The Dentist

The doctor for the face bones in your head gash.

Adulthood, for me, tends to come in waves like hot flushes for a menopausal woman or hot flushes for someone who is on currently on fire. In the middle of playing Skyrim or painting my High Elf army, I’ll suddenly find myself doing my taxes or buying a gym membership. It’s a kind of madness, a fever that not only makes me realise my life is stupid and I’m doing it wrong, but that I am strong enough to find solutions to deal with it. This is of course opposite to the regular kind of deep paralysing chill of adultness, when you curl up on the couch watching Buffy with a kind of numbed indifference, desperately ignoring the five hundred dollar phone bill you racked up by using Tumblr on your smartphone.
The other day at work, I suddenly found myself googling dental clinics, and then my phone was in my hand and then I was booking an appointment. It’s like I was possessed by my sensible uncle. All those television ads about ‘sensitive’ teeth had started making sense to me, cold water and ice based cocktails suddenly assailing my talk hole. But my satisfaction with my adult-flush quickly disappeared when I looked down at the mauled remnants of the packet of Oreo’s that I’d just eaten with two hands, and the sudden awful realisation that it has been an entire decade since I last entrusted my teeth to a dental hygiene expert.
When I entered the dental clinic, there was nobody at the desk. There was however, the shrill whine of a drill, and I shit-you-not, the overwhelming stench of burnt hair or flesh. I waited for a while, until a lady came out of the room, sought to take her mask off, yet was foiled by the blood on her gloves.
I spent the next hour reading Men’s Health, wondering if I truly did seek a V shaped torso, and if not, what letter does my torso currently resemble? Then it was finally time, and I was introduced to the very polite and professional dentist. She subjected me to an extraordinarily involved examination, involving x-rays and photographs and randomly tapping my teeth with a sharp hook. She didn’t even berate me after I told her this was my annual ten-yearly visit. Then again, she had seen my details form, where I had written for my occupation ‘writer’ after first crossing out ‘itinerant shepherd’. She probably, and rightly, assumed it was a financial thing.
To cut a long story short, I have one cavity in one of my molars. I will be getting it filled next week. It is all very costly and is making me very sad. But, one cavity in ten years of neglect is actually fairly awesome. But the far more pressing trouble, and the cause of my tooth sensitivity, is gum degradation. Gum degradation caused by me being TOO vehement with my brushing. My daily attacks on my on mouth, wielding my toothbrush like a bristled club have basically flayed my gums away from the roots. And it’s permanent, too. But this is just so me – I tend to cause my own problems by being far too energetic about trying to do positive things. My mother is the same – she recently gave herself calcium poisoning, taking far too many supplements after getting scared about osteoporosis. It’s making me wonder if some of the manic energy I put into my projects might be the same – if I’m mutilating something while trying to make it better. If there was ever an image of me that encapsulates what I’m all about, it would be me drunkenly cleaning my teeth, a fevered glint in my eye, lips drawn back into a rictus as I scrub until I bleed.
1/5 stars

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