As the drill approached my face, I plotted murder.
Not really. I'm a pacifist. But if I was going to murder someone, it would be my OLD dentist.
To understand why, we must move back in time, to when I was a Little Laura and a chunk of tooth fell out of my skull in the band room, and I was sad. Chunks of tooth fell out of my skull all the time back then. It was because of what I like to call "chewing," and I was constantly surprised that no one else had to spit bits of filling into the waste basket between bites. Teeth were always breaking, that was what teeth did, and if they didn't break like that on other kids, it just meant that other kids were freaks with teeth that could be used as multi-tools, ripping open packaging, punching holes in tin cans, prying the tops off bottles, and so forth.
I had weak teeth. And that meant I saw a lot of my dentist.
Who was evil.
Firstly, he didn't believe in pain. Well, maybe he believed in HIS pain, but not in mine. Like, say, your tooth breaks in two in the lunch room. You would call and he would be like, "See you in two weeks!" And you would say, "But it HURTS!" And he would say, "Take a Tylenol."
For the record, when your tooth snaps in two like a stale pretzel, Tylenol doesn't stop the pain. Liquor might, but not Tylenol. And as a child, I wasn't really given ready access to liquor, nor should I have been. Instead, I would just chew on the other side of my mouth and eat lots of pudding.
As time passed, enough chunks of tooth had fallen out and been replaced that I knew certain things about my dentist that a person just shouldn't know. For example, I knew he enjoyed going to the salon for a perm several times a year, because he forgot what decade it was. I also knew that he feared children and disliked people. Which is bad when you work with people and children (who are small people).
I also learned that it didn't matter what I said to my old dentist, he was going to ignore me. So when I told him during my senior year of high school that one of my top teeth hurt, he ignored me. He told me it was sinus pain and didn't bother to take an x-ray, even though I was due for x-rays.
On four other occasions, he ignored me as I complained about that specific tooth. "It's your sinuses," he would say. "Take a Tylenol."*
Today I had most of that tooth drilled away! Because guess what? It was actually messed up all along! Who would have thought? Certainly not me, I mean, what do I know, I'm just a stupid girl, right? It's not like I noticed or complained about anything over the years, did I?**
I would just shrug this off and say it was one goof in years of good dentistry if my poor mum hadn't just had four teeth removed because the root canals Old Dentist gave her over many years had all gone bad. ALL of them. So there is a pattern of suckiness and neglect from Old Dentist as WELL as bad perms.***
So, New Dentist, who is probably the best dentist I have ever met,**** drilled away a big chunk of my tooth and shoved antibiotics in it, then closed the top off with a temporary filling.
What does this mean? It means that I MIGHT get to keep that tooth. Hooray! It also means that he might have to rip that sucker out of my skull like that torturer guy did to Jennifer Garner in an episode of Alias I saw once. Although hopefully with more anesthetic.
It also means that if you can't associate the word "gentle" with your dentist (even if in your brain, your dentist is holding a drill when you picture him/her) kick your dentist to the curb and find one that will listen to you. Do this before you start wondering if cramming a Chiclet into the space where your real tooth used to be would fool anyone.*****
I will keep you up to date, because I am so throwing a tooth funeral if poor Toothy has to go. This is my bad tooth's new name. I named it because if I'm going to swear at something, it had better be differentiated from the other nearly identical things around it, so it knows exactly who I'm talking to.******
* If Tylenol doesn't help when your tooth shatters like broken glass, it sure as heck isn't going to cure MY sinus pain, which can fell elephants, bring down mountains, and collapse stars.
** This is sarcasm.
*** There is no such thing as a good perm on a man. Or if there is, I don't know about it.
**** He actually said "Hello!" before dragging out the drill, strapping me down, and ripping chunks of tooth out of my head! Who does that? I think New Dentist is a saint.
***** If you have never wondered this, you've never had a tooth shatter mid-vacation when you're trying to enjoy good Southern barbecue.
****** That's right, we're personifying the tooth. Meanwhile, soon, my mouth (thanks to Toothy) will have cost me more money than my Taurus did. That means I refuse to eat a bad meal again. If I go to a restaurant, and someone brings me pasta in a cream sauce, and the cream sauce has broken, I will sent it straight back, because if I am spending this much money to fix my mouth, I am raising the culinary standards around here.