Perfect teeth to mouthful of horror
Many people are hesitant to visit the dentist. For the last 25 years, it’s been a chance to have relative strangers regularly compliment me. It’s better than therapy.
“Wow, Kelly, once again your teeth are fantastic,” they say in a revered voice one would use when meeting their favorite celebrity.
“What, these little things?” I say, modestly. “Oh shut up stop you guys.”
But then they do stop and I don’t want that. I eyed them like a cat glaring back at its owner after it prematurely stopped scratching him.
“I mean if you want to call in other hygienists and patients and have them all take a look, that’s fine with me.”
“That’s not necessary,” they usually say because they obviously don’t want to put me out.
It turns out while you CAN make weekly appointments for this, it doesn’t mean your insurance will pay for them. Those people have shockingly no interest in your exceptional oral hygiene.
It made sense, then, that as I hopped into the dentist’s chair for my latest appointment, I was already expecting the acclaim. I was already feeling like what I imagine Nobel Prize recipients feel like when their colleagues all praise them at a banquet in their honor when the dentist said something I wasn’t expecting.
“Looks like on your latest X-ray there’s a bit of a cavity in one of your teeth there.”
“That can’t be right,” I said, confused. “I don’t GET cavities. It’s, like, our thing.”
It was almost like he wasn’t remembering he was talking to his special boy.
Dr. Wrong (new name I gave him) showed me the recently-produced X-ray, pointing to some microscopic shadow which was indistinguishable from any other part of the scan. I’m not entirely convinced he was showing me MY tooth, or any tooth for that matter. With it zoomed in, the X-ray could’ve been anything from a dead fox to a cross-section of a cement mixer.
“Do you see that right there?” he asked, blindly pointing at nothing.
I didn’t want to sound incompetent like I didn’t also go to dental school for eight years, which I didn’t, so I nodded along with a concerned face like I saw the nothing he was pointing at. And he KNEW I couldn’t see the non-cavity but had no way of calling him out about it and THAT’S the greatest trick the devil ever pulled.
“You don’t understand,” I continued. “I get such joy lording over my wife the fact that I have perfect teeth. There is literally nothing she can say to contradict it because you’re a MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL and she has to sit and stew while I smile my perfect smile.”
“I’m sorry, but if we don’t take care of it it’s just going to get worse,” he said.
“I don’t see how any of this can get any worse,” I replied, hating everything.
Dr. Wrong put aside the Rorschach test masquerading as my X-rays and proceeded to get out his medieval tools so he could practice for an upcoming Renaissance fair. After the numbing gel came the shot, which I couldn’t feel by then. However, after about a minute I started feeling a little off.
“Are you OK? You’re not looking so good,” his nice assistant lady asked.
“I’m fine,” I replied. “I always sweat when I’m laying down. It’s what happens to professional athletes with perfect teeth.” She didn’t seem convinced.
“Are you sure?” she asked with increasing concern.
“Absolutely. Fine. I’m perfectly fine.”
When I regained consciousness 30 seconds or four years later my first thought was that I was being abducted and even then my shriek was still probably far manlier than anyone would’ve expected coming from a 13 year-old girl.
Then reality set in, but so did a shaking feeling in my arms. I felt pale and, worst of all, I still had an alleged cavity they hadn’t even begun working on yet.
“Kelly, are you OK?” Doctor Suck (new name) asked. “Do you want me to call an ambulance?”
“I’m fine,” I insisted. “It’s a side effect of being annoyed by ex-best friends.”
Because nobody cared to listen to me about my perfect teeth and minor maybe seizure, they called an ambulance anyway.
“I’m glad you’re here,” I started as the paramedics began taking my blood pressure. “Doctor, can you show these guys the X-ray and ask if THEY can see a cavity there?”
The paramedics starting talking to my dentist as if I was a toddler and they were the parents.
“I think he may have had a S-E-I-Z-U-R-E,” the dental assistant told them, whatever that meant.
“Was he having major oral surgery?”
“It was just a filling.”
“MY FIRST ONE” I was quick to point out, though it likely came out like a drunken “ARRRAGGH!!!”
“It could’ve been an adverse reaction to the epinephrine,” the Dr. Terrible suggested.
“What are some of the common side effects?” one of the paramedics asked.
“Sweating, and he’s doing that.”
“He could just be socially awkward,” the assistant said.
They all seemed to agree with that.
“Also, hostility and irritability.”
“I think you’re all idiots!” I replied, hilariously.
Once it was agreed I was probably fine and not ill enough to file a lawsuit the paramedics abandoned me to my doom.
Dr. Wrong turned back to me, eying me cautiously.
“We can stop now and you can come back another time if you’d like,” he suggested, you know, like a maniac.
I insisted they finish the job and I’m proud to report I stayed conscious throughout the whole thing, which was a pretty big step up to that point.
Needless to say I’m never going back. I look forward to my days as a toothless hillbilly. They seem content. And are never offered epinephrine.
Kelly Van De Walle can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Kelly on Twitter @pancake_bunny