Being Brave or Little Shop of Horrors
If you get queasy or gross out easily you may not want to be here today. Bye-bye.
Old Timers already know of my irrational fear of the dentist. This fear is so great I haven’t seen a dentist since 2006. It hardly seems that long but I guess so. I’ll do anything to avoid the dentist, which is basically to just ignore whatever problem I’m having until I lose a tooth. Which I did this afternoon eating lunch. Damn hard bread! I love it. I’ve known that two teeth have needed attention since before I left the law office in 2011. After that I was unemployed for nearly a year and could have gone at any time because I had dental insurance.
In other words; I’m aware this problem is all in my head, that’s self-defeating and even self-deprecating.
Of course, it’s right in the front. (I don’t have any back teeth on the top)
I’ve never had a good smile. Ever. I was born with defective top teeth three of which never came in as adult teeth. I walked around looking like a Jack-O-Lantern throughout Jr. High and the first two years of High School at which time the orthodontist put dentures on my retainer and, for the first time in my whole entire life, I had a whole entire smile. I got dates.😉
Yes, friends and neighbors, I’ve had false teeth in one form or another since I was about 16. When the retainer came off I got ‘bonded teeth’ to fill in the gap. I was very happy. 14 years later they fell out. I was Gappy for over a month. I got my first plate. Things went downhill fast from there. I got my second plate nearly 20 years ago. It’s needed to have teeth put on it for at least the last 10 years. If you follow me on Facebook you may have noticed by now that whenever I post a picture of myself there’s never a big toothy grin on my aging face. Just a little smirk. A little upturn at the corners of my mouth. I have always been extremely conscious of my bad teeth I never laugh too loud or too long and whenever I feel a big wide toothy grin breaking out on my face I immediately yank it back. I’ve been doing this for about 35 years. It’s no fun. Trust me, it freakin’ sucks. But I’ve pulled it off well. Most people have no idea of my dental problem and are shocked to find out about it, on the rare occasions I chose to tell someone.
This blog don’t count. I’m not looking at you while I write this. Get it?
So the fucker snapped off today. No, it didn’t hurt. It was half a crown anyway just like the one on the other side. However, this left me with a problem. I nutted up and called the dentist. I got no answer twice. I wondered what dentist takes Wednesday off? I know myself well so I forced myself to drive to the dentist office (instead of the post office where I should have gone to put a prize pack in the mail). It was open. I walked in. I explained my problem very quietly cuz I was too embarrassed to open my mouth very much. The nice lady tried to get me to have a cleaning because that’s always the first thing they do. I explained that wasn’t going to happen and why. I got an appointment for 3pm…today. I went home (just around the corner, I know, I know, I’m insane. I’m irrational, the office isn’t even out of my way I can spit on it from my house!)
I filled out the paperwork. I went back. I changed the insurance information. I was taken to the backroom. The hygienist had been informed about the hysterical woman coming in to see her. She was very nice to me. She tried to take a regular x-ray and had to use smaller (child sized) equipment because my mouth is very small. Every dentist has remarked on how small my mouth is.
Dr. Hannah recognized me. I’m hard to forget on this score. I’m the chick that cries the whole time she’s in the dentist chair (silently, thank you, no blubbering) and grips the arms so tight my knuckles turn white and my hands are numb by the time it’s over. He remembered my plate too. He was amazed to see I still had the same ‘little masterpiece’ and he was shocked to see that the core and post he gave me in 2006 was still in good shape even though I’d never had the actual crown put on it. Yeah, that’s a front tooth, it matches my other front tooth which isn’t mine either. Well, ok, they’re mine, I paid for ’em.
I wanted to be brave and not cry and buck up and do The Right Thing. So I did…sorta. I didn’t cry to the end and that was more out of relief than fear. This my chance. This is THEE chance I’ve waited for ALL these years. MY chance to have a NICE SMILE. I wants it, Precious. I do. I’m getting teary just thinking about it. For me, it’s better than winning the lottery. It’s even better than a publishing contract. How’s that? Dr. Hannah asked what I wanted to do and I told him; I want a whole new top plate. I have THREE teeth left on top. THREE. Two fake ones and one that’s falling apart. I want this over with. All of the shame and the pain and the embarrassment I’ve suffered all these years I just can’t do it anymore. I want to smile without thinking about it first. I want to let out a belly laugh without covering my mouth. I want to have a conversation without gauging the distance between my lips and my teeth as I speak. Even my husband has never seen me without my teeth. He knows I have a plate. He’s never really seen it. I hide it from him, I cup it in my hand in the morning when brushing my teeth so he doesn’t have to see it. Well, no, so I don’t have to see him see it. That’s more accurate. If we shower together, I turn my back on him to brush my teeth. It’s always been the sorest point with me. Especially in this day and age when ‘whitening’ is so damn important. People have gone overboard with that and I’m almost glad I didn’t get to be one of them because I would have been. I would have blindingly white totally fake looking teeth if those on top were mine.
I know. Ick.
So I’m going for it. At this point that shouldn’t be too damn hard! Not the ‘blinding white’ part…no. No. No. No. I’m 48. I EAT. So they will not be blinding white.
He’s submitting my rather hideous full mouth x-ray to my insurance company. They’ve never paid out a dime for me so I have little doubt this won’t be approved. In about a week I should be making an appointment for impressions. At that time I have little doubt the tooth that’s barely hanging on will become a ‘free extraction’. I’ll suffer for two more weeks with my ‘little masterpiece’ but at least I’ll have SOME teeth and then…I’ll walk into his office with 2-3 teeth and walk out with 16 on the top for the first time in just about forever.
As I left he said the same thing to me he always does; “Come on, smile for me. Smile.” I never smile for him. He tries so hard to get me to smile. He promised he is going to make me a beautiful smile. That I won’t frown anymore–that’s pretty much my ‘natural expression’. I have to force myself to smile if something doesn’t make me laugh first. Don’t take my picture! Don’t tell me to ‘smile’ it’s the WORST fake POS under the sun. I swear. It is. It’s awful. Strangely enough, I think he’s actually looking forward to this nearly as much as I am. Not for the money he’ll make either.
On my way out the nice lady at the desk again tried to get me to make an appointment for a cleaning. She said it would make me feel better. Oh yeah…I DO have all of my bottom teeth, btw! Well except 3. Wisdom teeth don’t count I don’t have any of them by necessity (small mouth, remember?). I only lost 1 molar on the bottom. See…I do take care of my teeth. I just got genetically ripped off on the top set. But I will have that cleaning and probably a small filling or two on the bottom when the top is taken care of. I’ll do it without crying (hopefully) because I’ll WANT the bottoms to look nice. It will MATTER then.
Who knows? Come mid-May or so there could be a picture of moi with a big smile. Come June/July there could be a picture of me in a BATHING SUIT with an even bigger smile!
Maybe it’s true. Maybe I’m not just getting older. Maybe I am getting just a wee bit better.