. . . or at least an ice cream cone.
I'm going to the dentist today. That alone is a big deal. The bigger deal? I'm getting a 3/4 crown on one of my molars. I'm a little scared, but I'm going. (Yes, Mom and Dad, I'm going and I'll call you when I'm done. Really. No, you don't have to come with me. Yes, yes, I'll be fine. Yes, of course I'm really going. I'm not going to cancel out at the last minute. I promise. Really.)
I've had a little problem with the dentist - just the idea of the dentist. There were years that I allowed to quietly pass without going to the dentist. Years. I'll admit now that I was being a big baby, but I felt I had good reason.
The Samurai Orthodonist.
It's all his fault. He was mean. He hurt me. He yelled at kids. He made his own dental assistants and hygienists cry. He even made some of them become meanies themselves.
Once I was done with my braces (I think I had them on for eleventy seven years), I raised my middle finger of defiance toward all teeth practitioners. I hated them all and tried to act tough, but I was hiding because I was afraid of them. All of them.
It took me a while to start going to the dentist again. When I became an adult and I was in charge of my own oral health, I figured I'd just brush and floss like a mad woman and I'd be fine. Even when an old filling fell out and left a little hole in one of my molars, I ignored it. It didn't hurt. If it doesn't hurt, let it be. A fine way to live, right? Besides, it was fun to poke my tongue at. Gave me something to do when I was bored.
I don't know what finally pushed me to make an appointment at a new dentist's office. I grew up? Nah. I overcame my fears? Nah. I was jealous of all the friends I had who had beautiful teeth? Probably.
I went for my appointment (now this was years back . . . really) and I loved loved loved my new dentist. She was wonderful. She understood my fear and she understood my very strong hatred of the suckie thing. I loathe suction of any kind. The feel of it. The sound. My skin crawls. She limited her use of the suckie thing as she replaced old fillings for me. She shot me up with enough novocaine to sink a ship. She gave me a STOP signal that I could give her if I got nervous or if something hurt. (No, it wasn't the middle finger.) She fixed me. Loved her.
She moved away.
I retreated again to my dental care-free lifestyle. I let a few years go by again. (I'm not proud of this. I brushed real good, though!)
I started going to another new dental office and they've won me over. The hygienist is a doll. She turned me on the the Sonicare toothbrush and she now tells me that my gums are gorgeous and that I couldn't possibly be brushing any better.
But, of course, a piece of an old filling just started to crumble - a piece of a much larger filling. I need a 3/4 crown. Never had me one of them before.
It'll all be done in one sitting. This office is a state-of-the-art, high tech, computerized, digitized, laserized, bells and whistles kind of place. They'll pull my tooth apart, have the computer figure out what needs to be made to put it back together, a machine will make the -art like a piece of a jigsaw puzzle, and the dentist will stick in on what's left of my tooth. I'll have novocaine. I'll have gas. (Oops, the good kind!) I'll have noise-cancelling headphones.
Still, this is a big deal. For going through this, I feel that I deserve some kind of acknowledgement - no - some kind of award for enduring this stressful tooth reconstruction. A trophy. A medal.
An ice cream cone.