This morning I’m going to the dentist. Fortunately, it’s not for a long visit. I don’t like long visits to the dentist. Those mean that you’re probably in for a scraping, if not a shot or two. I already did that a couple of weeks ago. I needed a groove that had developed along my gumline filled in so it wouldn’t bother my root so much. But it left me with a rough spot that needs polishing. I’m tired of constantly tonguing it, checking to see if it’s still rough. It is. I need it buffed off.
My teeth are in good shape and my dentist always tells me how gorgeous they are. I floss daily, so that goes a long way. And I had braces, which required eight permanent teeth to be pulled (“wisdom” included), so with all that investment, I’m hoping they last a really long time. My stress dreams sometimes include events that result in me losing my teeth. Those are some of the worst. As bad of being naked while playing the tuba (previous blog post).
When I ventured out on my own after college, I didn’t go to the dentist for several years. I thought it was something I could pretend didn’t exist, since I hated going so much. But then I met Jason, who takes immaculate care of his teeth. He’d gotten that habit from his dad, who used to boast that all of the teeth in his head were his own and he was planning to take all of them to the grave with him. Jason had a dentist in Chicago and he talked me into going to see him. And the cool thing about him, Jack Marks, he had a sailboat and he liked to take his favorite clients out on the Lake with him. He’d leave his thick curly toupee and Patient-Client Privilege at home and meet us at the docks near sunset. Suddenly, I found a way to face going to have my teeth cleaned.
When we moved to Colorado, once again I had to find a dentist. A lady in our “Quad Squad” recommended one, and Jason and I both went. I wasn’t as excited about going. He didn’t offer to take us sailing, or even for a car ride. In fact, his office would call Jason and check up on him, ask him if he wanted to schedule another appointment, but they’d never call me. I asked, “What am I? Chopped liver?” Well, I asked Jason that. Not the dentist. So I changed dentists. There was a lady who was in the same building as my kids’ pediatric dentist, so I got a reference for her that was good and made an appointment. I loved her! And still do. That’s who is going to make my tooth shine today.
The first time I saw her, I told her how sensitive my teeth were, how every temperature other than mouth temp hurt my teeth. That after a scraping my mouth ached for days. That I couldn’t stand to have cold water or air blown on my teeth. She was so attentive, so compassionate, nodding, listening to my long list of problems. Then I told her she could do anything she wanted, as long as she didn’t touch my teeth.
Her eyes were wide. She didn’t move.
I said, “I’m kidding.” And smiled.
She laughed too. A little.
After that, we got a long swimmingly. She always asks about my kids, my books, my life. She remembers everything I told her last time and is genuine and wonderful. She makes me feel loved. Oh, yeah, and she keeps my teeth healthy. There’s that too. I’ll recommend her to anyone who needs a dentist. (Well, everyone needs a dentist. Just some of us need a new dentist. Like if your own isn’t calling you but is calling your spouse, asking how he is and not how you are.) The only thing, just be aware: she doesn’t take her clients out on her sail boat. At least, not yet that I’ve heard about. But I have my deck shoes ready for when she calls.
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