I had to go to the dentist today. One of my many fillings fell out last week and needed to be replaced before the huge gap in my tooth turned into a pulsing, swollen mass of infection, or before the tooth just simply fell out.
Through my growing-up years and even now, I spend more time at the dentist than the average person. My teeth are soft and extremely prone to cavities. I’ve become accustomed to the whine of the drill and the sound of my dentist’s laugh, but I’m really not fond of paying someone so that they can jab me with pointy things. At least now that I’m a mommy I have the benefit of reclining in relative quiet without little hands clawing at me and tiny toddlers scaling my legs. I suppose that’s something of a silver lining. Don’t get me wrong, I love my little ninjas, but once in a while it’s nice to revert back to one’s childhood by experiencing the feeling of a Novocain-induced fat lip.
Actually, I manage to find a few silvery linings about going to see the dentist. My dentist is swell: I’ve been seeing him for about eighteen years now and he has always treated my family and me very well. If the comfy reclining and kind treatment weren’t enough, I generally get a good chuckle at some point while sitting in that chair.
It’s quite a strange thing, lying there and staring up into that light. You know, the one they shine right in your eye? Yep, that’s the one. There I am with that bright light shining in my eyes causing me to be half blinded by light spots, watching as two people hover over me with surgical masks on and all twenty-five of their hands full of pointy and suck-y instruments and tools of torture. Really, it’s kind of spooky. And they’re leaning in closer and closer with their grotesque amount of hands, and I’m opening my mouth wider and wider, and it just doesn’t seem like I’m ever going to be able to open it wide enough for them to get all of their stuff in there. I can just imagine what it must look like from their angle as they pull and pry and yank on my lower lip. Sometimes it feels as though they’ve grabbed it and hooked it under my chin to keep it out of the way. It makes me laugh.
Then there are the games that we play. Someone will ask me a question and if I can answer him or her in a manner that they are able to understand without Mr. Sucky getting stuck on my tongue I win. If Mr. Sucky slurps up any part of my soft tissue and drowns me out with his hissing and gasping choking sounds I lose. I also lose if at any point during the visit I am unable to keep the water from the little yellow plastic cup from dribbling down my chin. It’s tons of fun. It makes me laugh.
It never fails, though, that at some point the cold air coming out the back of the drill will hit a sensitive tooth, or the dentist will have to employ the use of Mr. Drill’s brother, the nasty Mr. Bumpy. And when either of those things happens, I just close my eyes and smile about the fact that the dentist and his little helper don’t know that I’m singing hymns or happy songs in my head to distract myself. And that makes me laugh too!