Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Being 40:Visiting the Dentist

Jamming the metal hook between my wisdom tooth and my gums, the dental hygienist lectured me about the importance of visiting the dentist every six months. "It's not so we can remove the tarter from the back of your teeth Michele; it's so we can clear out the bacteria that grows in the gums and prevent gum disease," she said. Again, she dug into my gums with her metal tool. I felt like she was trying to hurt me so I wouldn't wait so long the next time. Granted, it had been two years...
But it's hard for me to make a visit to the dentist a priority. The older you get and the more responsibility you have, the more likely you are to push things to the back burner that aren't really urgent needs. I have never had a cavity. I have had two tooth aches in my lifetime. Both ended up being related to my sinuses. So the dentist... well... I don't really think of him very often. He's a nice man. He's hygienists are marginally kind. But I don't feel an urgency to visit them.

When I have a free moment that might be a good time slot for a doctor of some kind, I am more likely to see someone who can fix one of the many things that do ail me, like my creaking knees or my sore neck or... these ridiculous sinuses. DENTIST is at the bottom of the list.

The fact that I can go every two or three years and get out of there in under 45 minutes with clean teeth, a new toothbrush and some floss that I will likely only use after I've eaten ribs or corn on the cob, does not make the dentist's chances of getting a little Michele time any better.

And, for the record, ripping my gums apart with a metal hook in an effort to demonstrate how painful gum disease might be is a sure fire way for me to toss that 6 month reminder card in the trash on my way to the car.

1 comment:

Katia Craig said...

The dread of going to the dentist can be pretty rough, especially if it's a follow-up visit after an uncomfortable procedure. It's important to take care of your teeth, though. It's part of your body, and bacteria could spread in your mouth and enter your body if you're not careful.