Thursday, 26 April 2012

In which another one bites the dust

A mere three and a half months after I declared it one of my new year's resolution, I made a dentist's appointment. And it was painless! I didn't feel a thing - I just picked up the phone, dialled, talked to a receptionist and, y’know, asked them in my politest voice to fix my mouth quite soon please. Job done.

Except it isn't, obviously, because now I have to go to the ruddy thing. I'll admit though, that right now it isn't the thought of the pain that's terrifying me - "they drug you, don't they?” “Yes Lauren” – it’s the lecture I will inevitably get. They’ll ask me when I last went to a dentist, and I’ll cough and mumble something and possibly fabricate a story about living in a remote jungle for half a decade. It will be like the hairdressers, except worse because no matter how straggly and ill-conditioned you allow your ends to get, your hair can never actually hurt you.

They'll ask me if I floss, and I'll have to admit that until very recently I thought flossing was something only Americans did. Like having fridges that make ice and thinking 'gotten' is a proper word. It was a level of dental detail that I just didn't think was expected of us, in real life. I brush twice a day, I don't gargle with Fanta; what more do they want? Do you floss, reader? DO YOU? Oh. Fine. I bet you back up your hardrive too, don't you, Captain Perfecto?

That's how much I know. As a person whose last visit to the dentist was quite possibly undertaken in school uniform (don't judge), I've been out of the oral loop for some time. In a way I've never been in it, because up till now I've never had to have a single thing done to my teeth - no braces, no fillings, no administering of anything other than a sticker and a three-year-old copy of the Reader's Digest to leaf through while my siblings got drilled.
Having reached my early twenties with an entirely organically-grown mouth, I'd begun to think, indulgently, that perfect teeth might be my 'thing'. My gimmick. While all the other bits of my body inevitably began to sag and break and disintegrate, perhaps my teeth would stay freakishly strong and healthy. "Phwoar, look at the teeth on that!" passers-by would exclaim when I shuffle past in my twilight years*. My obituary would have a quote: "Lauren's teeth put mine to shame" - Donny Osmond.

But it wasn't to be. In the space of a year I've gone from SuperChops to a person who has to grip down something hard every time she has a mouthful of hot soup. I have a seriously gammy tooth. In the middle of a gammy-tooth-twinge I look like the Psammead from Five Children and It granting a wish, only less hopeful. With more swearing.

So I’m now facing the possibility that every dental problem I didn’t have for the last 24 years might suddenly have appeared en masse now. Still – I’ve got three days till my appointment, during which I intend to floss as if my life depended on it.

*Not to be confused, of course, with my Twilight years, which would be when I grew fangs and started mooning about with angsty werewolves.


  1. I was in the same position as you last August. I got a few tuts then, after an inspection, a grudging "You've been quite fortunate actually" and a double hygienist's appointment.

    Now I have an electric toothbrush, floss religiously (incense, holy water & the rest) and use a mouthwash with the kick of a fractious mule. My gums are candyfloss pink and my teeth are as white as a skull found in the Mojave Desert. Unfortunately that makes their wonkiness that much more obvious, but never mind.

  2. oh. I felt EXACTLY the same... I'm 23 and I'm pretty sure the last time I went to the dentist was at school. But the pain of a tooth and also wisdom teeth I bit the bullet. I was so nervous I can't even express!! I have an amazing dentist to thank though. I had two wisdom teeth removed and a filling done, which was a bit painful but nothing I couldn't handle. What was really painful was the price of a white filling. Funnily enough the dentist doesn't do payment plans... £50 for the wisdom teeth and filling... However I decided I wanted a white filling because it was on the bottom, and that set me back a further £100. OUCH!
    Good luck! After my appt I booked my 6 month check up to ensure I would continue with the good habits.
    PS. I don't floss but am trying to nowadays... I thought it was just an American thing too....