Dentists have it tough. Imagine entering a career where your clients fear you. And then how many hours per day do you want to poke and scrape at someone’s teeth while dodging their wagging tongue?
My long history of braces, root canals, crowns etc. makes me a textbook example of… a dental textbook. My mother-in-law said, “If you aren’t feeling well, get a new toothbrush. You have a new toothbrush? You should’ve kept the old one.”
The typical healthy adult mouth contains 32 teeth, minus any wisdom teeth removed to avoid your mouth looking like a multi-car pile-up. If you had braces your dentist removed a couple to give himself more elbow-room.
Counting re-dos I suspect I am approaching the maximum legal limit for root canals. Yes, there are re-dos in the world of root canals. (Once wasn’t enough? This isn’t golf after all.) I’ve had so many x-rays, my head glows like Reddy Kilowatt.
With all the metal in my mouth it is a wonder I can pass airport security. I do have trouble tuning my car radio.
An environmental group sued to declare my mouth a toxic-waste dump. You need an abeyance to kiss me. A mining company petitioned for extraction rights (Make me an offer.) Another entity proposed to designate my mouth a natural wonder.
Some compare their experience with dentists to that hapless character in the movie Marathon Man. That would be unfair. Having known many fine dentists I cannot subscribe to their being sadists in lab coats. Many relieved me of considerable pain. Perhaps they are frustrated sculptors yearning to work on a grander scale.
One always pestered me with an unconvincing urgency to replace a perfectly good bridge. But getting him to attend to the immediate pain in my jaw was like pulling teeth. I awoke once feeling like he’d used a wrecking ball and a chisel. No jackhammers though.
A dental hygienist once sang a Barry Manilow song as she probed my molars and I gazed up her nostrils. How romantic! She sang soprano. I sang gurgle.
One dentist was hilarious (just what you want in a dentist). After trussing me up with a multitude of metal appliances, ensuring I couldn’t do more than groan, he performed a routine of his favorite jokes. More Novocain please.
Once, after getting a gold crown glued on, I ate lunch and accidentally swallowed the crown when it came loose. You know the saying “all things must pass.” I spent the next week literally panning for gold. Losing that would definitely have been a high stakes royal flush.
Excuse me. I need to go buy a new toothbrush.
John K. Adams is a writer and produces legacy videos through Storyography-Video Memoir Services. Visit LifeStoryography.com for more information. He flosses daily.