Have you seen those cartoons where a character advances their foot into a room, then there’s a brief pause before their body follows with a screeching sound like tires stopping on wet pavement? As I was lying in the dentist chair last Thursday, I realized that had been me for the past month, with my body preceding my mind by about five minutes. The reason, my dear Zesties, was a routine dental checkup and the news I needed a crown.
A First World problem, right? Because for most people, because beyond the financial issues, that’s not big news or a permanent threat.
But I’m a tooth-challenged wimp, I admit it. I earned my dental-phobia in childhood with a family dentist who was beefy, old, unkind, and I suspect wasn’t particularly competent, even for the time. (For instance, though my parents assure me it wasn’t real, I recall him entering the room wearing a blood-stained smock.)
Anyway, last Thursday when I thought I was done with oral professionals for six months, I left their office in a positively giddy mood. I had coffee with a fellow writer. My mouth felt normal, which is to say I’d stopped noticing its existence with every bite and swallow. Within a day, I was getting on top of the chores I’d let slide and my writing goals seemed achievable again.
Then I had the unmitigated gall to bite into a piece of toast on Saturday morning — whole wheat, peanut-buttered — and *crunch-grind-grit-wince*
Who knew that a chunk of porcelain would be so vulnerable?
Back I must go, peeps, and I’m not particularly happy about it. This is where you come in. I know I’m not alone in my childhood or dental fear, or of overcoming it as an adult. If you’re so inclined, please soothe me with your stories of how you endured a bazillion root canals thanks to the miracle of modern dentistry. Tell me how you conquered the dental chair. I am ready to become a believer.
And since it’s been so long since we chatted, what’s new with you lately? Are you getting ready for the holidays? Maybe a good thing about this dental stuff is that for the first time in years, I’m actually feeling Christmas-y.