Dental breakdown

It’s taken me three months to do it, but I’ve finally made an appointment to see my dentist.

I got my friendly “it’s time for us to poke your teeth with sharp metal objects again” letter back in November, but I just never got around to calling them. I’m sure I had it written down on my to-do list a few times, but I just never got around to doing it—along with most of the things on my list.

And it’s not as if I’ve been frightened of going, either. Everything was fine at my last check-up (about a month after having all my wisdom teeth removed), and I’ve been brushing my teeth just like I was taught in those public service announcements when I was a kid. (Yes, we did have television back then!) I haven’t been quite as good with the flossing, but I don’t know anyone who is.

The appointment is for next Friday, which gives me plenty of time to dream up a whole bunch of worst-case scenarios, such as my dentist looking into my mouth and saying, “Well, there’s a couple back there we might be able to save.”

(I’m allowed to be paranoid. About ten years ago I went for my first check-up in about 18 years, and it looked like I actually would lose some. Fortunately everything healed up after a couple of sessions of root planing, and the worst that’s happened so far is a filling I got last year. But I can still remember the sick feeling I had when he told me.)

So for the next week or so I’ll be brushing like I’ve never brushed before. I’ll be flossing so hard my gums will bleed (though I doubt the name “Bleeding Gums Harper” will ever catch on). And I’ll be screaming in pain as the Listerine burns the crap out of my mouth.

I can hardly wait.

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