Friday, February 6, 2015

Memories Down Dental Lane

I don't have anything against the Brits. I honestly don't so if you are reading this and are English please don’t feel as if I am specifically referring to you.

I am now in my late 60’s, have lost a great deal of my hair, which I had an abundance of when I was younger. I wear trifocals and have the early stages of cataracts in both eyes. I also have the lovely experience of cardiac arrhythmia for which I am hog-tied to a bottle of pills I must take daily just to keep the ticker from deciding to run off without adult medicinal supervision into a maddening, unsteady Clydesdale gallop. I also bear up under several other ‘elderly’ plagues and symptoms such as arthritis, low back pain, sciatica and IBS, for which I am also tethered to a nightly remedy in pill form. Fortunately my mind and memory are still in tact revealing no degree of betrayal at this stage of the game.

Getting old is not for the faint of heart or the weak of mind and spirit. I really don't mind all these complications since I have rarely met anyone of my age or older who hasn't undergone some, all, or even more of these maladies. However, there is one problem I have been battling since I was just a wee lad that continues to plague me six decades later ... the trips to the dentist chair.

My first visit took place soon after Doc Holliday stopped practicing the art, or so it seems, since the practices and tools used in 1955 didn’t seem far removed from that gunslinging driller’s era. Since then I have had every wisdom teeth surgically removed, countless cavities filled, teeth pulled and replaced with bridges ... and more bridges. Teeth capped, recapped, whitened, laminated, brushed, flossed, banded and X-rayed enough to create my own oral WMD. Fortunately the denture route has been avoided thus far.

I was sitting in my assigned spot in my dentist’s sleek new office (no doubt one that I and others of my ilk paid for) a week ago for a bi-annual cleaning in which the dental technician was aggressively poking, prodding, grinding and scraping six months of lavishness I attacked my oral cavity with by means of candy, cake, pie, a deluge of lemonade to keep those rancid kidney stones at bay and the application of sugar-coating from my daily intake of coca cola. As she was prattling along about something or other I interrupted her loquacious oratory to inform her how lovely and fresh my teeth and breath always feel immediately after cleaning, to which she double-timed the final application of peppermint flavored paste that has the consistency of the beaches of Borneo and within mere seconds my mouth was minty fresh while feeling like the leavings of a well-worn gravel road.

Today I am back in that familiar chair to have a permanent cap placed on a molar that has decided its days of remaining an independent entity are over. As I sat back and the dentist’s plastic guarded face blocked out the sun of those bright old fashioned OR lights he proceeded to drill, drill some more, one final drill for good measure then a mold was taken, he removed himself to some secret cave in the office I helped pay for and within minutes returned, placed a new cap on the hollowed-out remains of my tooth, administered peppermint glue, shined a cool laser beam to the application, removed my lobster bib and said, “See you in six months.”

Now I am the proud owner of a cubic zirconia capped-tooth that will never crack, break or loosen unless it comes into contact with a nefarious diamond cutter. It took all of ten minutes for the painless procedure which takes me back to my younger days when Doc Holliday would put me under with gas, work on me with a foot-cranked drill and 3 hours later after experiencing a protracted feeling of never ending falling the dentist would wake me up and say to me, as the slobber dripped from the side of my mouth, “See you in six months.”

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