Tag Archives: dentist

The Thrills of Adulthood Part III: Dental Appointments

8 Feb
This post is part of an accidental series I apparently have, entitled “The Thrills of Adulthood”.  Check out previous versions here- The Thrills of Adulthood and The Thrills of Adulthood Part II: My Palace of Filth

Those are the eyes of a man you can almost trust.

I started this morning off swimmingly, with a trip to the dentist.  Let’s call him Ned.

My first in six years, folks.  I’m not ashamed to say it.  Listen: that crap’s expensive.  On the list of things to pay for as a young, struggling, adult larva, having a middle aged white guy scratch at my enamel with a metal hook and give me a live demonstration on how to pull string through my teeth isn’t at the top of them.  It’s not that I don’t think it’s important.  It’ s just that when you peer inside the wallet of a mid 20-something, you don’t find much.  All of it has already been wrestled out of our grimy little clenched fists for things we never knew we had to pay for before.  Like car insurance and oil changes and work clothes and groceries and appliances.  Some of my most sobering moments in life have been those in which I have to purchase something that is absolutely unexciting but necessary to higher adult functions.  Like kitchen sponges.  Or batteries.  Or a brand new shiny set of car tires, when I’d rather spend that money on an iPad.  Or a kiddie pool full of long noodles.

Yesterday Dave bought a new white board for us and I convinced myself that it was the most romantic thing that had happened to me in our entire relationship.  I cried.  There were real tears.

Anyway, adulthood is expensive.  And I haven’t even started to have babies yet.  Lord help me.

So I’m sitting in Ned’s dentist chair, trying to figure out what I’m supposed to infer from his handing me a cup of water and holding a funnel beside me (it’s not really intuitive, folks), when he begins to make me feel like a terrible person.  He starts to tell me how people die from bad teeth, how it’s linked to many diseases and deaths, and that he’d like to talk to me about my process.  All this in spite of the fact that I didn’t have a single cavity or much plaque to speak of.

My brother got me an electric tooth brush for Christmas (also a clear indicator of adulthood).  I expected him to give me a certificate or something.  I guess they only do that for kids, which I think it preposterous. Excitement over receiving certificates knows no age limit.

So then the Nedster starts going on about how the real goal after I eat should be to get rid of any of the food that’s left in my mouth.  You know, the little bits and pieces you savor as they swim around for a bit.  He believed that every time I put something in my mouth, drink included, I should then rinse or brush whatever is remaining away.   In fact, he so believed that this was necessary to my dental hygiene that he said I should steer clear of any “hard to clean foods” like cookies.

He went straight for the cookies.  Heartless.

Oreos, he said, are the worst.  Because even if you rinse afterward, you only get about half of it.

I can tell you right now, I’m not going to do that.  Get all the food out of my mouth after I’m done?  What about aftertaste, Ned? What about relishing? What about the sweet satisfaction after you’ve had a nice portion of something you’ve been craving for a long time.  What, am I just supposed to sprint and brush away the satisfaction? Good God, man – don’t you have a heart?!

I ate a small Dove chocolate square about ten minutes ago and my tongue can still remember the silky milk goodness on its surface.

But then I realized he’s playing a trick on me.  He probably loves Oreos.  If I would have looked closer, I might have even found a few crumbs lingering on his eye teeth.  But he’s realized that telling people to floss just isn’t working.  People will always do ever so slightly less than they really feel they should.  So he’s decided to change the game and tell people to do more.  If I’m busy feeling unhygienic and sad because I’m not rinsing and brushing after every snack, I’ll tell myself that I should at least floss.  I mean, I’m already slacking in the rinses – I don’t want to risk death because I also didn’t floss, do I?

I admire his wit.  I do.  I recognize this tactic from my childhood: asking to stay out until 10 because then I’ll get to stay out til 9 and all I really needed was 8? Yeah, I remember that. It’s very effective.  Nicely done, Ned! No wonder I bought your services instead of a pool full of noodles or 18 cases of chocolate milk that I’d have to brush away after drinking.

Speaking of which, I should probably go floss some of this Dove chocolate out of my mouth. 


My Big, Dumb Teeth

17 Oct

For quite a long time, I’ve been hoping to someday save enough money to fix what is to me a monstrous overbite.  Of course, things always seem incredibly exaggerated when you’re the one attached to the body parts you’re criticizing.  But nonetheless, it’s  my reality. I took the time this weekend to look up what such a procedure would be like should I choose to finally embark on the journey.

It’s awful.  Truly awful.  Turns out it could rock my world to the tune of $50,000 and may or  may not lead to a few months with my jaw clamped shut.  Not to mention a decent sized percentage of lip and chin numbness for the rest of my life.  All things considered, it appears as if my perfect teeth-wielding dreams will have to be put to rest.  And in honor of the fact that I must do so, I’ve decided to repost a tale of those teeth, written by a much younger, much more blog-neglecting, equally tooth-0bsessed Jackie.  Enjoy. 

I’ve had several less-than-glamorous moments that compose the fuzzy collage of what is my childhood. From leopard pants paired with bright blue tops, fuschia skirts and lime green blouses, to even day-glo, all-green Reeboks, I didn’t have a care in the world for what it thought of me and was more than happy to show off my fashionable fashion taste I could display as I debuted the new seasons of hand-me-downs and thrift store pizzazz. One could say I was the Vera Wang of the lower class.

The beauty of those times is encapsulated in how gorgeously apathetic and ignorant I was to the opinions that surrounded me. I gorged myself on books about Jim Carrey and aspired to be him. My face got stretchier, my clothes more exotic, and my life even more enjoyable. Yeah, I wore big glasses and had permed hair long enough to adequately lustrate my lower region, but I had spunk. And big teeth.

Lots of them, actually. Lots of big, freakin teeth.

One could say I hated them from the beginning. I scooted around the house as a toddler with teeth to the wind, running at full speed toward any solid object that dare enter my field of vision. By the time I was 6, they had to be removed. They were black, cracked apart, and dead to me. Success!

Until they grew back.

They grew back with a vengeance. All of them did. Angry at what I’d done to their brothers and sisters, they came back fiercer, bulkier, and more demanding than ever before. Jutting out from all sides of my jaw, I wondered how it was that I would avoid swallowing them. On the roof of my mouth, in every crevice, outside every natural jaw line, and even deep in the roots of my wisdom teeth, they multiplied. And at the front of the militia, two perfectly straight, perfectly large teeth shone for all the world to see, forcing their way past the others in a desperate cry for attention. … and that they got.

I became instantly famous for a gag called “The Bunny Face” in which I embraced my curse, scrunched up my nose, put my fingers behind my head, and chomped up and down as a small woodland creature might chew upon a small twig. Instant fame. The cheers and pleads for The Bunny Face lived from 3rd grade up until my freshman year of college, when I officially retired it and publicly announced that it would no longer be featured on the Jackie Baker Showtime Hour.

My mouth retaliated.

A trip to the dentist revealed more troops; at the back of my jaw, six wisdom teeth had begun to move in. That’s right: six. If indeed an average person has all their wisdom teeth come in, it often denotes four. I, however, am a special case. A small percentage of lucky, tooth-blessed folk get what are called “super incisors,” which grow in immediately behind the regular two on the upper jaw. Super Incisors. Sounds almost… bunny-like.

I underwent a ridiculous procedure in which eight teeth were removed. At the same time. Six wisdom teeth and two regular asshole teeth that wouldn’t behave, one of which was located right on the roof of my mouth. Really.

By my sophomore year of college, my mouth was looking good compared to its sordid, toothy past. My smile line was lookin’ swell, and I was on my way toward worry-free dentistry.

Cue senior year: audition feedback meetings. After a silent two years, my front teeth are back and bold. It is brought to my attention that my overbite is interfering with my ability to speak well. My front teeth are older, wiser. With no Bunny Face with which to bombard me, they have struck in a much more intellectual way: by stunting my ability to easily handle the speech mechanisms that compose the Shakespearean language. Blasted!

And so my battle begins again. I care more about what the world thinks these days than I did in my thrift store fashionista days. After two years of pride, I’ve been reduced to The Girl with the Overbite. I struggle, I pine, but alas, I can do little to help my moneyless estate.

Since the dental procedure required involves a great deal of money, I must settle for investing in one-holed ski masks. I will immediately cease talking and will invest in a variety of bold and bright colors and they shall mask my pain. … and my overbite. Leopard print, bright blue, fuschia, and lime green. I’ll wear them with every outfit, I’ll set new trends, I will overcome the setbacks of my toothy past and shoot for the stars. I shall return to my childhood splendor and set new standards of fashion amongst the criminal demographic.

I, Jackie Baker, will no longer be set back by my bulky, malicious front teeth. 

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