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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Do you fear the dentist?

In the classroom today one of my students blurted out,
“How old are you Mrs. W.?”

Another rude (honest) little girl intervened, 
“I reckon she's about fifty-three!”

Some of the boys snickered but a few of my devotees gasped in horror.

“Don’t be ridiculous,” one of them retorted, “she’d be in a wheel chair if she was fifty-three!”

“I’m as old as my nose and a little bit older than my teeth.” I replied with a witless quip that immediately placed me at about one hundred and fifty-three.

I was in the car with sixteen year old Lulu and her friend recently and they were telling me about a fight that had broken out at a party they’d been at.

“Did it get to fisticuffs?” I enquired innocently.

This comment released peals of unbridled mirth.

“Fisticuffs!” they derided. “Where are we? The eighteenth century?”

I suppose the use of archaic language is a sign of getting a bit long in the tooth.

There… I did it again.

Speaking of teeth I seem to have developed a morbid fear of dentists over last fifteen years or so. Like most women I detest having my annual Pap smear test but give me a choice between that and the dentist and I’d be on the doctor’s bed faster that you could say odontophobia. 

“Your teeth are fine, it’s your gums that have to go!” said my wisecracking dentist after my fifth child Lulu had been born. 

My gums had become so spongy that one of my front teeth had dropped from its socket and was protruding forward in a Chad Morganesque manner. Seriously, I looked like I could eat an apple through a tennis racket. 

The solution was to grind the tooth to a stump and cover it with a porcelain veneer. After sixteen hours in the chair I emerged with a white and polished incisor. 

One week later it fell off when I was flossing in the shower. Luckily I managed to grasp the costly article before it went down the drain and it was glued back on. 

Fast forward fifteen years and I was sitting eating a crispy base pizza on a Saturday night when I heard an extra crunch in my mouth. The stump had turned an unappealing yellow over the years and I couldn’t leave the house until my appointment on Monday. I looked a bit scary.

For dramatic effect I walked in on Hagar watching telly and smiled wickedly at him. 

Silently staring at me with a horror-struck expression he gestured at the television and grunted. He was watching “Swamp People” and I think he was trying to tell me something.
Monday arrived and the dentist re-glued my veneer for a paltry two hundred bucks. Exactly one week later eating the same brand of pizza it happened again, but this time I’d managed to chomp the porcelain into about eight pieces.

My boss, who was growing suspicious of my consecutive Monday sickies recommended a new dentist. This one didn’t believe in veneers. 

“They have a habit of falling off.” He remarked superfluously.

Two hours later, after having my jaw propped open by the large-fisted dentist and a vacuum-armed nurse, I surfaced with a newly sculpted tooth made from composite filling.

Happy ending? Not quite. Two days later the back of the filling fell off. 

I'm leaving it like that.
Hey! Just like the back of a safe, who needs a back to a tooth?