I’ve never had a cavity.
Which is a miracle considering what I was raised on. I come from a long line of good southern cooks. I drank my iced tea with enough sugar to ensure the spoon could stand on it’s own. All meats were deep fried in bacon fat and accompanied a side of gravy. Dessert was served after breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And then, there were the columns of Oreos, life’s most perfect food.
It’s a wonder I don’t have a set of teeth that sleep in a jar at night.
My mama had good teeth. She didn’t experience a cavity until her late 30’s. And I clearly remember how she felt assaulted by the news. You may as well have told her that Tom Jones was gay. She would have taken it equally as bad.
I didn’t lose my two front teeth until the 5th grade. And my first training bra was still another year away. Salt on the wound. By high school, all my adult teeth were mercifully in, except for my two eye teeth. Every year, our family dentist advised my parents to have those poor baby teeth pulled, and to put me in braces.
Instinctively, my parents knew that my fragile teenage mental state couldn’t take it. And they were sure that I would have made their lives even more miserable than I already was. They were absolutely right.
I can admit that now.
I held onto those baby teeth until about 5 years ago. I kept feeling a popcorn kernel stuck in my teeth. Without the benefit of eating popcorn. I discovered, to my horror, that the adult eye tooth was finally making an appearance, fashionably late. But, the room was too crowded, so it wasn’t getting in. Not without a fight.
Enter adult orthodontia. The baby teeth had to be pulled and “chains” were attached to the stubborn adult teeth, to coax them down. Along with top and bottom braces. The whole thing was much more violent than I’m describing. I’d love to tell you that I was a trooper and endured the hardship with grace and ease for the two long years that it took.
But that would be a big fat lie.
AND I ate popcorn and chewed gum when I had braces. Because I’m a REBEL.
But, with all that behind me, I went for my teeth cleaning this week. The annual Scraping Of The Plaque. Which really isn’t all that bad. I mean, I’ve never endured the pain of drilling for a cavity, or a root canal. So, I shouldn’t complain.
But I do.
At one point during the cleaning, the technician dropped the suction tool on the ground. “Five second rule” I cheerfully chirped. She doesn’t have kids. She didn’t get my humor. She had to stop and sterilize herself and the tool all over again. If I had been a technician with my first patient, I would have boiled everything for two minutes. By the second patient, I would have rinsed it off. But by the third, I would have just shook the hair off and stuck it back in my patient’s mouth.
Maybe that’s why I’m a mother. And not a dental technician.
The actual dentist came into to view my x-rays and look inside my mouth. Thusly ensuring I was getting my moneys worth out of this visit. With a smile, I was told, “Wow, for someone your age, you have a really great set of teeth!”
I force a broad smile, “Why thank you.”
That was so unnecessary.
A root canal would have been less hurtful.
To ease my pain, I went to Dunkin’ Donuts afterwards.
Oh RELAX, I didn’t do it. I just got coffee.
But, I thought about it. And the thought made my smile genuine.