Open wide

Routine enough.  Visit the dentist for my semi-annual teeth scraping.  Piece of cake.  Sure.

Arrive at Dr. J’s on schedule with Sweetie in tow.  Hygienist greets me.  “Hi Fred, plunk yourself down.  Comfy?  How about a pillow for your head?  You’ve got great teeth.  What’s your secret?”  OK, fun’s over.

We’re half-way through the scraping with that tool you think will slip and rip your gums to shreds.  “Oops.  Look at that.  Your crown popped off.  Good thing it didn’t happen while you were eating.”  Ugly thoughts speed through my mind.  “We’ll get Dr. J to glue it back in place.  No big deal.”  Sure.

We finish the scraping, gagging, gargling and spitting.  Good boy, Fred.  As an aside, why do hygienists ask rhetorical questions while your mouth is full of flotsam and jetsam?  Do they expect a response?  Are they insulted if I remain silent in order to avoid strangulation?  I’d like to see a sign on the wall that says  “Don’t worry about responding to the hygienist.  They don’t give a shit anyway.

I spend ten minutes in the waiting area moving little bits of granite around my mouth and am then escorted to Dr. J’s recliner.  “Hi Fred.  Good thing this happened while you were here.”  I know.  “We’ll have this back in place in a jiffy.  First, let’s make sure it fits before we glue it.  There, how’s that?”  Fine, I say.

Gwen the techie applies the glue.  Dr. J slaps it in place.  “Here.  Bite down hard on this piece of flotsam.  Harder.  There, how’s that?”  I gnash my teeth.  “Hmmm, seems a little crooked.”  Dr. J grabs a wooden stick.  Just like the one  in that John Wayne movie.  The one he bites down on as they remove a cannonball from his ear.  “Now bite down harder and hold it for a couple of seconds.”  I obey.  “How’s that.”  Mmmmm.  “Not any better.”

Still smiling, maybe not so broadly, Dr. J says “I’ll have to pry it off and redo it.  No biggie.”  Sure.  “Hmmmm.  Tough little bastard.”  Dr. J bears down with a determination only matched by my desire to be somewhere else.  My tooth is about to be yanked out of my head.  “We’ll have to go to Plan B.”  “What’s that” I say.

“You remember Jujubes?  Those cute little candies that stuck to your teeth most of the weekend?  Well, we put one like that on the crown, you close your mouth, then open it.  I’ll help.  The crown will pop right off.”  Sure.

Gwen heats this Jujube blob from outer space.  Dr. J slaps it on my crown.  I clamp down.  “OK, now I’m going to give you a little help opening your mouth.” Dr. J grabs my jaw.  Gwen the Barbarian presses my head to the chair.  “Come on, open up.”  Easy for them to say.  I have ugly visions of Arnold Schwarzenegger prying the monster’s jaws apart until he rips it a new smile.  Pop.  It’s done.

“Well, the crown’s off.  But the faux Jujube blob is stuck to your upper teeth.  I’ll have to pry it off.”  Dr. J isn’t smiling anymore.  Dr. J grabs an instrument that looks as big as the tool used by Paul Newman when he worked on the road gang in Cool Hand Luke.  Twenty minutes pass.  “At least you won’t have to floss those teeth anymore.”  Not funny, I think.

We finish.  “I think I’ve got TMJ.”  Maybe they won’t charge me for the time spent on the rack.  Sure.

Cool hand luke

5 Responses to “Open wide”

  1. 1 Aryna June 18, 2009 at 7:13 am

    I guess it wasn’t funny to you, but you did give me a good laugh. Do you want the name of another dentist??


  2. 3 Grampa George June 18, 2009 at 5:21 pm

    Been there, done that Fred. I also hade a tooth, that they were trying to take the Crown off, there was a problem under the Crown. Happy Fathers Day, i think Mo coming to Palm Spring Friday with Mark. Love to the better half. George.


  3. 4 Barbara June 18, 2009 at 7:04 pm

    i hope joel doesn’t read this as he’s already a basket case at the mere thought of a dental visit.


  4. 5 Jon June 22, 2009 at 5:46 pm

    Chilling. I read of your oral adventure all the while runing my toungue around the inside of my mouth to make sure nothing is loose.


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