Smile and Say Cheese

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.

October 26, 2007

14 Responses to Smile and Say Cheese

  • When I was a kid — I used to LUV the dentist… weird huh?

    I still genuinely cherish the after dentist feel of my mouth!

    One improvement since child hood — those masks!! I appreciate the barrier — it helps with the coffee breath… in fact, I may take up wearing one myself… save on mints.

    Oddly enough — my mouth is full of fillings, and a crown to boot. I feel very queenish!

  • That power chain is evil….pure evil!!!

    I got my braces off about 2-3 years ago, and I must say that I ate everything I wasn’t supposed to eat while enduring braces as well.

  • I feel your pain. The chains, the adult orthodontia, the horror.

  • A snaggletooth in 5th grade! You poor thing. I’m afraid my daughter is on the same path, her teeth are steadfast in her mouth while all of her friends have already lost theirs.

  • “For someone your age”???

    ….grrrrr……

    I love that you blurted out “five second rule.” I can totally see the blank stare from the hygenist.

    I was a bit obsessed with my own dental hygeine throughout childhood. The defining moment/catalyst was the day in grade school that the administration brought in a dentist (or probably a technician) who had us brush our teeth with free toothbrushes and toothpaste that she provided. She sent us to the bathrooms to “brush really well–do a very good job!” Then she had us chew red tablets that would reveal all the plaque we missed. My teeth were so red, I was disgusted with myself and resolved to fight that plaque every day.

    It seems, however, that a lifetime of zealous attention to brushing has worn away some of my gum.

    A hygenist warned me that if I kept brushing so vigorously, my front teeth would look more and more “horsy.”

    But my dentist brags that my teeth are great.

    Cavity-free horse teeth.

    I just can’t win.

  • I have great teeth too. And may also have to experience braces as an adult…I sure hope not, though. 🙂

    I love reading your blog…sigh…makes me almost as happy as a chocolate oreo. Almost.

  • Had to letcha know that I am considering elective adult orthodontia. Am I crazy?

  • Considering my recent dental debacle, You have a great way with words to make me even smile while reading about teeth!

  • You just have no idea how many smiles you’ve given me since I first found your blog DeeDee. I don’t even recall how I found you in the first place, but you’re a God send anyways. :O)

    I laughed so hard when you said by the third patient you would’ve put it back in their mouth. snort* Just like a mom. Did you explain to her what the 5 second rule was?

    I despise going myself. I’m so bad that I haven’t been to the dentist since I had braces, I got them off 3 years ago. Ya, bad I know. I must have plaque from ‘you know where’ by now. 😛

  • Oh. My. Goodness!

    I completely feel your pain to the tune of 5 years of braces!

    3 oral surgeries to get one stupid stubborn tooth down (1 to go up and attach the bracket to the tooth, 1 to retatch after the wire broke!!!! and 1 to laser remove the scar tissue that was preventing the tooth from moving after it broke through the gum)

    I got my braces on at 16 and off a week after I turned 21. Not quite the same as full blown adult orthodontia…but seriously who should be made to celebrate their 21st birthday with braces. The indignity!

    Congrats on your healthy orthodontia free mouth!

    ps…I’m a frequent lurker. You are hilarious! Thanks for the humor infused wisdom!

  • You’ve been BLOOGED! Go get your graphic.

  • I cannot beleive you have such great teeth. Good for you. I, sadly, am one with terrible teeth but thanks to a dental makeover I have a perfect smile. I am sure that when I see Jesus and I get my glorified body, my teeth will not have to be transformed because they are perfect! Thanks to a great dentist. So brush. And floss. Often.

  • I have never had a cavity either and don’t take all that good care of my teeth. My hubby brushes, flosses, rinses the whole works and has one every time he goes to the dentist. I have been praying the kiddos get my teeth.