Wednesday, March 10, 2010

UPDATED: There Had Better Be Laughing Gas

So I have these little black spots - four of them, to be exact - in the cracks of my molars. My small-town dentist pokes them on each visit and declares them to be stains, so on each visit we would carry on about the business of tooth-scraping and gum-measuring (seriously, what the fuck is up with THAT? Am I being fitted for a tuxedo up in there?) and all was right with the world.

Hi. I'm Cat. I am one month from my 27th birthday and I have never had a cavity.

Since we no longer live in the small town where my dentist practices, and since we have not lived in that small town since the summer of 2008, I recently decided it was time to move my teeth and their super-human enamel to a dentist near where I work. Since finding a dentist is kind of like finding a lover in that they touch your excretions and you see up their noses, I asked around for recommendations and was eventually referred by a co-worker to her dental office down the road. We'll call it Intersection Dental.

Intersection Dental, I was told, is awesome because they have giant televisions on the ceiling and the patients watch Seinfeld or Friends or 30 Rock (the entirety of each series is on hand) or whatever else they have in their Cabinet of Don't Look At The Needle. And they have warm water for spraying on your teeth instead of the ice water I'm used to.

My first appointment was on February 24th, and it was to be a standard tooth cleaning appointment. Because really, what says, "Hello, nice to meet you," like a rubber glove down your throat. It turns out that Intersection Dental is not only high-tech, they are ULTRA high-tech. They use a digital X-ray machine which immediately projects your mouth onto the TV in front of you. GIANTLY.

See there? Waaaaaay under your gums? WHERE YOU ARE NOT FLOSSING? That's called plaque, and it's starting to deteriorate your jaw bone. Have a great day!

I am the type who flosses her teeth multiple times per day. Every day. And I never knew that I was doing it wrong. Did you know you can do it wrong? BECAUSE YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG. **first time I gave a blowjob flashback**

I never knew I was doing it wrong because my old dentist didn't know I was doing it wrong, presumably because they don't have giant digital photos with which to see the plaque under my gums because the 1" square Xray that they DO have is too small. Or they are too dumb. It could go either way.

Intersection Dental uses this tiny little camera that looks like a thermometer to take pictures of your teeth which they plaster on the giant TV for you to cringe from while they shake their heads and give you the Shame Face. And then they use another little thing that beeps when it hits a low-density area in the bone of your tooth, and mine was beeping to beat the fucking band when they held it over those "stains."

So, not only am I one step away from Siskel Face because I don't floss correctly, but it turns out that those "stains"? The ones in the cracks of my molars? THOSE ARE FUCKING DECAY SPOTS, MORON. Do you hear me small-town dentist? NOT stains.

So I have to go get 4 - HOLYCHRISTFOUR - cavities filled today, and I cannot describe to you the tooth shame that I feel right now. And the fear. For I've never feared the dentist's chair, and I assume that is because they've never hurt me in that chair before (you know, except for the ice water). But that's because I've never had a cavity before. And so I am anticipating pain. Which makes me afraid. Which is when I hit the Danger of Sharting alert level Orange.

Hold me. Or at least lend me your Valium.

UPDATE: Well, I didn't die, but only just barely because when I sat down in the chair, the dental assistant said, "We're going to try to get through this without any Novacaine," and then everything after that was a blur of panic and pain and panicky pain. But the good news is that I got an, "Attagirl," which almost makes up for the fact that I COULD HAVE DIED FROM THE PAIN. **enter completely justified and rational fear of the dentist**