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Monday, February 3, 2014

Another Way We’ve Failed Our Children; or Cavi-Tease


She started as an intern.  Tall and slender, invisibly pored skin like velvet spring, Kara is what is right with the next generation of office workers:  she learns quickly, she never says that she doesn’t know without adding “but I’ll find out”, and I once caught her smelling her un-shoed foot.

A sense of humor is imperative in an office environment, don’t you think?

“You can’t smell that over there, can you?” she had said, smiling and pink-cheeked.  She held up her shoe, a cute little flat no doubt fashioned by elves and left outside her bedroom door.  “Really.  Nothing should smell this bad.”

What could be more charming?

Since then, Kara has gone from intern to full-fledged employee.

We had lunch the other day.

We are surrounded by men in slacks and sweaters, women in woolen skirts and tights.  I am eating the brie and apples out of my salad and talking about my new electric toothbrush.

As one does.

“So it’s like this whole new world, you know?”  I examine a bit of apple.  “It’s like I had spent my life brushing my teeth with a bowling pin, and suddenly there I am, all state of the art-ish.”

Kara grins at me.  “You seem really excited,” she says.

“I am!  It’s like the first time you try cilantro.  You wonder:  how did I live before this?”  I pick at my salad.  “I’d show you all the fillings I have, but that seems more like a dinner thing than a lunch thing, don’t you think?”

Kara grins over her salad.  “Fillings,” she says, as if trying the word for a first time.  “Those are for cavities, right?”

My fork pauses, mid-air.  “Are you playing with me?”

She shrugs.  “I don’t know anyone who has a filling.”

I stare at her, blinking slowly.  “You don’t know –“

She smiles.  “Everyone I know has this plastic film, a sealant over their teeth.  No cavities.”

I lay my fork on the plate.  “No one you know has had a cavity filled?”

She shakes her head.  “Nope.”

“But how is your generation going to form a fear of the dentist without getting fillings?  I almost pity you.”


Kara smiles, lifts a fork filled with salad, toast-like.  “I guess we’ll just have to struggle with that,” she says.”

35 comments:

Launna said...

My oldest had those white sealings and she only ended up with one small pin point cavity and she is 32... I on the other hand is from the era of fillings... :)

Pearl said...

Launna, practically every molar in my head is filled. :-)

joeh said...

I wish I grew up in the age of no fillings! In the day the dentists filled first and asked questions later. I suspect 2/3 of my fillings were not even cavities cause when I stopped going I never had a problem. The only teeth issues I have now are with the old fillings popping out and teeth cracking...DAMN!!

Sorry for the rant.

Indigo Roth said...

Wait, what?! No seriously, what?!

darsden said...

Have I have plenty fillings if anyone needs them!!! My niece has said this too.. she is clean.. Clean I tell ya. Makes me sick. Ack dentist!!!

I have to go now and make my dental appointment for pain!!

Silliyak said...

Timely, this very morning I have a date with my dentist for a filling. But now after root canals and an implant, I scoff at mere fillings!

Shelly said...

This generation and all the things they've missed: fillings, 8 track tapes, rotary dial phones...I feel for them.

Delores said...

Daughter got the sealant (oh so many years ago) and I do believe she has never had a cavity. I, on the other hand, we can share notes about our cavities. Fear of the dentist....it's becoming extinct.

Pearl said...

joeh, had my "roots scraped" about 10 years ago. Any time the dentist asks you if you want the work done in halves or in quarters, you know you're in trouble.

Indigo, I know, right?! :-)

Dar, take notes! I find the dentist office to be a hot bed of weirdness/blog fodder.

Silliyak, hey, once I've got my headphones on they've got the gas running -- and I insist on the gas! -- they are free to root around as much as they like, because what you have THERE is a party! :-)

Shelly, the concept of counter clockwise, "mix tapes", seeing the Wizard of Oz only at Thanksgiving... :-)

Delores, amazing, isn't it? Will our lives one day be entirely pain-free?

Should Fish More said...

My dentist, Joe, has country western music playing in the waiting room, wears cowboy boots and jeans, and when I flinch he looks at me and says "That shouldn't hurt" and keeps on working. His idea of gas is...well, nevermind.

Lamar Rios said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jenny_o said...

And here I always thought fluoride was the reason my grown kids never had cavities, while I have more fillings than teeth. In middle age I am having the fourth go-round on a number of molars (fillings, then replacement fillings, then root canals, then crowns). All of my childhood fillings were done without anesthetic of any kind except whatever effect my death grip on the chair might have had. The first time I had a needle for freezing, it was an amazing revelation that dental work didn't have to be terrifying, but it's still not my favourite way to spend a couple of hours :)

Steve said...

The dentist and I are old friends. I visit him and pay for his next vacation. Plastic covering. Where was it when I needed it.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
no no no no no no no no nono nonononononoo....

But watch this girl Pearly - methinketh she has your measure...
YAM xx

Leenie B said...

I knew you'd like the electric toothbrush. Makes one feel so high tech. Dentists and kids with no fillings--not so much.

Jayne Martin said...

I'm outraged!! What's this sealant crap that's been discovered since I was a dentist-fear-biting child?! I'm telling you, we're turning out a generation of wimps.

Daisy said...

I LOVE my electric toothbrush! Use it after every meal and at bedtime even if my six teeth are already clean.
Daisy's Barbara

Gigi said...

Yeah - these kids today are soft! Mine had the sealants and no darn cavities to prove it.

Sioux said...

Pearl--Have her watch the movie "Little Shop of Horrors." That will make her scared of dentists.

(I not only have fillings, but I have a couple of grafts and a couple of splints--I bet my gums are in worse shape than your teeth. ;)

Joanne Noragon said...

I have a tall, willowy young 'un, a graduate degree short of 25, on the audit team. I may ask if she has cavities. As she could be my granddaughter, odds are, No.

vanilla said...

Not often do I feel I was born too soon, but this, this life without dentistry. I'd be young again for that!

Lin said...

You haven't lived until you have suffered. She's got some surprises coming.

Daisy said...

*shaking head in disbelief* Kids these days!

Camille said...

Ack! I have one word Pearl...CROWNS!!! Ack!

Christian at Point Counter-Point Point Point said...

I've never heard of these plastic film things either. Why are they only putting them on the young? What do they know that we don't!!!

HermanTurnip said...

I dunno...cilantro tastes like aluminum foil to my delicate palate. I'd rather undergo a root canal at the school of dentistry of your choice than have to eat another fish taco sprinkled with that vile weed.

Diane Tolley said...

Or suggest the movie, Marathon Man. That'll give her the appropriate shivers for the rest of her life. No cavities required . . .

Linda O'Connell said...

So these poor dentists depend on older folks for job security? After the teeth straightening, what more can they do with young ones? I used to be able to ring up aliens in my mouth until my "teenage-dentist" replaced my amalgam fillings with beaucoup costly white ones.

jeanie said...

I am a veteran of Fillings, Plates, Mouthguards, Root Canals, Wisdom Teeth, Braces, Prosthodontists, Orthodontists, Maxillo-Facial Surgeons (well, only one of them), Ceramists, Periodontists, Hygienists and Money-Hungry Barbarians.

I never get offered Gas. Just Needles.

I. LOATHE. THE. PEOPLE. WHO. PROFIT. FROM. MY. MOUTH.

I am willing to go down to Georgia to contemplate a life without such ordeals.

Youth. It is wasted on the Young.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

The magic of sealants. but you still have to brush and floss.

Jocelyn said...

She's probably never heard of Reagan.

My husband, the genetic freak, never had sealant and STILL HAS NO CAVITIES. Bastard.

Jo-Anne Meadows said...

How does one get to be an adult without fillings I have them in pretty much every tooth and now I have partial plates because I don't have fillings in my back teeth, because I don't have back teeth....lol

River said...

I have only three untouched teeth in my whole mouth. All the rest have fillings. My fillings have fillings! And many teeth are missing.
my children fared better. 3 out of the 4 have one filling each, the fourth has none. Not one single filling, no missing teeth, perfectly straight without the aid of braces.

Suldog said...

Really? I'm so devoid of teeth now that I had no idea of the latest things in dentistry. They just seal 'em up now, huh? Man, I wish they had had that when I was rotting my enamel in the 60's and 70's.

Thomas DeFinnis said...

Yeah, heh. Dental trips have their own sets of quandaries and quirks, not only from generation to generation, but from service to service. Go with one that works for you from the standpoint of positive yet relevant experience, to instill the virtues and values of dental maintenance in lives.

Thomas DeFinnis @ Wynnewood Dental Arts