Good news does not usually abound in dentist’s offices… at least not for me. I’ve been told everything from “you’ve got a cavity” to “this will require surgery.” Once my orthodontist spontaneously pulled out one of my loose teeth. No warning. Just “oops,” and then, “Well, what’s done is done, I guess. You want this?”
So I went to the dentist’s office yesterday with a certain Pavlovian nervousness. The waiting room is chilly and you can hear drills and gurgling and, if you listen closely, the muffled screaming of the damned. Even the posters featuring tooth-related jokes make me nervous. There’s this little fountain spouting water in the corner, and I just thought, Damn you, fountain! Damn you, joyful cherub spitting water! You’re hilariously deformed, but I can’t even laugh at you because you have conditioned me to feel doom in this place. Look what you’ve done to me.
I went on back when they called me, and my hygienist was talking about the origins of various holidays (?) when she stabbed me. In the gums. With her… weird tool thing. And I made an odd, shriek-like noise that wasn’t actually a shriek but probably still freaked out people in the waiting room next to the cherub.
“Oops,” she said.
One bloody mess later, the actual dentist was coming in. I was told I had great teeth, but awkward molars. I guess if anybody had to be told they had awkward teeth, that person would be me. I looked at the x-rays, and he was right. They were awkward.
Anyway, it still hurts to smile, and I see that cherub even in my dreams.