(Yes, this is two Whinesdays in a row. What can I say, my life is hard.)
Dentists lie. Not in general, as far as I know; it’s entirely possible that in their personal lives they are vigorously, painfully honest, annoying their loved ones and embarrassing their friends with their devotion to telling the entire truth at all times. But when it comes to talking to you, the person with teeth, about what is going to happen to and around said teeth, their grip on reality becomes somewhat more tenuous, specifically when it comes to how much something is going to hurt.
I was reminded of this recently when I went to the dentist for the first time in what may or may not have been the better part of a decade (I know, believe me, I know) and I discovered that there is a new invention that dentists love: the sonic plaque removal gun. Dentists love it because it means no more scraping away at nasty teeth with a little pick: just turn that baby on and blast away. And I have to think that enthusiasm has made them play a little more fast and loose with the truth than usual, because unless your definition of “totally painless” is “like having your gums attacked by angry badger,” then there was some inaccuracy in that description.
Of course, all this complaining is just my way of avoiding my responsibility for the real problem, which is that I had avoided going to the dentist for so long that a cavity in one of my molars had developed to the point where a bit of the tooth broke off, causing me, as the dentist would say, “slight discomfort.” Which is how, in a masterful bit of planning, I managed to schedule a major filling appointment for six hours before I was due to leave on a red-eye flight across the country. Go me!*
I will, grudgingly, admit that the work all seemed to go reasonably well, though the dentist lost major points with me for waiting for the moment when I was all numb and drooling and zoned out on nitrous oxide to suggest that maybe I’d like to get my front teeth straightened because, I don’t know, maybe he has some boat payments to make or something.** But, on the plus side, the anesthetic has just about worn off and I’m not in too much pain yet, so who knows, maybe this won’t be so bad.
Or maybe I’ll end up with “some soreness.”
*Seriously, I need to get moving. I haven’t finished packing yet.
**True, my teeth are not perfectly straight. But it doesn’t look like my movie star career is going to pan out at this point, and I spent enough time in retainers and braces to know that teeth? They don’t like to move, and they have plenty of nerve endings at their disposal for when they want to make that point.