I’ve had a tooth ache for a month. The pain comes and goes, and I’ve been coping with it through the occasional use of pharmaceuticals, but mostly by chewing on the other side. I have developed creative ways to keep cold liquids from making contact with that tooth by shielding it with my tongue when I take a drink. Once in a while I forget and a sharp pain jabs into my jaw followed by a headache. And yet I can’t seem to pick up the phone to call my dentist.
See, I had a tooth extracted for the first time last year, and I would prefer this tooth just keep on disintegrating on its own, thank you. It took about four shots of Novocaine to make the procedure tolerable. That tooth was in a difficult place, so basically the dentist was lifting me out of the chair as he was pulling on my tooth. And while I didn’t really have any pain, I could HEAR the tooth being ripped from my gums!
Afterwards the dental assistant treated me to a look at my extracted tooth with the long rubbery roots still intact. I’m not the squeemish type, but that was pretty creepy. I had a morbid thought that it would be cool to take it home to show my sons — a little scared straight lesson on regular dental care. But she wouldn’t let me have it. Something about hazardous waste. Probably for the best.
And so I continue to procrastinate on seeking “treatment” because I finally understand the phrase “it was like pulling teeth” in its full context.
But the biggest reason I don’t want to go to the dentist is that I know I am only a few tooth extractions away from at least a partial set of dentures and in my book that means I am officially old. Who wants to feel old? In my world, dentures are not for people in their early mid-life years. They’re for the rocking chair set. They make you the subject of ridicule and old people jokes. I used to laugh at those jokes and now I am about to be the butt of them.
Which reminds me – did you hear the one about the elderly couple at the restaurant? The waitress couldn’t figure out why the old man wasn’t eating his dinner. She thought he didn’t like it and she might not get a good tip. So she asked him, “Sir, is everything alright with your meal? I notice you’re not eating.” The old man answered, “Oh, yes. It’s just that I’m waiting for my wife to finish with the teeth.”
I rest my case.