I went to the dentist yesterday.
Let me rephrase: I went to the dentist yesterday for the first time in at least four years (more like six). As it turns out, once you get into college and eventually are dropped from your parents dental plan, there's really not that much encouraging you to go to the dentist. A simple test:
Please select the most appealing choice.
A). Schedule and go to an appointment with the dentist.
B). Do not schedule an appointment with the dentist and spend the money that would have paid for said appointment on something you really want. Like beer.
It's a scientific fact that most people will select choice B. I certainly did...for four years (more like six). What finally gave me the nudge/shove to schedule an appointment, you ask? My mother called one evening to chat and, among other things, mentioned the epic dental work my grandfather had scheduled and exorbitant cost of that work. The phrase "bone graft" was used and a dollar figure in the few thousands was quoted. Add to this the fact that I was pretty sure I had brushed off a piece of tooth just one day prior, and a trip to the dentist suddenly seemed a good idea.
Unfortunately, the dentist with whom I scheduled the appointment did not have any openings for a good week-and-a-half so I had to stew away in dread of the irreparable damage I was sure I had inflicted upon my poor teeth. This became a conversation piece at work. My job attracts a certain type - rule followers let's call them - and they could not fathom the kind of thinking that would lead to four years (more like six) of forgotten or otherwise put-off dental commitments. An over/under on the number of cavities I was sure to have was started. The magic number was two. Everyone took the over except my boss. When I asked him why, thinking he would say something like, "You seem like the type of guy who brushes regularly and is in most ways healthy," he responded with, "I like to live dangerously."
So the day finally came. Yesterday. Zero hour. I was sure this would end poorly. I would have many cavities and gum disease too. I would face months and months of expensive and painful dental procedures and the whole time I would have to listen to the dentist - in that smug tone all dentists have - ask me why I hadn't taken better care of my teeth. Did I not value my TEETH!?
Well, color me surprised when I was informed that, aside from four years (more like six) of plaque build-up on my bottom teeth - which had to be removed with an instrument the dental hygienist described as a "mini jackhammer" - and a little recession of the periodontal pockets on my lower bicuspids (I'm a good listener), my mouth was healthy and cavity free. The dentist described my teeth as - and I couldn't make this up - "genetically superior". Fuckin'-A right.
I asked her if that meant I didn't have to come back for another four to six years, but I don't think she thought it was funny. I'll take genetically superior over funny any day. If I had a choice, my genetic superiority would be in the realm of extreme speed or reflexes or huge lungs or unfathomable good looks, but I'll take wicked strong enamel if I have to. As a friend of mine said, "Hey, you never know when you might have to chew through something." Indeed.