I obsessively brush my teeth. And I don’t just mean like morning-noon-and-night obsessed, I brush my teeth – no exaggeration - a good seven or eight times a day.
When I was younger, I looked forward to visiting the dentist’s office with the joy and warmth of a child on Christmas morning. I felt there was no better heaven on earth than the clean, white space of the dentist’s office, the creak of the slick chair as it lowered you down, and the clicks of the tools against my teeth. The waiting room held a tall, glass display case with various figurines of dentists, dental tools, and smiling molars. They were all my friends, all there to witness the opening of my gigantic mouth and to see my pearly whites in all their clean, cavity-free glory.
I think I sought the dentist’s commendation more so than that of my parents. To hear my dentist say, “My, you have great teeth, Olivia!” was a stamp of highest approval. I wanted – no needed to have healthy chompers. It wasn’t so much the need to be praised nor the desire to have better teeth than anyone else. I think I thought of it more along the lines of, these are my teeth. They are here to help me eat and smile and swallow and it is my responsibility – nay, my privilege! – to brush and care for them. Who needed a pet when all this responsibility and pleasure could come from one’s own set of thirty-two?
In retrospect, this may not be normal.
My husband, on the other hand, could care less. I feel like a dictator, but I do not allow any partner of mine to slumber until a good solid brushing and (if we’re lucky) a quick swish of the mouthwash has taken place. I mean, I’m not cruuuuuel, but seriously, how hard is it to brush them before you sleep? How can you even fall asleep unless you are minty fresh? I will never understand this.
Today, as planned, was our visit to the dentist to get x-rays and check-up approvals for PC.
Leading up to this appointment, I have been urging said spouse to brush more frequently, throw in a good flossing or two, and brush again for good measure. I laughed devilishly to myself, nearly anxious for the doctor to commend my high dental hygiene and set me as an example for my spouse. “You see here, Matthew, if you just brushed your teeth as much as your wife, you wouldn’t have all these gross cavities and your smile could shine brilliantly, too!” (Or something like that. I’ll admit I fantasized several scenarios, but all along this similar vein.)
We had a quick check-in, got our x-rays, and waited to meet with the lovely man, each in our own respective rooms across from one another.
And then it happened.
That son of a bitch had not a single cavity. He was the picture of high dental health. My partner has the teeth of an angel, that bastard.
I, on the other hand, may or may not have two fillings set up for next week.
I like to justify my decay. My dentist mentioned I have “very deep pits” in my molars. As such, he highly recommended filling them in before further decay ensues. Nothing I could have done to prevent that, right?
He was a great doctor, helped fill out all our PC forms, and had even heard of Azerbaijan, throwing in some facts and asking lots of funny questions.
Too bad, really. He could have helped fill a big hole in my heart since the passing of my first dental love.
Instead he’s just filling holes in my teeth.
This minute that comes to me over the past decillions, There is no better than it and now. - Walt Whitman