Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Do All Dentists Smoke Crack?

Once upon a time there was a woman who was very smug about her teeth. They weren't the straightest or best looking teeth in the world, but for many years they were cavity free and healthy. This woman's mouth was even big enough to house her wisdom teeth without overcrowding or becoming impacted or coming down with any other horrible wisdom teeth calamities. The woman was vigilant about brushing and even kept a toothbrush and toothpaste at work so she could brush after lunch in the restroom - even though she got odd looks from her coworkers for doing so.

This woman cringed when she heard people talk about cavities and crowns and fillings and bridges and extracting procedures, etc. The thoughts of Novocaine numbness, drooling after a dental procedure, and the sound and smell of dental work were much like thoughts of enjoying a night out on the town with Jon Bon Jovi. They existed only in her imagination - she had no experience to draw upon.

When the woman turned 30, she went to a dentist who told her that her teeth were in fabulous shape and cavity free, but to please remember to floss.

Two years later, the woman went to a different dentist. This one told her she had five cavities and would need some 'work' done. She scoffed at him and said, "But you don't understand. I have genetically superior teeth. I haven't had a cavity in 32 years."

The young dentist explained that her teeth could have been affected by her recent pregnancy, and that at some point in everyone's adult life, decay starts to hasten in the teeth. He said her teeth were still in pretty decent shape and that getting these offending cavities filled would help prevent further decay. Since the woman thought the courteous young dentist was smoking crack, she did what any intelligent person would do. She ignored him and didn't go back to have her teeth checked out for three years.

At the next appointment, she saw another dentist. This one got down to business. He used the scrapy sharp thing to poke in the spaces that might be cavities. He stabbed at the woman's gums and then told his nice assistant to notate the ones that had the audacity to bleed. Then he got all high tech and used a laser instrument that hummed a different frequency based on the level of decay in the woman's teeth. As he spoke with his assistant, he spoke a different language that sounded like English but was really Dentist. He was all 'distal, medial' and 'occlusal' and 'prophylaxis' (this reminded the woman of a similar word, prophylactic, which means 'condom.') It was all very difficult to decipher, but based on the amount of ink used by the perky assistant to record all of his remarks, the woman started to think that there might not be a great result to this examination.

Finally, the dentist took off his mask and gently patted the woman's hand. He then told the woman that she had many cavities. In fact, there were so many that she has to break up the procedures into three separate appointments to get the work done and it will cost the equivalent of twenty-two average priced shirts from the Gap. If it weren't for the x-rays and the explanations and the 65 minute exam that was more thorough than any dental exam the woman had ever undergone, she would have thought this dentist was smoking crack, just like the last one.

Hey, wait a minute... maybe all dentists smoke crack. That would explain things.


Kirsten said...

Awww...nuts, I wonder if there's something to that pregnancy thing. Pre-kid I rarely warmed the dentist's chair, but now it seems like I'm in there once/year to have drilling and filling done. And several old fillings from childhood had to be removed and replaced as they were cracking.

Heck, in a week I go in to have a more recent filling replaced that cracked (most likely from something hot or cold...ahem, like coffee or ice cream...oops).

Debbielou said...

OMG - I've got the dentisit this afternoon !!!!!!!!!!

Barb said...

This story is scarier to me than any slasher film. I've always been the one with no cavities and I'm really past due to go to the dentist. Now ~ I think I'm a bit frightened!

Swishy said...

Ughhhh that sucks! I have heard that pregnancy can do that to your teeth ... as if it doesn't do ENOUGH to you!!!

webmom said...

It is not the pregnancy but the loss of time you have to take really good care of yourself in the brushing and flossing area. It does help to rinse daily with a good mouth rinse also. You have my sympathy, though. Take your ipod with to listen to while you are having the work done.

Mama P said...

Oh no! Not much to smile about, is it? I'm sorry. And speaking of teeth, I think Jon Bon Jovi has the worse set of brightened fake veneers I've ever seen. Am I wrong? Tell me the truth... have you seen them?

Andrea said...

Oh, hon! I'm so sorry! A couple of friends of mine experienced this. One of them experienced deterioration so bad that 4 years after her first child was born, she ended up with a full set of dentures.

Andrea said...

Ugh. I just went back and read my comment. Sorry to sound like the voice of doom! That's not quite how I meant it.

Mom In Scrubs said...

Mine started to go downhill after braces, but evened out until - you guessed it, kids!! It's rare now that I go without being asked to come back for some work. I'm wondering what happens when I run out of tooth - no, I guess I really don't want to know.

Word to the wise? Don't plan to re-up your drivers' license photo after dental work. You look like a stroke victim - I speak from experience.