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Friday, March 12, 2010

Don't Try Anything Funny -- I'm Watching You

Once again, ladies and gentlemen, cats and kittens, inboards and outboards, we approach the weekend.

But what does it hold in store for us?

Tea leaves? Chicken entrails? Oddly shaped moles? What do those things know about predicting the future when we’ve got the morning’s iPod playlist?

Come on in! The commute is fine!

Hmm. And the weekend looks fine as well:

One Man Guy by Rufus Wainwright
Keep the Car Running by Arcade Fire
Gratitude by Beastie Boys
Hand and Mouth by Nomo
Yes by Morphine
Kiss, Kiss by Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs
Insister by Tapes and Tapes

So I was laying back the other day, my mouth wide open, staring up at the bright blue eyes of my dental hygienist, when I realized that I could probably pick this woman out of a line up based on her eye lashes and the bridge of her nose.

This makes me happy.

Normally, I try not to think too much while getting my teeth cleaned. It interferes with the experience. It’s best to just lay there, neither fully present nor fully unconscious, letting the event, as it were, wash over you.

I lie to myself a lot. Truth be told, I generally spend the time in the dentist chair casually clenching its arms. Dentistry has come a long way since I was a child, but I still can’t get over the idea that someone might rush in, put a knee on my chest, and just start yanking out teeth indiscriminately.

I push these thoughts away with their opposite: “Isn’t this nice?” I think to myself. “At what other time in history could I ensure that my crowded little teeth get this kind of attention?”

It’s true, you know. Flossing my teeth is an adventure in torque, while my bite impression – particularly the front, bottom teeth – is distinctive enough to ensure proper identification.

Which is why I never, ever, bite during the commission of a crime.

I keed! I keed!

I’ll bite if I have to.

I like to ask questions when at the dentist: Getting many cases of Meth Mouth? How far can gums recede before the tooth falls out? Is that where we get the phrase “long in the tooth”? Can a lot of plaque make your teeth appear to be one solid tooth? Do you guys ever get together with highball glasses of Listerine cocktails and watch Little Shop of Horrors; and if so, do you fight over who gets to sing “Be A Dentist”?

Thankfully, my dentist thinks I’m funny.

And he has yet to put a knee on my chest and yank my teeth out indiscriminately, but that's probably because he can see that I am tensed and ready for just such an event.


mapstew said...

Have a happy weekend missus! It's looking to be a good one molar less! (see what I did there?!) :¬)


Simply Suthern said...

I had never had novacaine used while getting my teeth filled till I was 16. I squeezed the arms of the chair. ALOT!! My dentist was about 75 when I quit going there. He had jowls like a blood hound and shook like a jello in an earthquake. I started going to a younger guy closer to the house. I felt pretty comportable till I saw him in rescue training with tools while trying to extricate someone from a car. Not sure you can equate the two but I never let him pull a tooth. He tended to whisper all the time and I had a mouth full of gauze. MMMMm MMM MMM HUh, MMM MMM huh was pretty much the conversation on both sides during a visit.

savannah said...

i just canceled my dentist appointment, sugar! sweet mary sunshine, do y'all think they can put me totally under while he works? *sigh* xoxoxo

Elliott said...

I have similar random thoughts during dental cleanings, particularly the one about the evolution of dentistry. I miss my old dentist in WI, great guy. My dentist down here is a grinning idiot who wants to bleach and laser and grind and cap and veneer everything. It's all about looks.

Honest - the first time I went there, they asked me "What are your long-term dental goals?"

Indicating that I'd still like to have my teeth in fifty years wasn't enough, apparently.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

YOur dentist questions are so funny! I relax in the chair--it's rare for me to sit still and not have to talk or DO anything for a full half hour. I look at my biannual cleaning as a sort of spa treatment. Weird, but I do.

Princess L said...

God, you're hysterical.I've never met you, but I think we might be sisters because we think identically. I stumbled on your blog and I love it. Next time you're in Illinois, look me up and I'll introduce you to the rest of the family.
(God help you...)

Willoughby said...

In my teens, we switched from the nice dentist in the upscale office building, to the guy with one portable drill he dragged from room to room. I'm not kidding. He decided I needed to have my teeth bonded because my braces had left little marks on some of my teeth. He ground off the surface of my teeth without any novacaine. When I complained about the intense, searing, gut-wrenching pain he told me I was wrong. He said he wasn't working anywhere near the nerve and that I couldn't possibly be feeling any pain. Again, I'm not kidding.

He was so incompetent that he practically ruined my teeth. I need to have so much work done to make up for the terrible job he did. My current dentist actually called me a "gold mine" because of it. Nice.

Jeanie said...

My childhood dentist memories are the worst...though he must not have done a very good job. I have spent many hours in a dentist chair as an adult. Oh well, if I had lived a hundred years ago I would probably be toothless by now, so there is a bright side.

Molly Potter said...

Whenever I encounter a person in a career job that I've heard of that's different from what i do (that limits it to the main ones) I always ask, what's the high point for a .....(fill in as applicable). I have had answers from doctors, an optician, psychiatrist, vet, accountant (he thought I was insulting him), etc

but my dentist has never let me speak for long enough to ask.

And I really do wonder what a dentist's high point is.

Pat said...

When I'm in the dentist's chair, I think of my happy place--floating on a boogie board in the warm sunshine in the ocean by San Diego and saying to myself inside my head, "Relax...relax.. relax your toes, legs, arms, shoulders, head...' It works reasonably well.

I never was nervous in the dentist's chair until the dentist didn't give me enough novacaine while drilling for a larger replacement filling and he hit a nerve. I jumped. I said, I don't care if my whole mouth/jaw are numb, but give me another big shot of n! And he did and I still couldn't feel my tongue on one side at dinner time, but that was OK.

CatLadyLarew said...

I was another victim of a dentist who eschewed novacaine. Later, once I learned that not all dentists are sadists, I got to enjoy getting my teeth cleaned. Ah... relaxing. But I still cringe when getting fillings done... too many memories!

Secretia said...

I frequently have erotic thoughts of my dentist drilling me the other way.


Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

This 'parallel lives' thing we got going on is really starting to freak me out. I have been searching for a new Dentist since my last experience with 'Dr Seizure' was so memorable.

I want sedation Dentisty. Full on, out for lunch, Cal go sleepy time and wake up all better dentistry. They can even molest me while I am asleep. I don't care. I just don't want to ever do regular dentistry again.

When I was a cadet we went on a 3 day survival exercise and I got hit in the mouth by a canoe paddle which cracked two molars bad. In the middle of nowhere they brought in a military dental truck with instruments from WW1 and they fixed me up before dumping me back in the forest to fend for myself. When the freezing wore off I howled at the moon with pain and spent most of the next day looking for some native plant that our 'green tree huggin' Sgt said would ease my pain. I probably ate more hemlock and dangerous mushroom that day than I ever have. I still have 'flashbacks'. High on mushroom, in the dark forest, with a toothache is nowhere anyone ever wants to be.

Roshni Mitra Chintalapati said...

oh crap! I'm trying to convince my son that going to the dentist is not that bad an idea and then, I read this!

The Vegetable Assassin said...

Ha, I know what you mean because when I was six my dentist, who was about 300 years old and deaf, promised me he wouldn't yank a slightly loose tooth out that I was protective of, but merely "feel" it, then proceeded to drag that thing out of my head like that nazi in The Marathon Man. I have never trusted a dentist since. I still hate the dentist with a violent passion even though that old bastard is long gone and now they have "modern" equipment and stuff they didn't have in the 70s and 80s.

Amber Star said...

I never had anything like the horror tales your readers have posted. OMG if anything like that had happened I don't know what I'd do. I was pissed as hell when they had the nerve to take out my tonsils when I was eight and my dentist did NOT do that job. It was some other guy that was a sadist.

I've had peridontal surgery which is the worst thing ever ever. It was sadly the worst mouth pain I've ever experienced and I will go to the dentist everyday if it will keep me from having to do that again. My long term plan is to keep my teeth for as long as possible. I even babied one along that should have gone for 25 years. I promise I am a very good cleaner of my teeth and will always be good about it. Just please don't ever do the peridontal thing again.

helminthdale said...

absolutely nothing to do with dentists (me neither), but I read this and thought of you (-:

Jen said...

I can handle my dentist, but the endodontist scares the crap out of me. That happens when a guy who is supposed to perform surgery on your mouth shows up with one eye and a tremor. I have been too afraid to go back ever since he drilled through the wrong tooth.

Jayne sent me over, she noticed we live in the same neighborhood.

Joanna Jenkins said...

"Thankfully, my dentist thinks I’m funny." I think you're funny too.

I will never be able to look up at the dentist again without thinking of you :-)

Happy weekend,

Tempo said...

Seems we all had the same dentist when we were kids...the bastard! LOL
Long in the tooth refers to horses whose teeth continue to grow throughout their lives, hence 'long in the tooth' is an old horse.

sage said...

"Flossing my teeth is an adventure in torque"

That's a great line!

Zaedah said...

I'd very much like some chicken entrails, please! Anything's better than the dentist, whether they have good noses or not!