In less than an hour, I will be at the dentist. It will be the first time I have seen a dentist in three years. I know, gross.
It's not entirely my fault. The lapse in frequent visits began when I got pregnant with my daughter. It used to be common knowledge that you are not supposed to go to the dentist while incubating infants-to-be. The trend seems to be changing, but seeing as I am of the neurotic persuasion, I opted to wait until post-Pitocin-induced pushing. I figured I would electric slide my booty into that chair of misery after the baby was born. But then, ya know, she was born. I was busy. And the sheer idea of having that bright white light of judgment glaring down in my face was the most infuriating thought that ever crossed my mind.
You do not take a tired mother, offer her a chair and a baby-free hour in which she could be sleeping, and then say, "Oh, no, no sleep for you! Instead we're going to tilt you practically upside down, flood your face with bright lights and fill the room with loud drilling sounds!" So I did not go to the dentist while I had an infant. And then I moved across the country and into the wild — where we knew no one. Time was spent getting our bearings, fixing up the house, starting a business and finding things such as primary doctors for flus and local hospitals for broken toes. I told myself that there probably aren't dentists out here in the wild. But then I remembered that even Laura Ingalls saw someone about her teeth.
The panic over having to go to the dentist turned into panic over having not gone to the dentist. I couldn't bring myself to do it; I asked my husband to make my appointment. And you know what that jerk did? He booked it.
This is going to suck more than that straw that vacuums up all your saliva.
The truth is that I know bad news is coming. I've known that I have to see a dentist the same way Tom Hanks' character did in "Cast Away." On more than one occasion, I have woken up in a cool sweat after having a dream in which I had to knock out my own tooth with a rock. I would flap around the bed, looking for Wilson to snuggle me and tell me everything would be OK, but all I would find was my snoring husband. The traitor.
Sometimes I try to lie to myself. I equate the root canal with a romantic paddle through the Venetian canals. Mind over matter, yes? It can work for a bit — until the anesthesia shot punctures my gums and the maniacal laugh of the dentist spreads through his hygienists and into the waiting room in a wave of pure malice. Or at least that is what I imagine is happening. They always seem so smug in telling me about my molar failures.
A friend of mine found out he had 16 cavities in one visit. Another friend found out he needed six root canals. I tell myself, as my hour wanes down to a half-hour before dentist hell, that if my number stays lower than those, I should call this visit a win. But really, who is winning here? Besides the evil dentist. And don't try to tell me dentists don't have a little streak of evil in them. Why else would they go into a profession in which they get to hold people down and drill into their faces?
Perhaps getting braces back when was a bad idea. If I had just kept all my teeth shockingly far apart from one another as they were in my youth, no food would be able to get stuck between them and I wouldn't have to stress. I bet Goofy never had a cavity. Is there a contraption that is the opposite of an Invisalign — one that slowly moves your teeth farther and farther apart?
In preparation for my upcoming visit to the dentist's office, I have begun gargling with hydrogen peroxide and coconut oil. Call it my Hail Mary. Perhaps I'd be better off gargling with shellac to cover the decay.
I'm going in. If you don't hear from me, tell my family members I loved them.
Katiedid Langrock is author of the book "Stop Farting in the Pyramids," available at http://www.creators.com/books/stop-farting-in-the-pyramids. Like Katiedid Langrock on Facebook, at http://www.facebook.com/katiedidhumor. To find out more about her and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.