It started last week, on my way back from the airport. I opened my mouth in the rear view window and I noticed something that just didn’t look right on my back, left, upper molar. It looked dark, unhealthy, and not something you would want in your mouth. It started feeling different. Pulsating.
It’s weighed on my mind ever since.
I’ll admit, I haven’t been a regular dental office visitor in years. I brush, but don’t floss. (Why bother when you can Listerine?) I drink bottled water (when I drink water), so I’m not getting my fluoride like I should. I probably haven’t darkened the door of an office since I had my wisdom teeth out; I know I haven’t been since I’ve lived in Nashville. As Warren Zevon said about his cancer, “I may have made a tactical error in not consulting a physician for 20 years. That was one phobia that didn’t pay off.” I feared the worst.
This morning, not being able to stand it anymore, I asked around if anyone knew a good dentist. A quick google search revealed a phone number, I called about 9 and had an appointment for 10:20. I got there, filled out their forms. I don’t have dental insurance, which is fine because this particular dentist has a drive-up ATM in his parking lot.
They saw me almost immediately. I laid down in the chair, the hygenist person quickly grabbed her tools and went to work. I looked in her eyes trying to get a sense of the horrors that she was seeing. She was good, I got no tells. She’s played this game before.
Turns out it was a just a filling, one that I forgot I had. She said my teeth were fine. In fact, she said they were in great shape. I was embarassed. The pain was evidently all in my head. (Yes, I know even if was a toothache, the pain would be in my head, but still.)
I made an appointment for a cleaning, but I still couldn’t help but feel like Quiz Kid Donnie Smith from the movie Magnolia, heart full of love and mouth full of unnecessary dental treatments.
One thing that I did notice on the form was the field for “Emergency Contact.” It listed a place to put the contact name, telephone number, cell number, standard stuff…and email address. For the record, if you need me, you might try call my cell phone first.