctor Stefan.
The hygienist took my X-Rays quickly, and brought him back.
“I couldn’t get it as clean as I wanted,” the hygienist said. “My super cavitron or whatever is broken. Down there in the technical jargon area there’s still a lot of staining.”
Thanks, tea. (You know it’s your fault. Don’t deny it, you delicious beverage.)
I looked up at the dentist, a handsome and well-dressed young man, and realized with a start that he was younger than I am.
“Put a watch on the more technical jargon, blah blah I went to school for a lot longer than this silly patient,” the dentist said. He turned to me and smiled. “No problems this time, we just put a watch on a couple of areas to check next time.”
“Sounds good,” I said.
“Let me just grab your file, and we can go to the front, where they’ll remove your left arm in payment,” the hygienist said. She may have left out that last part.
The front desk was helpful, in fact more helpful than usual. I generally pay the difference but this time she put it through and said they’d charge my card when the insurance paid their end. I didn’t even have to pull out my much-abused plastic.
“Sweet,” I said. “Time to go and ruin my nicely cleaned mouth with some sort of unhealthy dinner.”
I left the office with a bounce in my step and headed for the bus stop. A series of trivial thoughts flitted through my brain. I honed in on my favourite, and shared it with my husband later.
“The dentists get younger every time I go there,” I told him.
“You say that every time,” he said.
My newly perfect teeth disappeared behind a pout. Not only had he ruined my moment, but he’d also pointed out what I’ve known for some time now:
I’m totally getting old.