Not So Much a Tooth Fairy

No studies have conclusively or statistically shown it, but a trip to the dentist is always best on a Monday. I know this based on experience. Experience from this very moment, as a matter of fact. Monday dental visits are good for two very good reasons:

  • You get to leave work early. On a Monday, no less.
  • The rest of the week is blissful, having gotten the trauma of the dental visit over with right from the start.

I'm not a very big fan of dentists. It's not that I don't like them as people. I'm sure they mean well, and most of them are probably perfectly nice. In fact, I think I take a don't hate the player, hate the game approach with them. As in, I like them well enough, but what they do sometimes really makes me hate them appreciate their profession a good deal less than they might hope.

Of course, before every trip to the dentist, I must brush my teeth before I get there. Yes, I'm one of those people. I really have no idea if dentists appreciate this sort of thing, or even expect it of their patients. I do it because I operate under the most likely misconstrued notion that I can somehow brush away every single bit of tartar and plaque residing on my teeth in one fell swoop. And it's not that I don't brush my teeth effectively. I brush twice a day, sometimes more, and floss on average once a day. Despite such good textbook care of my teeth, I still go to the dentist's office thinking that this time, they're going to tell me that all my teeth are half-rotted and are going to fall out within the next two months, and I may as well go ahead and schedule an appointment to get my dentures made.1

I suppose, though, that holding expectations this low could be some twisted form of coping mechanism. Imagining the worst so that when they tell me everything is fine and looks great, I can breathe a sigh of relief and continue living. Today, the worst of the news was that my one and only filling seems to be coming apart a little bit. I distinctly remember that day in fifth grade when I found out I had a cavity. I thought for sure my parents would skin me alive. Instead, I got a stern "You need to brush your teeth better" lecture from my folks and a snazzy white filling that's only visible to those in the dental field. How cosmetically awesome!

1This irrational fear usually only occurs to me about an hour before I have to be at the dentist's office. There's also a strong chance that I exaggerated some, if not all, aspects of said irrational fear.