Listen, I am so scared of the dentist. I really am. I take insanely good care of my teeth, and they may not be the whitest, but they chew ok and don’t hurt ever and serve me well. The only time my teeth bother me is in my dreams, when they fall out and fill my mouth with blood at inopportune moments, like during the SAT. For some reason I am forever taking the SAT in my dreams, which is weird because I don’t even remember taking it in real life, but my dreamscape is littered with number 2 pencils and tiny bubbles left unfilled.
I know that I need to go to the dentist soon, but my feet drag behind me, and there’s a herculean effort in lifting my finger to dial those numbers on my iphone. You and what army are going to make me go get my teeth cleaned? It’s not about pain. I am heavily tattooed and I can take hundreds upon hundreds of hours of impromptu and anesthesia free sessions without complaint. It can be nervous business, getting a tattoo, but I never flinch or falter or become pale with the pinpricks. I go with the pinches and the burn because I love the results.
With teeth, since I haven’t had any problems, the rewards are not as visible or satisfying. As a child I had countless hours of oral surgery, that left my psyche and mouth full of holes, stitched up crudely with thick black thread that tasted of blood and bone. My teeth had not lined up side by side as I grew, rather they placed themselves haphazardly along my gumline like headstones in an outlaw graveyard during the 1800s. there was a civil war quality to my mouth, and all my parents money went into the correction of this. Orthodontists and dentists were my babysitters, and I spent most of the hours between 4-6pm reclined in a chair with a light shining into my eyes and a tray and towel pinned to my neck.
About half my teeth were removed, as they came in huge and white and mighty to replace the feeble baby ones that were once there. There was no reasonable way my mouth could accommodate them all, so they got yanked. Being as big and deeply buried in my jaw as they were, it was no small feat to unearth them, and my flesh was cut away to expose the roots and kill the healthy tooth at the base of where they lay.
I spit out huge bloody clots of spongy gum tissue and this sped my healing as they didn’t rot with decay. The remaining teeth stood valiant and shiny and strong as the wire braces bound them into a kind of order that they still march in today. The lines of my orthodontists plan have faltered slightly, as the genetic pattern of teeth, your original tooth destiny has strength beyond what headgear and wires are capable of controlling, but even after 30 years they seem ok, and I don’t think I need to go back for anything.