Friday, August 19, 2011

The Dentist's Spa

You're at the dentist, he's drilling in your tooth. Your face is being sprayed by water and bits of broken tooth and filling as the assistant rinses out your mouth, and your chanting mentally to yourself, "I've been through labor; this is not real pain" over and over again, because they didn't get you fully numbed.

You listen to the hum of the drill start and stop, start and stop, and then you sit up periodically, so they can clamp a big ugly mold full of mushy putty in you mouth. You sit there silently with teeth glued together for several moments, the handle of the mold sticking out of your mouth as if you were some bizarre sculpture with a politically-charged message, and you watch the airplanes flying by in the distance from east to west one right after the other, because your dentist's office faces a prominent flight path. It's your only entertainment, because you refuse to get up and read that magazine with an article about Charlie Sheen's deranged, soul-depleting life.

Still, its quiet in the office. You're alone here without your four little munchkins, and people are taking care of you. The dentist is filing down your tooth for its crown, and he hasn't reproached you once for the fact that you broke it on a cookie. His assistant is gently wiping your mouth with wet paper towels, as if you were a child, in order to remove the gunky putty from the mold. You don't have to do a thing except pay a few hundred dollars at the end of your appointment. It's like a spa day, you think to yourself, where they file down your teeth instead of your nails, and they slap clay in your mouth instead of on your face, and they make small talk that sends you into a kind of peaceful trusting trance.

Until they wish you good day and send you forth with a swollen mouth and odd taste in it, unable to talk clearly as you pick up your responsibilities by the door, hoist them over you shoulders and head out into the brutal heat of the day to join your scuttling fellow humans.


  1. Ouch, I squirmed through every word of this. I haven't been to the dentist for far too long and you reminded me why. Trouble is, you also reminded me that I really, really should make myself go...

  2. Oh, Sharon, I've got to tell you - the dentist loves me! My husband has perfect teeth, having been dealt the ace in genetics, but my teeth always need fiddling with. Thankfully, my dentist is a nice guy.


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