This is a cautionary tale for all you kids out there who think you’re too cool to go to the dentist. I used to be just like you, recklessly eating dried fruit and gnawing popcorn kernels. On the surface my pearly whites looked both pearly and white. But there was a problem lurking, and last Monday, it surfaced.
I was watching The Art of Rap with my friend Heather, when I felt something crack inside my mouth. I don’t normally feel anything crack inside my mouth, so I was concerned. Something was floating around. I spit into my hand. Just as I’d thought, it was a chunk o’ tooth.
I calmly walked out of the theater and into the bathroom, where I examined my mouth. I’d chipped off about a quarter of my molar. Rats! Not quite knowing what to do, I wrapped the tooth in toilet paper. Then, I lost the toilet paper. Then I found out that I’d missed the part of the movie with Salt from Salt ‘n’ Peppa. It was the worst night.
Now, I must admit that I hadn’t been to the dentist in a very long time at that point. Years, in fact. I don’t know what happened. I’d been so regular in high school and even during college. But after I got my wisdom teeth pulled, it was like I grew up. Life got in the way. I had no time for basic mouth maintenance anymore.
So, last Wednesday, I found myself in a dentist’s office for the first time since the Bush administration. I wasn’t interested in messing around, so after he did an X-ray and exam and told me I had a deep cavity and needed a temporary filling, I told him to go for it. I laid back in the chair and watched him pull out various weapons. He gave me a shot of Novacaine on the inside of my cheek, which hurt and made me kick my feet like a baby. Then, he put a tube in my mouth that kept sucking and grabbing onto the inside of my cheek. It was foul and made my mouth dry. He poked and prodded around, while I tried not to cry. I didn’t do a very good job. I moaned like an orca whale, while continuing to kick my feet. Like a baby. The tools he used were the type I’d imagined were used in wood shop (I chose the family and consumer sciences elective that year, obviously). They made buzzing noises and spun in circles. It felt like there was a miniature construction worker drilling a hole into my tooth.
“Give me the epidural!” I wanted to shout. But I couldn’t, what with the sucky tube, and the jack hammer, and all. But the dentist could tell I wasn’t quite comfortable, and he gave me another shot of the good stuff.
Pretty soon, the right side of my face was totally numb, and I could barely feel what was going on. It was great. By the end of the whole ordeal, I had what looked like a brand new tooth and no money. I also got to go about the rest of my day with a half numb face, which made eating and expressing emotion completely impossible.
I have to go back for a check up next Wednesday, and eventually I’ll have to get a crown. I’m fine with that, because crown is a baller term, and I appreciate the level of royalty it suggests.
So children, heed my warning. If you keep up your twice yearly dental checkups, you will likely avoid such a traumatic experience. You won’t have to endure silver knifies in your mouth, and you’ll get to see The Art of Rap in its entirety, without missing Salt.