Freaking Out Squares

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Son, Be a Dentist-You'll Be A Success

Shout-out to my fellow musical theatre geeks for the title. I was toying with using the whole Steve Martin/Bill Murray S&M sequence wherein Bill Murray, upon having a tooth extracted, ecstatically hollers "Ohhhh...candy bar! Gonna get a candy bar!" whilst Steve Martin bears down on his jaw with the savagery of a rabid SS officer, but I thought perhaps that would be a mite obscure. I guess I should point out that the above is from the movie version of Little Shop of Horrors-the musical version, of course, not the 1971 Jack Nicholson straight horror flick, which I don't think I could watch because I'd be sitting there singing along to, well, nothing. Which is okay if you're alone, but I know from experience that singing show tunes under any circumstances tends to drive those around me to drink, insanity, or murder. Sometimes all three at once.

Unnecessary but potentially amusing prologue aside, I made a trip to the dentist today to see what was up with a molar that's been twingeing off and on for a couple of weeks now. Since moving here eight years ago, I've been to a dentist twice. And unlike a friend of mine who shall remain anonymous for the purpose of this anecdote, I don't spend forty-five minutes at a clip brushing, flossing, Water Pik-ing, and gargling with extra-strength organic mouthwash. I tend toward the benign neglect philosophy of dental care, a stance further aggravated by my coffee and nicotine habits. Given the evidence, it seemed reasonable to assume that the twingeing in my molar was the beginning of the end for my tooth. I've never had a root canal, but I've heard stories. And like appendicitis and cancer, it's one of those things I'd deal with if I had to, but I don't precisely wish upon myself. Well, except when deep in the throes of "crucify meeee!", but let's move on.

Picked a dentist out of the Queens Yellow Pages ("Gentle Dentistry"--sounded good), toddled off, filled out the paperwork, got X-rayed, waited for the verdict. Which was? Nothing. Not a damn thing is wrong with my tooth. According to my new very pleasant, if somewhat reserved, but fairly gentle dentist, the molar is "sensitive." That's it. Brush with Sensodyne, come back in six months. As for the other teeth, there's an infinitesimal pit that may or may not develop into a cavity in another molar, but is fine for now.

I've had two cavities in my lifetime, when I was nine and 11. I went through two excruciating years of orthodontia in middle school (curiously, the bullies never said word one about the tinsel teeth. I guess stomping after me in the hallways chanting "Fat bitch" slaked their thirst for brutality), and I had my wisdom teeth extracted when I was fifteen (and let me tell you, I swelled up like an eggplant! Holy shit--I had no freakin' clue my face could get that big, and I thought it was permanent, and when another friend of mine who shall also remain anonymous dropped by to offer "comfort" saw me, she shrieked, "Oh my god, you look like Eric Stolz in Mask!"). I've gone four years--twice--without seeing a dentist. The way I figure it, my teeth should be rotting out of my head and my gums should have receded to the quick long ago. I am now firmly convinced that I have ivories of Kryptonite. Which I suppose would technically make them Kryptonite instead of ivory, but details, details.

Bottom line--I gots good teeth. Thank god. Or fluoridated water. I'll go with Door No. 2.


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