A Visit to the Dentist…

T I M E   T R A V E L   T U E S D A Y

For the past few weeks I’ve been getting email reminders that it’s time for my 6 month dental exam and cleaning. One thing that I have grown to hate as I’ve gotten older is bodily maintenance. I really miss those days when I could go forever  longer periods of time without visiting the doctor or dentist. My physical health and well being was not even a blip on my youthful radar. (Honestly, back then I didn’t even know what radar was.) As far as I was concerned, if it wasn’t broke, I didn’t need to fix it. Now, everything is in disrepair and my radar looks like a jagged line on a heart beat monitor — lots and lots of blips.


There are a few things that I miss about the OLD DENTISTRY that I grew up with. Believe it or not, I miss the swishing and spitting into the little bowl on the side of the chair. It was very basic and easy to coordinate. Nowadays, they water your mouth and suction it simultaneously. It makes me feel like I’m drowning. When they finally decide to remove the pools of water that have accumulated in the pockets of my mouth, the suction proves too much for me. My lips and everything that’s not anchored down gets vacuumed into the device. This is followed by some giggles and raised eye brows behind the white mask. (Oh good, I was hoping I could provide some comic relief for the dental hygienist!)  “I’m sorry that my mouth is not coordinated or smart enough to avoid the vacuum of death. If you give me back the paper cup of olde, I’ll swish and spit for you like a champion.” — Of course, I say this on the inside. 

I also miss the prizes at the end of the appointment. My current Dentist still offers them but I have to pretend I’m not interested, even though I really do want a superball : (

Gas or novocain? How ’bout both? I like to know that there’s not a chance in hell that I will experience any “discomfort.” The idea that someone could go without either of these boggles my mind. (Granted, my mind is not hard to boggle, but still…)

The one thing I do enjoy, with regard to today’s state of the art dentistry, is the picture that they take of you while you’re reclining in the chair. I guess they send those photos to the insurance company for identification purposes, but I would actually like to have them in a bound book of sorts. I quite enjoy them. The angle is extremely flattering. Any loose skin, double chin, etc. falls to the wayside, revealing my face as God intended it. If only we could simulate that experience and have our family Christmas pictures taken from a camera mounted on the ceiling… just an idea.

Some things that will never change:

  • The heavy handed Dentist
  • The asking of deep and complex questions when your mouth is full of foreign objects
  • Fish tanks and Highlights magazine
  • That Dentist office smell
  • Anxiety and “discomfort”
  • Promising that you’ll floss daily

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