Share This

Fierce in Seattle: Stop the Hate. [Blinded by the (Dental) Light]

As a kid, I was very dramatic and would scream at my mother “I hate you!” My mother, calm as still water, would reply, “hate is a very strong word. You had best be sure you mean it and all of its implications.”

I apply this principle to how I feel about using hate in my vernacular. Okay, I don’t hate olives, but I just don’t enjoy their flavor. Fine, I don’t hate math, but my strong suits have always been in the creative arts. And yes, I hate Michael Vick. I am not coming down from that one.

One thing I have decided to no longer hate, but rather, make amends with, is going to the dentist. Regardless of the varied techniques to manage their care, my genes usurp any fancy toothpaste or gum stimulators. Thanks, dad! My childhood doctor gave me at least 4 fillings, a couple of caps, cleaning treatments that were either flavored bubble gum or butterscotch. Butterscotch? Really? That might work on an 80 year-old but not an 8 year-old, Doc.

I see the light!

As I grew into adulthood I was a struggling actor in Chicago with occasional dental insurance. This resulted in my first root canal, crown, and foray into dental debt. In an effort to save a few pennies, I went back to the hometown Barber of Seville who pulled one of my wisdom teeth under local anesthetic. Which did not work.

I have this predisposition where my body is basically immune to Novocain. In the wisdom tooth incident, I was injected up to 8 shots in one area and was still able to sense the pain. After years of researching this on my own with several DDS practitioners, I discovered that I need one of the following combinations:

1. Best Case Scenario: Perfect exam. No further work needed!
2. Nitrous with Novocain.
3. Valium with Novocain. (Yes, your DDS can prescribe Valium to take prior to your appointment. Someone should drive you…in theory).

When one of those situations has been determined, I am good to go. And, yes, I will say, that I hate the impending procedures. I have sensitive teeth in addition to the aforementioned issues, I have spent likely $20,000 and I still don’t have a Julia Roberts smile. I should. And it’s a total time suck. I have to use vacation time from work since my dentist works every other Saturday, and Saturdays usually interfere with my volunteer work. And just one more bit of hate…soft hits of the 80s and 90s. Richard Marx ballads only amplify the affliction.

And just when I thought I was on my best behavior including that pesky flossing, I drop my new night guard on the bathroom floor and it cracked. I’m awaiting the repair bill. I may resort to Crazy Glue because this sucks. If it’s more than the $42 quoted repair, I’m looking at a $400 replacement, at best. If I don’t get a bite guard, I’m going to keep going back to the dentist for even bigger issues. And more expensive ones at that.

On an up note, I love (not hate!) my new dentist, Dr. Laura Chase. I’ve never felt more comfortable, aware of what is happening my mouth—past, present, and future. While I am bankrolling college tuition for her children, I suppose I can feel better knowing that I am taking care of my own future, because my smile is my fortune. Or is the phrase “my smile is costing a fortune?”