I Basically Told The Dentist To Bite Me

When my daughter bellyflops on the couch, sobbing because she doesn’t want to take a bath, I launch directly into my speech about the privileges of living in the First World.  “We have running water and shampoo that comes to our doorstep from drugstore.com and penicillin and emery boards, so we are obligated to take care of our bodies.” Because I’m original and witty, I call it my “First World burdens and privileges” speech.

Everyone in my house loves it.

But I was only able to recite it 378 times before I started to feel uncomfortable. Hypocritical. Like a senator or a preacher.

Because even though I’ve been decent at self-care since becoming a mom, there’s a blot on my record.

The dentist.

Little Miss First World hasn’t seen the dentist since we had a white dude in the White House.  It’s so wrong. I know. Stop looking at me like that, it’s not like you had to kiss me.

I’ve got no excuses other than terror.  Specifically, the terror of (1) spending all that money on something so boring, (2) the abject pain of all that scraping, and (2) practically drowning from those little spurts of water bouncing off my teeth and into my nose. Maybe laziness was part of it too, but terror is more likely to elicit your pity rather than your disgust.

I know I probably deserve both.

So I went. And it sucked. No less than five people in the office dropped by to exclaim (and shame) “OHMYGOD, You haven’t been here in so long. Do you still have teeth, you dirty, placque-y woman? What have  you been doing all these years?”

At first, I laughed, knowing I deserved a good shaming. Extra lucky for me, Jeff and I see the same dentist so I got to hear all about “how often” they see him and how “great” his attendance is teeth are.  It’s totally exhilarating to have an office full of oral hygiene freaks raving about your husband’s commitment to his choppers while gasping at you like you jumped bail after being charged with felony pedophilia.

So awesome.

By the time the smug ass dentist swung by to glance at my teeth (which cost a few hundys per second), and he launched into his “wooooow, been a long time– hope you were doing something fun” bit, I snapped. I ripped off the stupid yellow paper bib and spit my mouthful of blood into the sink and told him the truth.

“Yes.  I’ve been wicked busy.  I had two babies cut out of my abdomen– for cheaper than this visit– and then kept them alive with milk from my body, while searching for my identity in and out of my professional field.  And in my spare time I wrote a book and started a blog and took my kids to the dentist and held my husband’s hand after he had oral surgery (also cheaper than this visit and accompanying inquisition) and kept up with exercise and therapy and learning to cook.  I also worked on improving myself as a friend and wife and citizen. Something had to give. It was you.”

Than I lay back down and opened wide.

“Looks good. See you in six months.”

“I look forward to it,” I said, giving him my shiny new smile.

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55 thoughts on “I Basically Told The Dentist To Bite Me

  1. Loved this and would have loved to have been a fly in the wall
    When you let the dentist have it 🙂

    My M.O is that I make an appointment but then cancel it. I am very overdue and dread even the shaming that I will get when I call to make the appointment.

    Discovered a hole in my night guard last night…so my days are numbered before I have to make the call 🙂

  2. No cavities? I can’t say I enjoy the dentist either, but I have poor heredity so I have to go – my mom got 28 cavities (for real) when she was pregnant with me and she’s a crazy-dedicated brusher and flosser. At least you got a good blog post out of it!

    • Oh, I have to cavities that I had last time but they didin’t fill them because I was pregnant. I was hoping that they’d go away because I am a good person and I am nice to animals, but they didn’t so I will go back in two weeks. BOO!

  3. Okay, confession time. I haven’t been to the dentist since I was 18. I wish I could say I was only 20 now, but you know the reality. In my defense I claim PTSD from getting 12 teeth pulled (8 babies and 4 permanent) when I was 10 because my mouth wasn’t big enough for all of them (I know, I couldn’t believe it either). Getting all 4 wisdom teeth cut out at age 18 was the end of it for me. I never had a cavity as a kid, and I guess if I got one that started to hurt I would go back. Until then I make sure my kids go every 6 months.

    • Same here. bad experience getting teeth pulled when I was sixteen or so…I was all gassed up and Lionel Richie was playing “Dancing On the Ceiling…” to this day, I can barely stomach Penny Lover….too painful.

  4. I didn’t see that coming, but I loved every word of it!! So awesome! My life changed when I found a dentist that didn’t shame. I swear. It makes such a difference. Instead he tells me that genetics play a big role and that unfortunately because of my parents I really need to floss every single day. It worked! I go — even when I don’t have dental coverage. That says a lot!!!!!

    • That’s the other thing. I have no coverage so it has been something to put off. I am on flossing train so hopefully I can stay there. Maybe I need a new dentist????

  5. Hah! Why is it that everything that’s good for me I’m only happy about after I do it. I hate going to the dentist mostly because I feel like I have to keep up my end of the constant jabbering from the hygeniest even though my mouth is stuffed full of sharp metal instruments. I think you handled your dentist brilliantly. And maybe he’ll get a great post out of it too!

  6. I used to hate that shaming. Then, a couple years ago, I switched dentists to one that does no shaming, and who is awesome to people who are scared of him. Changed my entire life.

  7. I guess I’m lucky. I have a wonderful dentist. I always enjoy visiting him. However, there are some other places I loathe as much and would really enjoy giving that speech to…

  8. I actually don’t mind the dentist. But my husband hardly ever goes. He had fillings without Novocain when he was a kid. Now, you can go back in 6th months with no shame, yay!

  9. I wonder if your bark was much worse than your bite?? 🙂
    Glad you gave it to them. I actually don’t mind going to the dentist but my previous one was better than a night at a comedy club.

  10. I hate going to the dentist almost as much as I detest the obligatory family visits during the holidays. My last visit involved much grinding and a crown..not the glittery kind. On the up side, I downed 2 Xanax and they hooked me up with laughing gas. After that, it was all good!

  11. I was dragged out of my 3-year dental sabbatical recently when a second tooth broke (didn’t go when the first tooth broke because it didn’t show) that’s when my vanity kicked in. Two sparkly white crowns later i returned to the first world. Also a PSA…more expensive than the dentist is the pediatric dentist…that billing rate makes you wish you’d just hired a lawyer. 😉

  12. Looks good- see you in six months- Haha! I thought, not likely.
    I think that seeing the dentist every six months is way too frequent unless you have some kind of oral issue. So I support you in your resistance to dentistry!
    A great laugh out loud post.

  13. I have to say that the dentist is by far the least intrusive and upsetting of all my medical providers ( at least in terms of how anxious I get having to go see them). I’m lucky that way.

  14. I had a period in the 90s which was dentist-less, though it was probably more poverty induced than anything. Luckily my dentist was relatively new to the game and didn’t have the confidence to shame me too badly about my lack responsible oral hygiene. Unluckly, he was hot. I ran into him later on a date with his hot fiance, feeling somehow doubly shamed. I’ve been a good dentist-goer ever since.

  15. Aw Lord. Seriously? Can you guess where I’m goin’ in a few hours? The DENTIST? Because I have a freakin’ broken tooth. I’m dreading it. DREADING. *shudders* I would love to avoid this trip and if my tongue would stop wandering over tho the jagged place, I would totally not go. But that’s probably just delaying the inevitable. *weep* Pray for me.

    • Girl, I am holding you. I don’t think there’s much scraping with a broken tooth. More just bonding and funny smells, right? BUt what do I know. I’m not a regular.

  16. Ha! Nice. I’m sure many people would love to tell off their dentist. And as to that white guy in the white house . . . yeah, guilty as well here. I’m dreading going back for all the reasons you listed, and I don’t even have the excuse of writing a book! But . . . I might have a cavity. So, go I must! It definitely will not be painless . . .

  17. hate the dentist. she said something about periodontal work and I promptly skipped town. Literally. I now live on another continent and oh good golly lookee there, no time during our visit to the states, can’t make an appointment, whoops sorry can’t…. Dentists make me sweat blood & bullets. The NOISE. The SHARPNESS. the general ickiness of the entire thing. phtooey.

  18. Dentist dad so dental goody two-shoes.

    But I’m glad you shut them up about the shaming. That’s b.s.

    Clean, examine, offer plan for ever better next time. But stuff the shaming.

    (Now please call my gyn and tell her that’s what I want after three years with no exam.)

  19. You. are. my. hero. I get the same shit from my dentist and it costs enough to fund UNICEF for a year. Your oral speech was brilliant and had I been there, I would have applauded. A picture a chorus of those chattering teeth “clapping” their approval. Well done my friend!

  20. Ha! I always come at my dentist with the “I’ve spent the last decade with no insurance” argument. Works like a charm.

  21. I ONLY go to the dentist regularly because I’m afraid of the consequences if I don’t. But I already feel sick about my appointment coming up in six weeks. The dentist is the worst.

  22. I’ve been doing the every 6 month thing since like… last year. Before that I went in 2007. So that’s… 5 years. I went to a new dentist. I lied and said I couldn’t remember how long it had been, but that I thought it was a couple years. There is so damn much in life that can make us feel inadequate. Must dental care really be added to the list???

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