Short of Tooth

I went to see a dentist last month. It’s been a few years; we’d lost insurance after the whole mess with The Workshop, and after gaining benefits elsewhere we decided to find a new place. Wendi hadn’t liked the previous dentist, and I didn’t like running into my former bosses there. Finally, Wendi found an office she liked. She came back from her appointment with a clean, malicious grin and an appointment card for me.

At least she gave me almost a month to prepare myself to go in…

Oddly enough, dental phobia is not one of my hangups. I just don’t like unfamiliar places. Or unfamiliar people. Or waiting rooms. What I especially don’t enjoy is filling out “new patient” forms. There’s always something on them that I can’t understand or honestly don’t know. Then I feel like an idiot, and I panic that I won’t be allowed past the waiting room because I couldn’t finish the form.

This time it was the insurance information. I’m on Wendi’s and don’t actually have a card of my own. I put down her name as the account holder, but I didn’t even remember what insurance company it was with. Plus, after 19 years of marriage I still haven’t memorized Wendi’s social security number. I’m the worst identity thief ever.

Fortunately when I explained that they already had our insurance information on Wendi’s account, the receptionist believed me. When I left I was told that the exam was completely covered, so I assume everything worked out with my patient form despite my complete inability to fill in standard information.

I don’t want to cover the cleaning and the x-rays; it was pretty standard stuff. Although it was my first experience with a sonic pick, there’s really not much to say about that beyond “it was oddly uninteresting”. I mean, my electric toothbrush is noisier. Slighty less damp, though.

For me the biggest surprise was that I didn’t have any cavities. I got the usual rap about flossing more and gums that weren’t bad enough to warrant a real lecture, but other than that everything was okay. Everything, that is, but for the “known issue”.

This is the part that surprised the staff.

I’ve mentioned my mutant ankles. Well, my teeth aren’t exactly to spec either. (Just once, I’d like to get a useful mutation. Like, not having nose hair.) It turns out that my upper canines decided to grow sideways instead of down. In the x-rays you can see them, happily nestled in my gums, dreaming their canine dreams of biting into rarebit.

Where they should have come out, there are two extremely tired baby teeth. One of which is, in fact, sleeping the sleep from which none awaken. This caused some alarm in the exam room. As the dentist calmly put it, “They could explode at any time.” I’m sure that was a metaphor, but he did leave hastily after that pronouncement.

I have to go back in November so they can measure my gums again. No further mention was made of my little time bombs or what we should do to defuse them. I really don’t want my mouth to blow up. Hot fudge sundaes through an IV just aren’t as tasty.


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