I was an odd child. I actually enjoyed going to the dentist. In fact, I never once had a problem with the dentist or the checkups or the smells or the sounds that come with a dentist's office.
Until last night.
It's been a year since I've been to the dentist simply because I wasn't able to get an appointment scheduled considering how much I work and how restrictive my dentist's availability is as well.
I left work and went to the gym for a quick workout. Then I showered and drove to the dentist's office. I guess I should've considered it a (bad) sign when, as I chewed on a piece of gum to freshen my breath a bit, I bit through my tongue.
When I got there, a new dental hygenist introduced herself to me and showed me to the chair. I sat down and she went to work cleaning my teeth. Of course, like any dentist or hygenist, she tried making small talk with me about where I came from, what I do for a living, and what the Bears' chances were in the Super Bowl. And, like any patient, I mumbled what little I could through my pried-open mouth that had a mirror and scraper sticking in it.
The first of my in-office pain came as she scraped down into my gums. For some reason, my gums were incredibly sensitive this week and every little nudge with that stupid prongy scraper thingie resulted in an intense wave of bone-grinding agony. Then she found the really sensitive spot. And she kept cleaning and scraping and cleaning and scraping over and over and over and over again all in that one spot. MOVE ON ALREADY!!!
When the hygenist finally did as I willed her to do, the dentist came in and told me what I knew was coming... I have a cavity in a spot that already has a filling. She would need a second appointment the day before the Super Bowl to pluck out the old filling and replace it.
I haven't had a cavity in more than a decade. Bummed out is a bit of an understatement. I always thought I took decent care of my teeth. I brush regularly. I floss nearly once a day. Heck, there was a five-year span that I didn't visit a dentist because I could never find one I liked. When I finally did go back, my mouth was in great shape. Not a thing wrong with it. So what made this one year such an act of oral regression? I was ticked. And I'm sure my demeanor wasn't exactly helped by the fact that I had discovered the dental hygenist equivalent of Nurse Ratchet.
Okay, maybe that was a bit mean. She was a nice woman. But, seriously, enough is enough.
That spot in my gums still hurts this morning from her incessant poking and scraping.
If there's one upside, it's that licking my wounds is an easy task.