Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Cavity Creeps.

I got my first two cavities (ever) filled today. It's been almost ten years since I've been to the dentist; the last time I went it was paid for by my mom's insurance card. I used to walk into the dentist and walk out when the appointment was through, no papers or credit card numbers exchanged. If I walked out of a dental office today without signing a bunch of stuff and giving them my hard-earned cash, they would just send me a fucking bill in the mail.

Since moving out at the age of seventeen, I have learned to mostly flourish "out of the nest". That is, beyond having a strict aversion to doctors, dentists, acupuncturists, therapists, optometrists, holy men, and basically any appointment pertaining to my well-being. I think this all comes down to my "don't tell me what to do" attitude. My body, my rules. See the eye doctor every two years? How about every four. "Yearly" physical? I'll tell you when I'm coming to see you, and you only get to touch me below the waist every five visits. No free rides over here, doc.

That being said, I bit the bullet this last week and saw my MD, my optometrist, and the dentist. The first two were pretty painless. The doctor hovered on the boob area a bit too long, and I spilled a whole coffee on myself minutes before seeing the eye doctor. You know, same old.
The dentist, however, was a complete nightmare. First, they make you take off your shoes at the front and wear mini-hairnets over your feet. Not joking. For this particular visit, I did not see this sign, and left my (coffee-covered) shoes on the whole time, leaving sticky footprints all over the office. Nobody called me out on it. After ninety minutes of cleaning, they came and shot at me with a bunch of radiation, told me I have two holes in my teeth, and gave me a toothbrush with the name of their office on it. I was in shock, and booked another appointment in a week.

Today I went to that appointment. This time, I saw the sign at the door, and put the covers on over my little blue Vans... I didn't remove my sneakers because I wanted to ensure that I was able to make a quick escape if shit got too intense. I did not think I would ever have to get a cavity filled, let alone two. As I was sitting in the waiting room, one of the dental assistants asked if I was okay (I said yes), then asked if I was sure I was okay (this time I said no). I was fucking terrified. I was going to pass out. They talked to me about sedation dentistry. I declined. They asked if I was "sure I wanted to go through with this today". I told them to "hurry up and finish".

As I walked home with a frozen mouth, casually wiping my lip every ten seconds in case I might drool, I realized that first and foremost, I should blame myself for years of neglecting my oral health. Secondly, though, I blame the dentist. For sure.
Don't tell me what to do.

~sarah p.

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