Too Cool to Drool

Posted on January 10, 2013


“I udder all-aaz ol ee ta ‘eep I ‘ott coze … ” (Translation: My mother always told me to keep my mouth closed.)

There were regular visits from the Tooth Fairy as a youngster.

Perhaps it was an embedded threat, but my mother regularly reminded me as I was growing up how horrible my baby teeth were, and how I had to keep up with the brushing or lose my adult ones to the dreaded dentures. (I had no idea what affliction that meant, but it always sounded something like a plague.) So I heeded those words – but unfortunately, dentistry being what it was back in the 60’s, a few of my teeth were pulled rather than having them treated with fillings. It was cheaper and faster, and the dentist could get on to the next victim (excuse me, patient). In fact, there was no such thing as the reclining loungers with headsets, tv remotes and tranquil music wafting in the background, like the “smile clinics” of today use to ease any anxiety. Nope, not even fancy pens and novelties like they give the little ones when they visit the dentist’s office these days. You simply had to show up, shut up, and toughen up like a soldier going into battle. Let’s just say, my memories of those days at the dentist’s office were not positive.

As a parent, I drilled (sorry, wrong term) into our kids good dental practices. I learned any silly song necessary (courtesy of Sesame Street usually) to pass the time while enforcing regular brushing. I also garnered a little bit about good nutrition for the body (thanks to Bill Nye the Science Guy). Thankfully, our kids didn’t know what a cavity was for years. When the family dentist introduced television and headsets along with sunglasses, I knew my relationship with dentistry was about to change for the better.

I have been fortunate to engage some excellent dentists, orthodontists and specialists over the years. Even though I figured I had easily paid for my own private parking stall at the orthodontist’s office, with both kids requiring braces through the high school years, that request was sadly ignored. (I’m happy to have paid for the doc’s shiny BMW however.) At least both of our children have amazing smiles today.

Now as empty nesters, it’s been a take-turns situation, looking after Hubby’s and my teeth as we age. With every tooth that gets crowned, every root canal, every bridge, I feel like there’s more hardware our mouths than at Home Depot – and no sales! My dental hygenist and I are developing a new language like the one used in the movie “Avatar” (Navi), combined with hand gestures, that seems to be working. The results have been good, but it’s the “mechanics” of it all that sucks – like that little nozzle that hoses up your saliva.

It’s OK to drool – if you’re a dog.

If it didn’t always take so many injections to effectively freeze my mouth, a process not unlike bringing down a bull moose with a tranquilizer gun, I wouldn’t mind the stupid-looking drooling after the appointment. (Isn’t it great how grown adults can look stone sober, but drool profusely like a slobbering dog when their facial muscles are numb? I dare you to drink a glass of water and still look cool.)

You may have guessed it, but today was one of those days at the dentist. What began as a fairly routine (are you joking?) crowning of a wisdom tooth, soon turned into a second (immediate) session at a specialist’s office – halted part way through the first appointment and while still frozen – to have that tooth’s root canal removed and temporarily filled. It took no less than seven (seven!) injections to complete the work between the two offices, and I could barely open my mouth for the rest of the afternoon. Half my face was numb. The good news was that I would still be able to go on my winter holiday, and the crown work for that tooth would be completed when I return. My grinning Hubby was relieved that I kept the drooling to a minimum and didn’t ruin the upholstery in the car on the way home. I’d have given him a swat in the head, except I was conserving my energy for a lovely afternoon nap (yeah).

Keep on smilin’!

I hadn’t planned for such a drama at the dentist, but I’m happy it’s done for a little while at least. This soldier needs some recovery time. Tomorrow I’ll be smilin’ again.


*** Follow-up: I did indeed go back to my dentist when we returned from our Hawaiian holiday, to have the crown work completed on my wisdom tooth, something I was bracing myself for. As luck would have it, my jaw bone was rejecting the tooth that had the root canal on it just weeks earlier. Bing-bang-boom, I got the pleasure of getting that same wisdom tooth extracted then and there. More freezing, more shots, hole in mouth – whoopey. It was like a double whammy! I was told it was a rare condition, so I’m trying to remember just how “special” that makes me, as I slap another ice pack on my jaw and try to manage some scrambled eggs for supper. Hopefully, things are on the mend. Hubby better appreciate the silence while he can.

Posted in: Mid-Life Quirks