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.
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.
In which I consider what's in a name
2 months ago