I used to love going to dentist. All that changed a few months ago. Now I am a raving Anti-Dentite (to quote the Seinfeld show).
Every dentist I’ve seen, in every town where I’ve lived, would call all the hygienists to come, look at my teeth and marvel. Apparently, they thought I had near-perfect teeth. Not American movie-star perfect – I never wore braces as a child – just healthy. The dentists would also tell me that I have a very small mouth with a lot of teeth packed in tight. After a lifetime of hearing how loud I am, those words were music to my ears.
[For all you loud people out there: I thank you for your exuberance for life and for not being a Soft Talker – another Seinfeld reference. I get weary of asking people to repeat themselves and so I just nod like I know what they said. That practice has landed me in trouble a few times.]
But this year, my perfect dental record ended. My new dentist found four cavities. I asked him why. Could it be my age, the stress of a cross-country move, or did my last dentist just miss it?
As a genteel Southerner, he said, “Well, I don’t like to think of it as someone’s age. I like to think of it more as the age of their teeth.”
“But I’m older than my teeth,” I said.
He pulled out the x-rays my California dentist sent, and showed me the problem areas, clearly visible before. Back before my husband retired. Back when we were covered by dental insurance.
“I’m sure your dentist was a good person and I don’t like to say anything ugly about him. But this decay has been here for four or five years and I don’t rightly see how anyone who calls himself a dentist could’ve missed it. Is he an elderly man? Maybe his eyesight is failing. Maybe he was overworked. Maybe he thought he was being kind to you to save you the pain. I’m sure he thought he had a good reason and, like I said, I’m certain he’s a good person, but believe me, the problem was there.”
This new dentist filled my cavities with no pain whatsoever. I’m not an Anti-Dentite toward him. Just toward the last guy. I’m a raving Anti-Dentite toward the dentist who missed my cavities when I had dental insurance.