As I walked through the checkerboard glass that composed the doors, my heart thudded. I knew what was in store for me. All the years of skipping the rope, all the times I shirked the gargle and spit. Knowingly negligent, I was. So yes, my fist sized chunk of meat jumped against the cage of my ribs. I hate the dentist. Not really, no dentist has ever been horrendously mean to me. I mean hey, I’m the one exhaling infected breath into their clothed faces. They are mighty graceful in handling the assault.
So the dentist began what they call a full mouth debridement in order to attack the mountain of plaque I had foolishly allowed to make a home along my gum line. Ten years plus of candy eating, partying, coffee drinking, daily build up. I hadn’t even realized that I couldn’t see my bottom teeth. They lay underneath a quilt of tartar I had always shrugged my shoulders at. I brush twice a day and the discoloration was something that had been with me for as long as I could remember. I knew it wasn’t normal. Disgraced with myself I practiced hiding my teeth.
I remember being teased at a young age for the line of corrosion that held my bottom incisors captive. I sat in front of a mirror for hours figuring out precisely what combinations of letters allowed the heathen teeth to be bared. Then I mastered new oral formations to disarm future ammunition to my confidence. Eventually the world forgot how grotesque my lower jaw looked beneath my yap. Eventually I convinced myself it wasn’t a problem.
Oh how those glass doors shattered the bad faith I had created for myself. As the sonic sprayer flushed all the tartar from my teeth I focused on the bright light that allowed the dentist a up close and personal meet and greet with my mouth. The brilliance of the light was maddening but it held back the tears. “Focus on the sound of the suction” I told myself, trying to keep my mind blank. Not a smart item to focus on. In my mind I animated the scene occurring inches from my tongue.
Little men, with fire hose and vacuum in tow, climbing in and out of a rocky cave. Excavation time. Bit by bit the men hosed down the walls of the cavern to expose a natural line in the limestone. Sucking away the streams of water and mineral build up with their vacuums as they plundered deeper into the swell. Even now, over eight hours later, I can’t stop my tongue from running along the gaps.
I’m relieved that the first step has been taken. I’m shaken that I allowed it to take so long. But I suppose facing your insecurities and demons isn’t a bad way to start a new year. Oh and hey only one cavity. There’s something to smile about…but only a small carefully sculpted smile…wouldn’t want anyone seeing the child sized squares planted like wild seeds in my jaw.