Until today, I had not been to the dentist in more than five years. For reals.
Bad, I know.
My last brush with dentistry was not a pleasant one. When I was living in LA (yes, it had been that long) I went to this dental clinic that was in the dank basement of an office building. They insisted that I had a dozen cavities that needed filling. (This was less than a year after I’d had my wisdom teeth removed, at which time I had zero cavities – and had never, ever had a cavity, in my life.)
But I was 24 and had better things to do than argue with a dentist – like, eating and drinking my way through Southern California and working a rather demanding job. So I had all these damn fillings put in – and paid a pretty penny for them, even after my insurance coverage. Six months later, I called the clinic for a follow-up cleaning and found the number disconnected.
Dentistry, I seethed. What a racket. Never again.
And I hadn’t. Until today.
Why now? Well, I’m 30 now and I guess it’s time to start being more responsible about these things. Also, while I haven’t had any toothular (is that a word?) pain, I do have a couple of teeth where food always gets stuck lately, leading me to believe that something suboptimal might have been happening in there.
Going in, I was nervous. Okay, terrified. I don’t like doctors generally and I especially don’t like it when doctors are all up in my biz-nass (see also, gynecologist). I don’t like sharp things in close proximity to my throat; I don’t like scraping; I don’t like drooling. I don’t like that paralyzing feeling of not being able to move: OMG, the sharp pokey thing is in there…what if I accidentally move my tongue? What if I have to swallow? What if I’m overtaken by a sneeze? Surely I will end up with that plaque scraper impaled in my cheek-flesh.
Fortunately, though, this was no shady basement practice. My hygienist was incredibly nice and immediately struck up a conversation about running with me (I was clad in Tempo shorts and a race tee – my uniform these days). Turns out, she was training for a half. I told her I was training for my tenth full. We bonded.
And with that, I kicked my fear to the curb. You can run a marathon, I told myself. You can survive a damn dental cleaning.
So, I did. It wasn’t fun, but it was bearable. There was a flat-screen TV mounted above the chair (genius idea!) and I watched Access Hollywood while five years of plaque was scraped off of my teeth. Gum-lines were measured. X-rays were taken. My hygienist bid me goodbye; we wished one another luck in our respective races. The dentist would be in shortly.
I’d like to say that the dentist was a huge jerknuts on account of the news he delivered, but unfortunately, I can’t blame the messenger for this one. Two root canals. Two teeth damaged, decayed, dead – beyond repair. Two missing and broken fillings – I could actually see a piece of one of them hanging out between my teeth on the x-ray. The dentist said it was astonishing that I wasn’t in pain.
“Odd, though,” he remarked. “When I saw those two, I assumed you would be cavity-prone. But the rest of your teeth look perfect.” He ran his finger along the image, showing a row of filling-capped teeth that showed no evidence of decay whatsoever.
Effing basement dentist. Charlatan! I should have known!
Oh well, live and learn, right?
Oddly, I trust this guy to fix the broken mess as needed on the two teeth where the fillings fell apart. Part of me feels like I should get a second opinion, just because I am pretty sure I got scammed before. But this very nice dentist patiently went over the x-rays with me in detail and explained what needed to be done. That definitely never happened last time around.
And, well…it makes sense. I don’t feel any indignation over this. No: root canals? But WHY ME? Me, because I waited so long to deal with it. In a way, I feel lucky that I’m only getting a couple of root canals. Better than dentures!
I go in on Tuesday for RC #1. Wish me luck.
And if I ever talk nonsense about taking a five-year hiatus from the dentist again? Please kick me swiftly in the ass.
Today’s EAT: Cooking in the summer? No. Big-ass salad? Yes.
This salad was caprese-inspired: mixed greens, Italian chicken sausage, fresh mozz, Campari tomatoes, fresh basil, black plums and toasted pine nuts. I kept the dressing really simple – just olive oil with a bit of balsamic and honey. Everything was so fresh and flavorful. I love summer.
Today’s DRINK: I am probably a bad wife. Today, the hubs professed a desire to eliminate “simple sugars” from his diet for a little while. I guess that means no wine.
I’m supporting him by drinking his share of this Cellar No. 8 Pinot Noir:
Less for you means more for me, babe. Sorry. I love you, but you’re on your own with your weird diet.
Today’s RUN: Recovery, easy, recovery. Slow. It’s hot.
That’s what I told myself when I set out for an hour of slow running in today’s 93*, heat-advisory, high-humidity weather.
And I felt like I was shuffling, and yet? When I charted my course on mapmyrun.com after the fact, it told me I’d run 6.7 miles. In under 58 minutes. Which is 8:40 pace, or something like that. Not blazing fast, but not the 9:15s I had expected. Cool.
Today’s QUESTION: Any other anti-dentites out there? H0w often do you rendezvous with your dentist?